Macquarie Park in Sydney is the first suburb getting access to Optus' new 4.5G network that is capable of 1.03Gbps maximum theoretical download speeds. Here's everything you need to know.
Telstra was the first to launch a 4.5G network, dubbed 4GX, and now Optus is following suit. After testing out 4.5G technology and achieving 1.03Gbps speeds in tests, the first suburb to get a taste of the Optus 4.5G network is Macquarie Park, where the telco's headquarter is based.
According to Optus, there are 95,000 residents and 400 businesses in Macquarie Park that will be able to take advantage of the 4.5G network.
The network uses 4CC/5CC carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256QAM technology. Huawei has helped Optus develop the 4.5G technology that is being rolled out.
Bear in mind that 1Gbps is the theoretical maximum; in reality, individual connected devices will only get a fraction of the speed. Factors that will determine speed include the device you're using and how many people are on the network;
Another thing to consider is only newer devices that support 4.5G will be able to enjoy a significant speed boost. Commercial devices that can support 1Gbps on the 4.5G network aren't even available yet; Optus said they will become available later this year. However, Optus network managing director Dennis Wong said that those who don't have 4.5G ready devices will still experience benefits:
Putting this new technology in Macquarie Park is not just about speed. Having this new technology in existing networks actually brings up capacity and performance by two to four times.
Even if you don't have the latest device, you can still enjoy capacity and performance… Now we have an ecosystem, the kind of speed and bandwidth for innovators and partners to come and try to develop new technologies and services for our customers.
The plan is to rollout 4.5G in selected capital cities in the next 12 months; 4.5G is expected to reach over 70% of the Optus network in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. There are currently 5600 4G mobile sites across Australia.
All this is part of Optus' strategy to eventually move onto a 5G network by 2020. The 3.5GHz spectrum has been harmonised as a 5G band and Optus has 90MHz of this. The company is continuing to look at using and acquiring spectrum.
Optus will also be starting trials of its massive MIMO 128T128R base station antenna technology which will significantly bolster speeds and provide around eight times more capacity, according to the telco.
Last month, Telstra announced it was now capable of delivering 1Gpbs download and 150Mbps upload speeds over its 4G LTE network. It teamed up with Netgear to launch a new mobile router, the Nighthawk M1, to let customers tap into those speeds.