In Plain Sight: Providing Connectivity from Inside a Cactus
Standing in the Arizona desert, you can see cacti for miles. If you look closely, one is not like the others.
In fact, the cactus next to you is an AT&T camouflage antenna. Hidden beneath the specialty casing are multiple antennas that provide connectivity to surrounding areas, like a traditional cell site. But you’d never know by the look of it.
To maintain the natural ambience of communities we serve, we can hide cellular antennas in what we call “camouflage sites.” They come in all forms: trees, rocks, water towers, church steeples and my favorite, cacti.
From planning to deploying, it all begins with a little cross-collaboration.
Before AT&T breaks ground on a camouflage deployment, we work closely with the community. These sites require a larger investment than others, so everyone from citizens to city officials are involved. They weigh in on things like design, location, cost-sharing and the scope of the site, so our team can set—and try to meet—expectations.
Out here, building a camouflage antenna starts at our nearby manufacturing facility in Tucson, Arizona.
To make a camouflage site look as real as possible, our teams use several layers of putty and paint. Our goal is to get the texture and color just right, but also ensure it can withstand natural elements – from snowy Colorado to blistering Arizona.
Tower production takes 6-8 weeks and starts with constructing a particular mold. The molds quickly become 30-foot tall saguaro cacti or 80-foot tall redwood trees.
But these aren’t just steel giants.
The materials that cover the camouflage antennas, like paint or faux-leaves, must be radio frequency-friendly. Camouflage antennas designed to look like church steeples or water towers are mostly made of fiberglass. This lets the signal from the antennas penetrate through the casing.
These camouflage deployments are just one of the many unique ways we provide coverage to our customers. So take a look outside, your connection may be closer than you think—hidden in plain sight!
Scott September - AT&T Real Estate and Construction