Potentially good news for people in Regional Australia starved for decent broadband connectivity: nbn, Ericsson, NetComm Wireless and Qualcomm have completed a series of live TDD LTE fixed wireless trials in Ballarat that successfully demonstrated speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
The demo utilized three prototype NetComm wireless network termination devices (WNTDs) fitted with Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modems
Ericsson says the demo achieved data speeds of 1.1Gbps downstream and 165 Mbps upstream on nbn’s existing fixed wireless network by combining the three WNTDs using carrier aggregation technology on 2.3-GHz and 3.4-GHz spectrum bands.
The demo also trialed the WNTDs separately, achieving data speeds of 400 Mbps/55 Mbps, 250 Mbps/50 Mbps and 100 Mbps/40 Mbps using a range of carriers in the same bands.
According to Ericsson, nbn used a spare operating sector on an established nbn fixed wireless tower with additional radio equipment to conduct the trial.
Netcomm pointed out in a statement that the nbn fixed wireless network differs from a standard LTE network in that it establishes a direct connection between the WNTD at the premises and Ericsson infrastructure “to enhance capacity and provide a consistent level of broadband speed and performance, even in peak data demand periods.”
Nbn says it has already committed to launching a new “nbn100” fixed wireless product aimed at Regional Australia’s business segment in 2018, and the 1-Gbps demo underlines its ability to make good on that commitment.
“The nbn fixed wireless network developed from a starting position of 12 Mbps download all the way to 50 Mbps today. Potential speeds of 1Gbps for our rural and regional customers is beyond what would have been imagined five years ago,” said Roy Brown, nbn’s head of wireless. “It is something that truly breaks down the digital divide between Australia’s spread out regional areas and city areas, and it is pleasing to see what the hard work has yielded for fixed wireless.”
“Rural and regional premises will benefit from the known performance that comes from edge network devices specially engineered to extend the network’s trusted zone and deliver a dependable RF link path between the base station and our device – so nothing is left to chance,” said NetComm CTO Steve Collins.
Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson Australia & New Zealand, said, “Ericsson has been nbn’s partner for the TDD fixed wireless network since its inception in 2011, and we are proud of our achievements with nbn to connect regional Australia, closing the digital divide.”
Jack Archer, CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, said that nbn’s ability to deliver gigabit broadband connectivity outside of the urban centers was great news not only for Regional Australia, but for urbanites keen to get out of the cities.
“Plenty of Australians would love the chance to move away from the big cities and have an improved quality of life in regional Australia. However, one of the main impediments to doing this is being able to stay connected to your workplace unless you have access to good quality broadband,” he said. “That’s why it is great to see nbn trialling higher speed services on its fixed wireless network – this will help make the regional dream possible in the future for a lot more Australians in a lot more places.”