The majority of the Australian mobile network is currently 4G, with some 3G used in low broadband needs or in poor service areas. 5G is the next major evolution in mobile data and it’s expected to sit alongside the 4G network.

Chorso says that “5G will promise three major improvements:

  • Faster network speeds: 5G networks will be capable of download speeds as fast as 20Gbps. The exact speeds an individual user will get will depend on how the network has been configured, the number of devices on the network, and the device in their hands. The 5G specification states that individual users should see a minimum download speed of 100Mbps. That’s the fastest NBN speed as a minimum.
  • Lower latency: In plain terms, latency is perhaps best described as the time it takes information to get from your phone to the wider internet and back again. The typical latency for a 4G network is around 60 milliseconds, whereas 5G could decrease this to as low as 1 millisecond. This massive decrease in latency will be vital for technology such as self-driving cars, where every millisecond could make a difference in preventing a crash.
  • More simultaneous connections: 5G will allow more devices to connect to the network at the same time. While smartphone usage continues to grow, this is especially important because 5G is set to facilitate new developments in autonomous cars, connected machinery, and Internet of Things devices.”

Australian Telcos are expected to keep 3G networks around until at least 2020. These are currently used by a lot of SCADA networks, which will need to be upgraded before that time. The implementation of previous technologies including 3G 2005, 4G 2011 and 5G 2019 give us an understanding of the likely increase in mobile data over the next few years.

Last week the Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, released his decisions on the auction of 5G frequencies that are scheduled for October this year.

Flexibility in the type of data communications is considered important with possible 6G in 2026, 7G 2034 giving the ability to move huge quantities of data. The real question is what data, for what reason and to whom?

David Nixon has worked the water industry for over 30 years across a variety of utilities, engineering and business consultancies. David currently acts as director and advisor to a variety of organisations across Australia. david@nixonclarity.com

Credit: Choros