Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. has joined Telstra and Ericsson to announce a new download speed record for commercial 5G. The group was able to successfully max out at a rate of 5Gbps.
For the test, the companies utilized 5G NR data at the 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast in Australia. Ericsson's equipment served as a foundation for the test. Namely, the Ericsson Streetmacro 6701 Radio System, which serves as a complete base station for millimeter-wave (mmWave).
A "smartphone form factor mobile test device" was utilized to conduct the data connection. That handset was powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System. That was coupled with third-gen QTM535 mmWave antenna modules.
In terms of data rate figures, the companies' joint press release — shared via Qualcomm's site — reached the speed using NR carrier aggregations. Specifically, no fewer than eight 100MHz n257 mmWave carriers, coupled with LTE carrier aggregation of two 20MHz Band 7 carriers. 840MHz of the spectrum was used, which Qualcomm notes as a milestone for wireless communication.
What's the significance of this 5G speed record from Qualcomm, Telstra, and Ericcson?
Now, new speed records in networking are commonplace. But this particular test takes things forward to a significant degree. The previous record was set, using commercial equipment, back in September. Although other tests have yielded similar results over the past year. And from more than one carrier. The data rate for that record was 4.2Gbps.
The significance of the new record goes much further than its surface-level increase of around 800Mbps, though. Since the record has been set on commercial-grade hardware, the test effectively stands as a guidepost for where 5G is headed. The technology is also still relatively new — with most 5G networks using slower sub-6 networks instead of mmWave.
So this test serves as a marker of the potential for 5G once mmWave becomes more widespread. That's in terms of both network performance and capacity.
When will you see 5Gbps on your phone?
Because mmWave is still relatively sparse in the US, chances are these kinds of record-breaking tests won't mean much for most users in the near future. For now, sub-6 5G offers mostly nominal increases in speed, joined with real increases in bandwidth and capacity. The new speed record doesn't change that. Or at least it won't until mmWave 5G is more widely available everywhere or at least more widely available.