Optus scores 50Mbps in Sydney LTE tests

Wireless technology is "more bursty"

Optus has achieved 50 megabits per second (Mbps) downlink and 20Mbps uplink speeds on its first Sydney trial of Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless broadband technology.

Real-time LTE tests performed over the 2.1Mhz spectrum in the Sydney suburb of Gordon today averaged speeds of 43Mbps downlink and 900Kbps uplink, while 3G tests performed in parallel achieved 1.3Mbps and 70Kbps respectively. Laboratory LTE tests reached 73Mbps downlink.

A second phase of the Sydney trials will be conducted on the 1800Mhz band in the second half of the year.

Optus director of product portfolio planning, Henry Calvert, said they will better “simulate a real user experience” with more base stations and end-user devices.

“The second trial will establish LTE… and will determine performance issues, and the key things to look for around the engineering of the technology,” Calvert said.

The tests were conducted between two base stations in Gordon, NSW, on a 10Mhz band segment it purchased earlier this year.

Telstra’s earlier trials established speeds of 100Mbps in regional Central Victoria over the 1800Mhz band, using a 100Mhz band segment. Telstra also achieved the same speed over a record distance of 75km using a 20MHz portion of the 2.6GHz spectrum.

Nokia Siemens Network sales director of radio and core networks, Mike Smathers, said LTE could reach downlink speeds in excess of 172Mbps, due to hertz efficiency, but is limited by available spectrum bandwidth.

Optus parent company, Singtel, is running six trials across the Asia Pacific with different vendors including Huawei, Ericsson, NEC and LTE, to determine the best LTE technology and establish how it performs over various environments.

Optus director of mobile core engineering, Andrew Smith, would not be drawn on whether the telco giant would use a single telecommunications provider for all six subsidiaries. Optus used Nokia Siemens Networks to conduct the first and upcoming second trial legs.

He said Optus was “pressuring” the government for details regarding spectrum digital dividend in which the much sought-after 700Mhz and 2.5Ghz bands are expected to be auctioned. He said the auction would take place in 2012, and LTE would be commercially ready by 2013.

The 700Mhz band would be best-suited for LTE deployment in regional areas, according to an Optus engineer involved in the trials.

Smith said LTE is a lower-cost and more simplified technology than 3G (BSC and RNC are included in base stations) and is more suited to the popular short burst transactions like Facebook updates.

“LTE is more bursty and allows for more variable content,” Smith said.

“Many transactions are short. Ninety per cent of [Optus customer] transactions are less than 156kbps.”

Smith said LTE deployments would “compliment” the fibre National Broadband Network (NBN), and would be deployed “irrespective of what happens” to the fixed network.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority this week awarded further spectrum to Optus, allowing it to boost regional 3G services in 972 locations.

Tags lteLong Term Evolution (LTE)optus

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10 Comments

Jason

1

Once again these are offered as "Up To" speed which means 99% of people WILL NEVER GET THE ADVERTISED SPEEDS!!!!
How can the ACMA allow this false advertising......

Its like having a big sign out the front saying fee beer inside.
Then once entering and asking for your free beer your told "ow but you need to be over 10 feet tall to get the free beer".
Everyone knows you cant be 10 foot tall and so does the pub.
Its the exact same with wireless internet. Your led in under false pretenses of expected speeds only to be charged for a hugely under performing product.

Sorry Optus, but you can stick your wireless and ill go with future proof Fibre Optics.

Francis

2

Peak speeds are once again being allowed to be misinterpreted as continuous speeds. At least they admit that the LTE signal is bursty late in the article. Wireless will be an important complementary technology for mobility and blackspots, but cannot sustain VoIP phone calls or IPTV. As Vividwireless stated recently, wireless is a different product than fixed broadband.

The most cost effective primary broadband solution for all but 7% of premises has been shown to be fibre in the McKinsey Implementation Study. LTE will be good for a lot of things, but is not in the same league as fibre.

john

3

hmm so when you are out and about with you fibre optic cable trailing behind your car with all of the thru put that comes with a broken fibre, i bet you will be the first person to go s**t i wish i had one of those new fangled LTE connections for my buisness transactions. IMHO wireless is for mobile and fibre is fixed, wireless will never replace a fixed fibre solution when it comes to relaibility but those of us that will not get fibre LTE may replace the crappy dialup,satellite and 3g connections.

john

4

hmm so when you are out and about with you fibre optic cable trailing behind your car with all of the thru put that comes with a broken fibre, i bet you will be the first person to go bugga i wish i had one of those new fangled LTE connections for my buisness transactions. IMHO wireless is for mobile and fibre is fixed, wireless will never replace a fixed fibre solution when it comes to relaibility but those of us that will not get fibre LTE may replace the crappy dialup,satellite and 3g connections.

john

5

hmm so when you are out and about with you fibre optic cable trailing behind your car with all of the thru put that comes with a broken fibre, i bet you will be the first person to go bugga i wish i had one of those new fangled LTE connections for my buisness transactions. IMHO wireless is for mobile and fibre is fixed, wireless will never replace a fixed fibre solution when it comes to relaibility but those of us that will not get fibre LTE may replace the crappy dialup,satellite and 3g connections.

Francis

6

@john, you are spot on. Like most 3G modem users, this is why I also have ADSL LTE ("Long Term Evolution" - what a vague and pretentious name!) eventually promises faster wireless, but like all wireless is still susceptible to signal dropout and atmospheric or electromagnetic interference, unlike fibre which is always at full speed.

I suspect that nearly all who only have a wireless broadband account (by choice rather than necessity) also have access to a fixed broadband service paid for by someone else, either at home or work.

The reason for my comment on this article was to spare us all the embarrassing sight of politicians proposing anything less than fibre as the primary solution anywhere that fibre can be provided.

As a country boy myself, I have great sympathy for those who cannot get fibre. Community, business or farming groups in the 7% areas could seek technical advice as to ways of potentially getting fibre if the additional costs can be covered in some way, such as an aggregated communication link from an isolated hamlet or group of homesteads back to fibre backhaul at a town. For instance the small, hilly town of Gloucester was able to deliver fixed wireless Internet to most of its residents some years ago by setting up a local grid using public and private rooftops to reach into the gully areas.

Asmo

7

I think they made the point quite clear in the article.

Small average transactions which LTE is quite good for.

I fail to see any mention of "LTE will beat fibre" or "This product is great for downloading 'linux distros'".

Wireless is a viable alternative for people who value mobility over speed. No, it's not going to beat fibre in a straight shootout, and probably wouldn't beat ADSL2+ in sustained real world usage once you load up a cell, but that's not really what it's designed for?

If someone is trying to push the concept that current wireless tech can replace wired entirely, I'd say they are so ignorant as to be irrelevant. That is not the same, however, as looking at demand (type of demand and volume) for products and determining which technology would best serve.

Aj

8

@Jason: I can understand your frustration but wireless is what it is. Can you expect to take a cab to the city and expect to get there at an absolute time? It's dependant on the traffic you run in to. If Optus market a product and a whole bunch of customers sign up, the carrier has to be able to provide that service.

It's understandable why they can't give you a guaranteed rate. But then, no constant rate has been guaranteed unless you pay for a premium. It's best effort, the 'peak' is the carrot dangling in front of you.

The carrier should be mindful of the ever growing customer base and provide a 'reasonable' service (what is reasonable is anyone's guess).

The customer should do thorough research before committing to a 24 month contract. But then, if it was fine for the first 9 months then the network turns to crap, then yes, the carrier needs to pick up their game. LTE is still far away, this article is just an interesting read. Rather pointless complaining.

schneider

9

Guys its interesting wireless is discounted so easily if you were to provide fixed wireless via a localized spot for every 50 you could make the system non shared.... something to think about... its all in the implementation

aj

10

All you imbociles who line up at these marketing hypeups dont know how stupid you look lining up for the 'next' apple whatever. To top it off you go onto a Singtel/optus foreign owned network thats crap!!! The sad thing is despite being "sucked" by hype you actually think you are cool! Idiots

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