In the spirit of Mobile World Congress season, Telstra has announced a new download speed record of 5.9Gbps on its own mobile network (using a smartphone).
Now, though this is a massive speed, roughly six times the highest possible speed of the fastest NBN plan available in the country (even with Telstra’s modem, which the telco says is the fastest NBN provider modem), don’t go thinking you can achieve these speeds just yet with any phone, modem or consumer-oriented tech.
Telstra MacGyvered this test quite a bit, adding together several systems to pull off the impressive speed record. Here’s what it took to reach almost 6Gbps:
- Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 5G Model-RF System
- Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 subsystem
- Ericsson’s Radio System and dual connectivity software connected to Telstra’s mmWave 5G network
The record is a testament to how adding new technology to a network can substantially improve its speeds. mmWave, in particular, is a type of 5G that is substantially faster than a standard 5G network, but also the input of these technologies allowed the speed record to be broken.
“This time last year we pushed our network to a new top speed of 5Gbps, now, twelve months on we have added almost another Gigabit per second on top of that,” Iskra Nikolova, the executive of the Telstra network and infrastructure division, said, referencing this.
“Not only will this new 5G record enable faster mobile broadband speeds and greater network capacity, it demonstrates Ericsson and Telstra’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible, ensuring customers can access the best mobile connectivity available,” added Emilio Romeo, the head of Ericsson in Australia and New Zealand.
Back in 2020, Telstra set a record (which it has now stomped on) at 4.2Gbps on a 5G mmWave data call. Last year, Telstra set its upload speed record, at 986Mbps. Australia’s biggest telco loves competing with itself.
If you’re after a fun fact, the fastest download speed recorded so far was set by a team of engineers in Japan, who achieved a speed of 319 terabits per second (a terabit being 1000 times a gigabit). That’s unholy levels of fast, unachievable in Australia right now but maybe one day.
Back to Telstra, the company has tied this announcement to the launch of the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro router, which will go on sale in April. It’s an mmWave-capable device, which is kind of significant, considering there aren’t actually that many mmWave-capable devices in Australia (this is only the third mmWave capable device Telstra will be selling). It’ll be available to use with Telstra 5G-capable mobile broadband plans.
“The rapid evolution of mmWave technology is really exciting for our industry. Speed tests and records are fun, but what this network technology can offer our customers when coupled with commercial devices such as the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro is where things really get interesting,” added Nikolova.
One of the few devices in Australia that is mmWave-capable is the Google Pixel 6 Pro, the first mobile device with mmWave tech inside. Back in October, Telstra set a speed record of 3.6Gbps on its network with this device.
As 5G continues to roll out in Australia, it’d be great to see more devices adopt mmWave capability. Both Optus and Vodafone have mmWave capability, but we’re just limited by what devices can access the tech.
Anyway, well done Telstra for smashing another speed record. Love your stuff.