NBN Co and its partners have set a new world record for long-range mmWave 5G transmission. The Aussie network operator teamed up with Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Casa Systems to achieve the feat. Gavin Williams, Co-Chief Development Officer, Regional and Remote at NBN, said:
“The NBN fixed wireless network plays a vital role connecting Australians right across regional and rural parts of the country. We face some unique challenges, not least vast distances and harsh environments that have always required a strong focus on innovation.
This long-range achievement is a very promising sign as we continue to develop our options to further improve performance and customer experience and plan to meet emerging demand on the network.”
A stable 5G mmWave connection was established over 7.3km away while delivering steady speeds of almost 1Gbps.
The mmWave flavour of 5G delivers the full promises made about the capabilities of the latest generation mobile network: blistering speeds, high bandwidth, and low latency.
However, the trade-off is that mmWave doesn’t travel as far—just look at smartphone reviewers scurrying around cities trying to find spots where they can properly test devices packing mmWave antennas.
A typical base station offers up to a kilometre of mmWave coverage but, taking into account obstacles and terrain, that range tends to be more in the region of 500 metres.
Just three months ago, NBN and its partners recorded a mmWave 5G distance of just half what it achieved this week. The company expects to further increase its range in future tests.
Ray Owen, Co-Chief Technology Officer at NBN, commented:
“This is a significant achievement for NBN and our technology partners, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, and Casa Systems, and we anticipate strong interest from the global technology community as we further develop these capabilities.
With industry development for mmWave largely focused on high-density urban environments, this trial helps prove the case for additional work to suit the unique requirements of the NBN fixed wireless network and other regional and rural use-cases around the world.”
While taking care not to downplay the remarkable achievement, it must be noted the distance was achieved over ideal conditions that won’t reflect a real-world scenario. NBN acknowledges “the actual wholesale speeds will be less than 1000 Mbps due to equipment and network limitations.”