NBN claims world record for long-range 5G mmWave transmission


NBN achieved a 5G mmWave transmission of close to 1Gbps at a distance of 7.3 km

Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is laying claim to the world record for long-range 5G transmission using millimeter wave spectrum during live testing at a proof-of-concept site near Mortlake, Victoria. With its partners — Ericsson, Qualcomm and Casa Systems — NBN achieved a 5G mmWave transmission of close to 1 Gbps speeds at a distance of 7.3 km, which is double the distance recorded at the site three months ago.

While the distance is already impressive, NBN said it anticipates future testing to achieve even longer-range capability.

NBN’s fixed wireless network covers more than 620,000 premises across Australia with more than 90% of customers currently within 7.3 km of a fixed wireless cell. The company said that its network has “unique long-range requirements,” adding that the field measurements “will provide development guidance for wireless technology suppliers” and help the provider “understand the most cost-effective, and spectrum-efficient ways to integrate 5G into its evolving network architecture.”

NBN said its network shows spectral efficiency levels above 4 bps/Hz in the downlink and 1.6 bps/Hz in the uplink.

However, towards the end of 2020, Australia’s Labor leader Anthony Albanese criticized the NBN network, saying that “its $27 billion over budget and four years behind schedule,” amid concerns that 2% of in-network premises were unable to reach the minimum mandated 25 Mbps.

NBN pushed back, stating that a number of factors — many out of its control — could be impacting network speeds, including in-home wiring.

“It is important to note that the vast majority of premises that cannot currently obtain 25 Mbps, can access more than 20 Mbps,” NBN said. “The quantity of lines operating below the 25 Mbps criteria is continuously changing as lines are improved and other lines fall below the threshold due to environmental and operational factors. This is consistent with global best practice and in-line with, or better than other global copper network operators.”

In September, NBN announced plans to invest $3.5 billion Australian dollars to deploy fiber “deeper and closer to homes and businesses.” According to the federal communications minister, Paul Fletcher, the upgrades will result in 75% of all fixed-line premises in Australia to have access to “ultra-fast broadband speeds, up to 1 gigabit per second” by 2023.

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