Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Telstra steps up 5G with mmWave-ready hotspot

The next wave of 5G is on its way, literally, as Telstra steps up and introduces mmWave to its mobile hotspot hardware ahead of a future launch.

You’ve probably heard quite a bit about 5G in recent months, and not just because a bunch of rather silly people have made incredulous assertions about the technology.

No, 5G doesn’t spread coronavirus, and suggestions that it does is just nonsense. People who think this may not understand 5G, but if they genuinely believe modern wireless technologies are a problem, they should probably stop using their phones, as well as bunch of other technologies in their life dependent on wireless communications. WiFi, for instance.

What 5G does do is deliver high speed internet connectivity for devices in your life. It’s gradually rolling out across the world, and Australia has been doing it for quite some time.

There are two major variants of 5G planned for use in Australia, though only one is in active use. Found in every 5G device in Australia, Sub6 is the 5G method of choice right now, but something faster is coming soon, and is gradually rolling out to new devices. This year’s 5G phones have it, and now a mobile hotspot has it, as Telstra prepares testing sites to trial the new technology ahead of release in the years to come.

Almost like a bit of a preview of what’s to come, Telstra is releasing its first 5G mobile hotspot to use the “mmWave” technology, which isn’t expected to be rolled out until 2021.

The new hotspot is the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, and has been developed to take advantage of both 5G aspects currently being supported in Australia, Sub6 and mmWave. Another variation of 5G, mmWave could deliver faster 5G speeds when it does eventually arrive, though right now is just in testing.

Specifically, Telstra is trialling mmWave at three test sites, though the new 5G technology won’t roll out until after the government has auctioned off the spectrum, set for later this year.

That doesn’t mean the new mobile hotspot won’t work on 5G, but just that it will on the current Sub6 technology used in Australia, with support for mmWave in more places when Telstra launches it next year.

For now, the 5G connections will work on the other technologies, supporting up to 30 users for the mobile hotspot, working across WiFi 6’s 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax wireless networking technology, with a 4500mAh battery inside. There’s even a Gigabit wired network port inside, handy if you prefer going directly to the source with cables.

“We’re always working towards the future, and today we’re announcing another huge leap in connectivity for our customers by delivering the first mmWave compatible device,” said Andrew Stormont, Product and Service Design Executive at Telstra.

“mmWave is going to be a big part of our 5G future and with the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, we are offering customers a device that will be able to take advantage of the next iteration of 5G as soon as it arrives,” he said.

Getting that device is akin to looking to support both the present and future of 5G, though it won’t necessarily be cheap. You can buy it outright at $599, though Telstra will offer a plan for the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, offering the device for 24 months at $24.95.

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