Wednesday, 20 October 2021 23:51

Optus has seen 4.5Gbps 5G mmWave speeds in its initial testing, and is calling its version 'Optus 5G Max'

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If you want to experience 5G at maximum speeds, you'll need to do so using a smartphone capable of accessing 5G mmWave networks. In Australia, the only phone that's capable, for now, is the Google Pixel 6 Pro, although that will surely change in 2022 and beyond.

Optus MD of Marketing and Revenue, Matt Williams, has written a blog post at the Optus Leaders Insights page, titled: "Taking 5G to the Max with mmWave".

Williams starts off by noting mmWave is tech talk for "ultra-fast, mega-capacity 5G spectrum," and says with first mmWave capable device launching into Australia this month, this "heralds a new era in 5G technology."

Explaining "5G mmWave technology ups the ante offering incredible speeds, massive bandwidth and enormous capacity," Williams notes it is "the next generation of 5G, the one that will pave the way in unlocking a multitude of those sci-fi movie use cases, and we’re calling it Optus 5G Max."

Adding that Optus 5G Max will work alongside our existing 5G network, Williams as "what’s the difference?".

We're told 5G Max sits in a new league of its own, where we "shift from fast 5G speeds to the fastest 5G speeds."

Optus has been testing its 5G Max service for the last six months and"really pushing it to its limits to achieve the best results for our customers in anticipation of device launches."

And the initial testing results are in, with download speeds over 4.5 Gbps reached "in a commercial environment," while speeds greater than 5 Gbps were achieved "in a lab using a fixed wireless modem."

Excitingly, Williams states "It’s like pushing the “nitro” button on your top-of-the-line sports car to deliver a great leap forward in speed - and we’re only at the very beginning of our rollout."

Williams made no mention of upload speeds, but in Telstra's test of its George St Telstra store delivering 3.6Gpbs down and 140Mbps up, we can only hope Optus has achieved similarly high upload speeds, too.

Of course, we're yet to see how fast speeds are when hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of people and more are using the Optus 5G Max network with mmWave capable devices, but Williams says "with greater network responsiveness, massive capacity and faster than fast speeds, consumers and businesses will see an entire new world of use cases brought to life. Yes, 5G Max will be the catalyst in enabling the driverless cars and remote surgery we hear so much about, but it will also make everyday tasks faster."

So, what might those real world speeds be like?

Willams explains: "The average Australian consumer today experiences network speeds in the range of 25-100Mbps via 4G mobile or nbn. With 5G Max we could be looking at speeds 40-80 times faster. In simple terms these speeds would provide the ability to download a two-hour feature film in seconds, rather than minutes. Or for the avid gamer, the reduced latency 5G Max delivers could be the difference between virtual life and death. Buffering? What’s that? As streaming 4K videos in HD on-the-go will become the norm.

"As it matures, Optus 5G Max will provide the ecosystem for everyday Australians to stream, share and produce the content they want, when they want. Whether in a stadium packed with thousands of other spectators or just at home.

"For business 5G Max will be transformative, creating the right environment to connect and collaborate seamlessly with colleagues across the country through augmented and virtual reality. For the thousands of businesses who send, receive, and play enormous files each day 5G Max will mean less time spent downloading files and more time spent innovating.

"And in the enterprise space, at scale, 5G Max will deliver endless possibilities. It will enable next generation factory automation, remote surveillance and remote operations thanks to real-time processing enabled by the low latency of 5G Max.

"At Optus we’re unlocking an even faster 5G network for our customers with 5G Max. We have some exciting things in the pipeline and can’t wait for our customers to feel the benefits of this latest 5G technology for themselves.

"The future is faster with Optus 5G Max."

So, with the first 5G mmWave device launching in Australia next week, and many more mmWave-capable devices to come, 5G's ongoing rollout will hopefully happen even faster, with ever more 5G mmWave to be rolled out around Australia ever faster, too.

Over at its 5G page, Optus has introduced 5G Max, and states:

Introducing Optus 5G Max – unlocking an even faster Optus 5G Network experience.

So, what’s the real difference between Optus 5G and Optus 5G Max? Optus 5G Max is in a new league and spectrum of its own called millimetre wave or mmWave. Here the network shifts into a higher gear for super-fast speeds, massive capacity, and greater network responsiveness."

Faster speeds
With ultra-high frequency, the Optus 5G Max network can achieve wireless speeds that were once only possible with fibre optic cables. How fast is that? Reach speeds of up to 4 Gigabits per second that supports high bandwidth uses like 8K video streaming, even across large homes and offices within Optus 5G Max coverage areas.

Massive capacity
Optus 5G Max transports more data for more users to enjoy. Think of it as the difference between a single-lane road versus a six-lane expressway. That means many devices can connect at once and everyone still enjoys a great network experience.

Greater responsiveness
As the number of devices relying on real-time access to the Cloud explodes, responsiveness is essential. When using a capable Optus 5G Max device, the lightning-fast technology of Optus 5G Max is perfect for things like gaming, where a faster game is always a good game.

Optus reminds us its 5G Max mmWave is starting to roll out in select areas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Those select areas as of October 20, 2021 are:

Site Name and State:

  • Huntingdale, VIC
  • Brunswick North, VIC
  • Fitzroy, VIC
  • Abbotsford, VIC
  • Campbellfield, NSW
  • Kings Cross, NSW
  • Rushcutters Bay, NSW
  • Darlinghurst West, NSW
  • North Ryde, NSW
  • Surry Hills, NSW
  • YOS Brisbane Flagship IBC, QLD
  • Strathpine, QLD

We're also reminded: "Actual speeds and performance will vary The actual speed you will experience depends on a number of factors including congestion, placement of the 5G modem, distance from the 5G tower, local conditions, hardware, software, the data source or destination and general internet traffic."


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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