While 5G in Australia is in its infancy, Optus is forging ahead with testing the next generation of 5G technology – mmWave networks. Offering super high bandwidth, low-latency services, mmWave networks will offer higher speed and faster response for customers, especially in highly dense areas where – let’s face it – it’s practical to roll out these kinds of networks.
mmWave signal, which is of such a frequency that it will be readily blocked by things like humans, buildings, trees etc, will deliver fast speeds, but only in very limited footprints.
Optus has approval from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to operate and test mmWave technology using the 26GHz band at four locations in Sydney, including its Macquarie Park headquarters where the initial data call was made this week incorporating a Casa Systems mmWave CPE. The data call comes on the back of extensive testing at its lab facility in Sydney.
Don’t expect to see anything mmWave happening for consumers for a while yet; for the most part, we’re still using the very first generation of 5G networks in Australia – NSA networks which, for the time being, rely on 4G networks to operate. The next generation will be 5G SA (which are entirely separate from 4G infrastructure), and then we can expect to see 5G mmWave sometime after that.
While it could still be a couple of years away, the promise of those fast wireless speeds sounds quite enticing.