5G networks aren’t expected to roll out commercially until 2020, but many networks are already putting their 4G LTE network efforts on the back burner in favor of preparing for a fast, aggressive, and possibly early 5G rollout. With three-channel carrier aggregation and other rich network features, current 4G network technology is able to offer some seriously blazing speeds, but thus far, only 5G has been able to break the gigabit barrier. A Finnish network operator by the name of Elisa has changed that. Although it was in a lab test under the strictest of conditions, Elisa has delivered a network test for what may well be the fastest 4G speeds to date, if not ever, with the tech quickly making its way into the rear view mirror.
Using specialized test equipment from Huawei, Elisa managed to pull down 1.9 gigabits per second in network testing. If that speed were achieved by a single user, provided their phone was fast enough, they could open up their Facebook page instantly, stream high-definition VR content, or download a full Blu-Ray movie in less than 50 seconds. The feat was achieved without the aid of ultra high-band 5G spectrum, using only Huawei’s equipment, a lot of special tricks, and the same wireless frequencies that operate current 4G networks.
Elisa’s highest commercial network speed for now is 300 megabits per second. While much more than adequately speedy, that’s about one sixth of what was seen in this test. A university research team, meanwhile, managed to pull down 5G speeds that tore down the terabit barrier, though it’s highly unlikely that such speeds will be seen on commercial networks for quite some time. According to Elisa’s chief executive, Veli-Matti Mattila, there are plans to roll out a 1 gigabit per second commercial network in Finland in the next year or so, bringing customers speeds that are over three times faster than their current top speed, speeds that would be flat-out impossible in countries with lesser framework or whose carriers don’t have quite the right mix of spectrum licenses to pull down speeds like that using wide-band carrier aggregation. While many may say that speeds this high on a mobile network are overkill, Mattila argues otherwise, citing 4K video and VR as just some of the possible use cases of such a fast network.