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Tag: 5g

World first 5G trial data call over 26Ghz mmWave spectrum


Posted on November 1, 2017

2 min read

In a world first, Telstra and technology partner Ericsson have completed a 5G trial data call over 26GHz or ‘mmWave’ radiofrequency spectrum using Telstra’s production core network.

5G is a technology that will fundamentally change the way our world works. While superfast speeds, ultra low latency, and supporting IoT on a huge scale are often called out as the key benefits of 5G, what really makes 5G interesting are the specific use cases and applications that will flow from it.

This world first trial is a key milestone to demonstrate how Telstra and the broader telecommunications industry are ready to utilise the mmWave band of spectrum, which is an important high capacity and speed layer for both 4G and 5G. Testing and understanding this new mmWave spectrum is vital in refining Telstra’s future 5G network design. This is the first time the 26 GHz band has been used in the field, and is expected to play an important part of 5G deployment globally.

By using more and different spectrum bands, 5G will be able to support a huge range of different applications. 5G will bring a range of new use cases improving the wireless broadband experience, smart vehicles and transport infrastructure, critical control of remote devices and our human interaction with devices to the mobile network. Imagine a world where virtual and augmented reality become the norm and are available in all industries? Or a world where your smartphone contacts your driverless vehicle in an instant to take you out for dinner? These are some of the types of use cases that will become real in the near future.

To help ensure Telstra continues to bring the best mobile technology from around the world to Australia, we are also establishing a dedicated 5G testing centre on the Gold Coast. This latest trial is the first in what will be a series of activities over the next 12 months, where we plan to test a number of technologies and explore use cases to ensure Telstra and Australia are fully prepared for a 5G world.

Now that we have completed this data call over mmWave spectrum, we will conduct more tests with Ericsson to gain further insights into how mmWave 5G can be scaled and integrated into commercial mobile networks. We also look forward to working with Australian industries to help them unlock future benefits and use cases based on 5G technology.

Tags: 5g,

Early progress in building the networks for the future


Posted on August 1, 2017

5 min read

Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer, Robyn Denholm, highlights the progress being made in building Networks for the Future with enhancements to the reach, capacity and capability of Telstra’s networks.

With the explosive growth that is underway in the number and variety of smart devices, online services and digital applications, we are expecting five times the traffic and more than quadruple the number of devices across our networks over the next five years.

These figures sound impressive but this is about more than raw numbers.  It represents connecting you with friends and family; enabling Australian businesses to take advantage of cloud computing, machine to machine communications and artificial intelligence; supporting the development of a host of new startups; and giving you control over the smart home of the future.

To make this future a reality in Australia we are undertaking a once-in-a-generation program in building the Networks for the Future.  This will see Telstra build networks that underpin the way our customers work, learn and play for years to come.  Networks that will usher in 5G and make the Internet of Things a reality.

With the hard work of our leading engineers, developers and technicians bringing the best technologies from around the world to Australia and collaborating with our technology partners, we have made some exciting progress on this journey.  By increasing the reach, capacity and capability of key parts of our networks in recent weeks we have put the foundational building blocks in place for the connected world of the future.

Increasing capacity

Only 20% of the capacity we are going to require on our networks by 2020 existed at the start of this year.  So clearly we have a lot of work to do!

A critical part of delivering our services is our transmission network. These are the big pipes that form the backbone of our national network and support everything from mobiles and home broadband, to data for our business and government customers.  So upgrading the capacity and capability of this network is a key early step in building Networks for the Future.

We are currently rolling out optical transport technology across our transmission network, which will increase both capacity and flexibility of the network as well as improve resilience.

Tasmania is the first place to benefit from this new technology.  We have lit up the optical transmission technology across the state and on the cable routes running across Bass Strait.  The upgrade will increase Telstra’s network capacity on each of Telstra’s two subsea cables running across the Bass Strait from 400 Gigabit to 1 Terabit per second – the equivalent of 200,000 HD videos being streamed simultaneously.*

Importantly, the next generation optical transport technology offers huge upside for supporting growth.  With future system deployments we anticipate we can scale up to 100 Terabits per second or more.

We will now be progressively upgrading our optical transport capability around Australia, with Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia the next in line to benefit from from inter-capital upgrades.

Telstra’s 4G coverage now reaches 99% of the Australian population

With new mobile sites being completed in Woongenellup, Western Australia and in Kongwak, Victoria as well as 4GX upgrades in Cardwell, Queensland and in Grace Plains, South Australia among several other towns in recent weeks, we have now expanded our 4G coverage to reach 99 per cent of the Australian population.  This means more regional and remote communities than ever before have access to mobile services using the latest technologies.

We now offer 4G across more than 1.4 million square kilometres, which is more than five times the landmass of the United Kingdom and means more Australians have access to our world leading network where they live, work and play.

Australia’s largest Internet of Things footprint

Telstra has activated Cat M1 across our 4GX coverage footprint, becoming the first network operator in Australia to offer the technology and accelerating the growth of IoT-based businesses and applications across the country. We will shortly deploy range extension capability which will take the Cat M1 coverage footprint for compatible Cat M1 devices to more than 3 million square kilometres.

Cat M1 enables low cost IoT devices, like sensors and monitors, to have greater reach in distance and depth into buildings.  It also offers the opportunity for battery life measured in years rather than hours and days.

This is great news for a range of industries.  We see this as an investment in the IoT ecosystem in Australia that will support new start-ups across multiple sectors, including agriculture, transportation, healthcare and mining.  We are working with the sector to develop products and service that can take advantage of our IoT capabilities.  Telstra has also commenced the rollout and testing of software that supports the NarrowBand IoT standard and we expect to enable that capability later this year.

* Based on a 5Mbps per streamed HD video

If you want to learn more about the types of work you can do in technology at Telstra you’re already in the right place.

How we’re riding the 4G (and soon to be 5G) express train to the future

featured Network

Posted on July 12, 2017

8 min read

What if the volume of traffic on your local roads increased tenfold overnight? It would be gridlocked. That is the sort of increase we expect on telecommunication networks over the next few years as data volumes radically increase. Here is how we are preparing to make sure we continue to provide customers with the best network experience.

A set of technologies come straight to mind when I think about the future.

A ubiquitous Internet of Things. Autonomous vehicles. Virtual and augmented reality. Smarter smartphones. Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. Technology that creates personalised customer experiences that bring simplicity instead of added complexity.

All of these technologies not only exist today, they are fast becoming mainstream.

All of these technologies have already signaled just how profoundly they will change our world.

And all of these technologies rely on the quality of the underlying telecommunication networks.

There is virtually no technology innovation that is happening today that does not depend on connectivity and being networked. As a consequence, the volume of data going across global telecommunications networks will increase dramatically over the next few years. Estimates of a tenfold increase in global mobile IP traffic between 2015 and 2020 will outstrip the ability of today’s networks to cope with the number of devices, data volumes and demands for speed. It’s a challenge that is driving the development of a completely new type of network.

Robust and reliable

For most people, telecommunications networks are largely out of sight and out of mind. Mobile towers dot the landscape, but otherwise the network is mostly invisible. Behind the scenes though, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested globally over many years to carefully create something incredible. To understand just how incredible, it is useful to know a little of how telecommunications networks actually function.

Let’s take a simple example, taking and sharing a photo on a Smartphone, something we all do almost every day. Before you take your phone out of your pocket and turn it on, it has already been listening to signals from mobile towers around you, quietly making sure you are tuned to the strongest signal. When you switch your phone on it automatically shares a secret key with your mobile providers’ authentication system, identifies who you are and gives you access if your credentials are in order.

Taking a photo and posting it to a photo sharing site such as Instagram, only takes a couple of seconds, but on the network—behind the scenes—a flood of activity is going on. The mobile tower your phone was listening to might have been busily serving hundreds of other users but it takes careful notice when it gets a message from your phone that you have some data you want to send.

Before your phone can send the photo it needs the IP address of where it is going. To get this, your phone asks the network to find and provide the address of the nearest computer server of the photo sharing site. The network responds by setting up a “pipe” through the network and into the internet for you. It allocates your phone some air time. Your photo is now broken down into packets of data which start to be sent from your phone over radio waves to the mobile tower. From the mobile tower these packets then travel down fibre optic cables at the base of the mobile tower into the core network. Yes, virtually every Telstra mobile tower you see is connected by a fibre optic cable to the core network.

Other towers around you also take an interest in case you move to an area where they might offer a better signal. If that happens your connection will be passed seamlessly to a new mobile tower as they work out which is better able to serve you.

Dozens of switches and routers begin finding a path from your phone to that server (which can be anywhere in the world) and your data is passed along. As the data is being sent, the network and your phone are continually adjusting things to keep you connected. The signal power is adjusted thousands of times per second.

Finally the packets of data that comprise your photo are reassembled and are stored and shared for eternity. Job done. The pipe that was so carefully set up disappears and your phone goes back to listening quietly to the network until you are ready to upload another photo or do something else.

All of that happens in the blink of an eye.

And when you consider 2.5 trillion photos were taken and stored online in 2016, you get a sense for its utility and capability, to say nothing of the myriad of other things the network also does.

The simplicity and immediacy of being able to connect is in contrast to the complexity and scale of the infrastructure that makes it possible. At Telstra, we have created 5,000 exchanges, more than 200,000 routers, 8,600 mobile towers, almost 250,000 kms of fibre optic cable with another 400,000 kms of sub-sea cable connectivity to the rest of the world, as well as 58 data centres. This enables our customers to make, on average, 55 million calls and 356 million data connections every day.

Evolution will give way to revolution

None of the capabilities of today’s 3G and 4G networks are accidental. Development and investment has been constant and technical evolution rapid. 1G – the first generation – in the mid-80s was basic voice on an analogue network. Next came 2G in the early 90s that combined talk and text, then 3G linking wireless connectivity with digital networks to make internet access possible on a mobile phone. 4G took it a step further with higher speeds and lower latencies that improve video viewing.

Until now, network development has largely been evolutionary but the next generation – 5G – will be revolutionary. And it needs to be because while 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G were primarily about voice and then data, 5G will be about everything and the Internet of (billions of) Things.

The best way to understand 5G is to realise that it is more than just a faster, better and more efficient network for mobile phones. What sets 5G apart from earlier generations is its ability to respond to signals almost instantaneously. The latency (the sometimes frustrating lag between a request for data being sent and the data being received) on a 5G level is reduced to insignificant levels. On an older 3G phone, latency was around 100 milliseconds. Ten years of development and investment meant 4G latency was down to 30 milliseconds. With 5G though, typical latency will be as little as 4 milliseconds and may go as low as 1 millisecond for ultra-critical IoT applications.

While 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G were primarily about voice and then data, 5G will be about everything and the Internet of (billions of) Things.

Why does that matter? It matters because while we may be able to put up with one tenth of a second delay when sending a photo – that length of delay will not work in the emerging body of applications requiring virtually instant response times. For example self-driving cars will need to be able to react almost instantly to obstacles and traffic directions to be able to safely navigate autonomously through busy traffic. Minimal delay means doctors will be able to perform surgery remotely. It means sensor-laden houses and factories, smart electricity grids and other infrastructure will make adjustments without human intervention and deliver huge efficiencies and cost savings. It means conversations in foreign languages will be able to be translated instantaneously. It means things we have not even dreamt of yet. And most of all, it means the importance, reliability and capability of telecommunication networks – which will make all of this possible – will never have been more important.

Planning for an unknown future

What is really interesting about planning and building a 5G network (which we will have operational in Australia by 2019/20) is that the full range of opportunities will not be clear when the networks are launched. They will evolve with the market and with technology advances. We know where we have come from, we know where we are (and certainly how to get your photos quickly to your photo sharing sites) but we have no real idea what types of things the network will enable in the future. Because with 5G what we can imagine it will do is likely nothing compared with what it will actually end up doing. In that way 5G, like the future, is inventing itself.

If you want to learn more about the types of work you can do in technology at Telstra you’re already in the right place.

#MWC17: 5G, IoT and LTE-B – tomorrow’s tech today

Telstra News

Posted on March 2, 2017

1 min read

The world’s biggest showcase of cutting edge mobile technology – Mobile World Congress – is wrapping up in Barcelona. The talk of the town this year has included 5G, the Internet of Things, LTE-Broadcast technology, artificial intelligence, drones, robots and driverless cars. More than 100,000 people saw the hi-tech that will re-define the future, including a team of Telstra executives headed by CEO Andy Penn.

Check out our gallery for some the highlights.

Read more about 5G, IoT and LTE-B.

Tags: 5g,

One step closer to 5G with gigabit speeds


Posted on January 31, 2017

2 min read

Today we previewed the future of mobile connectivity in Australia at an event with our technology partners Qualcomm, Netgear and Ericsson.

We showcased the incredible customer experience a gigabit class LTE mobile device and network can deliver. A decade ago gigabit-class speeds on mobile networks could scarcely be imagined. From next month they become reality when we introduce the Telstra Nighthawk M1 mobile broadband hotspot which is the fastest mobile device in the world. It’s going help people further embrace a new breed of mobile applications and experiences including immersive virtual reality, connected cloud computing and rich entertainment. And it brings us one step closer to introducing 5G in Australia.

With Nighthawk M1, customers in select Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane CBD locations can:

  • Download a typical 3.5MB song in a fraction of a second
  • Download a 20MB PowerPoint presentation in as little as one second
  • Download a 300MB one hour TV episode in as little as sixteen seconds
  • Download a 3GB HD Movie in as little as 3 minutes

Not only is this hotspot pushing mobile broadband technology to the limit in terms of speed, but it’s also pushing the envelope when it comes to features.

To cater to our customer’s evolving needs, the Telstra Nighthawk M1 can charge smartphones on the go and doubles as a media server for watching movies or storing large files.

It will be a boon for our business customers too who demand office-like bandwidth on the go to power increasingly mobile workforces and sophisticated cloud-based applications.

Here’s an example of one of our customers, Ray Nielson from Enviropacific Services talking about how the Telstra Nighthawk M1 is mobilising his business and improving the way he works:

This device will be available next month to new and existing customers for $360RRP outright upfront or on a range of plans.

We will look to make gigabit LTE technology available on more devices, including smartphones, this year.


Tags: 5g, mobile, technology,