D.He said the 5G arrival in Australia would provide much-needed high-speed areas lagging behind the national broadband network, but for most mobile users the everyday difference would not be immediately noticeable.
The thing about internet access is that you only notice it when you don’t have it, or if it doesn’t work properly.
Although Australia has spent more than a decade trying to figure out how to get fast, reliable internet at home, mobile networks are infiltrating. Now the first iterations of high-speed 5G have been replaced in some parts of the country.
Apple’s new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro devices are not the first 5G phones on the market, but this is the first opportunity I have had to test 5G since Australian mobile network operators began switching to 5G in the middle of last year.
Having lived through one of the longest locks in the world in Melbourne, I was curious to see how much 5G has been built in the last four months and get out.
When I first got the 5G connection – due to a problem with Telstra my account was slightly delayed and for some reason, for some reason, actually gave me access to 5G – download numbers were down to 555 megabytes (MBps) per second, and up to 54mbps.
All critical delays are a good 19 milliseconds (MS) – very low lag.
The speed is significantly higher than the 50Mbps / 20Mbps I pay on NBN. But apart from the boasting rights from the speed test screenshot, it is hard to see the difference in speed that can be seen on my mobile.
As long as the video streams are clear, the websites load quickly and downloads and uploads do not happen at any time, most people are not likely to notice the difference between 4G and 5G on their phones.
Once out of Melbourne’s 25km radius, I can only imagine that 5G would be better if it needed faster connectivity and less delay during travel.
On the second day, in another part of the inner north of Melbourne, I was able to get 800Mbps download speed faster than I needed to work from my laptop, including video conferencing and uploading files.
During my test adventures in the inner north of Melbourne, the 5G connection was smooth until I went over about 3km from CPT, where it switched to 4G.
I was streaming the ABC IV at high quality bitrate at the time, but did not notice the speed drop until I went for another speed test. I still downloaded and uploaded 30Mbps speeds.
That’s how Apple created the new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, which is about how they will initially use 5G. In network settings, this is by default in 5G Auto, which means it will not automatically connect to the network via 5G, unless you feel you need to do a great deal of data transfer or anything else that requires high speed.
This means that when you walk your phone around in your pocket, streaming or making calls to SpotFi, you will not connect to the 5G network, but will return to 4G. It does this because 4G may have more battery suck than 4G at this time, so it only makes sense to connect when absolutely necessary to save your battery life.
For the average user, 5G comes into its own when people use it for work or change their home internet connection.
In my house, the signal is weak, but I can still get download speeds of 190Mbps. However, the upload speed was worse than my NBN connection: just 5Mbps.
At that speed I was still able to do what I needed to do for work, but due to the low upload speed my VPN access and my video conferencing skills were somewhat limited.
If I had been at home with so many people working or studying, it would have been even harder.
Telstra and Optus have introduced home broadband products using 5G to compete with NPN.
The key for 5G will scroll it over the distance. You do not have to travel far to the inner suburbs to find homes on slow fiber-to-note connections or NPN’s standard wireless service. If 5G were available in those areas, it would be a much more attractive option than the home standard line internet, which could accommodate a home full of people streaming, working and studying at its highest speeds.
In the early stages of 5G, anyone thinking of switching their home internet to 5G should first check the availability of the network in their area and compare the speed and price difference.
5G is a network that was created to sustain years of need from now on, not necessarily needed today. Sometimes we do not see its full benefits, most of which do not directly benefit the average user. It will be all connected devices from machine to machine like communication and smart cars, which will make a huge difference.
So for now, having 5G is good and will be very useful for those who need an alternative to NPN. If this is only on your phone, you will not notice the immediate benefits if you already have 4G coverage.