• New world record for long-range 5G transmission
  • The challenge of using the 5G network
  • NBN Co investing more in improvements

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Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) claims that they achieved a new world record for long-range 5G transmission.  

NBN, along with its tech company associates Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Casa Systems, attained a stable 5G mmWave transmission at a length of 7.3 kilometres. This new record doubles the distance they recorded just three months ago at the same place. 

The stable 5G mmWave connection is delivering a steady internet speed of almost 1Gbps. Though the result is already impressive, NBN Co-Chief Development Officer Gavin Williams said that they would continue improving their fixed wireless network to achieve even longer-range capability.

"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."  

The Challenge of Using the 5G Network

NBN is currently improving their fixed wireless network using 5G, but this is not an easy task. They are also facing the current problems of the 5G network.  

The fixed wireless network of NBN is currently making use of 5G technology operating in the mmWave spectrum. NBN currently covers more than 620,000 premises across regional and rural Australia. In addition to that, over 90% of their current subscribers are within 7.3km of a Fixed Wireless cell. 

Making further improvements to their fixed wireless network enables them to provide ultra-fast, high bandwidth, and a low latency internet connection to their subscribers. 

However, the mmWave is not capable of reaching distant places--they don't travel that far. 

People on NBN are very much aware of this problem. Gavin Williams even addressed this issue, "We face some unique challenges, not least vast distances and harsh environments, that have always required a strong focus on innovation."

NBN is Making More Improvements

NBN knows that the actual internet speed will be less than 1000 Mbps because of the equipment and network limitations. Usually, a typical base station gives up to a kilometre of mmWave coverage. But if you include considerations such as obstacles and terrain, that range might go down in the region of just 500 metres. 

That's why they are investing more in improvements to incorporate 5G into their current fixed wireless network. 

To fix the problem regarding equipment and network limitations, NBN and its partners are working on the following: 

  • Broader deployment of carrier aggregation to enhance load balancing across the open spectrum and improve single-user data rates.
  • Installation of advanced antenna technologies such as multi-beam wideband antennas, Massive MIMO, multi-user MIMO, and coordinated multipoint transmission to increase spectrum efficiency and decrease interference while pushing down the cost per bit to support bigger traffic growth.
  • Optimisation of end-user radio conditions, balancing user-profiles and decreasing the average number of users per cell to achieve increased data rates for users. 
  • Making use of new high-capacity backhaul solutions like increasing penetration of fibre and additional traffic engineering capability to increase uptime and lessen congestion.
  • Increased installation of advanced end-user equipment for wider support of advanced radio features, improving the individual user experience and expanding network spectral efficiency.

If properly done, those innovations can get the best of the 5G network. It will allow people, even those who live in distant places to use a stable and fast internet connection. 

However, it may take years before people can actually use the 5G network. There are still a lot of things to do, such as building new infrastructures to accommodate emerging demand on the network. 

So if you want to improve your internet connection at home, the best option available is either upgrading your current internet plan or switching to another NBN provider.

You can contact your provider or compare the best NBN plans using a comparison website to see your options.