NBN and 5G – A Future together

The National Broadband Network uses LTE 4G technology for their Fixed Wireless and Satellite NBN formats. In the span of a few years, its next level, 5G was introduced, claiming 7GBps (Gigabit per second) speeds over a 100km/h rate, an improvement from an initial test result of 1Gbps at distances of up to 2km, in trials performed by Samsung in 2014 and 2013 respectively.


But another test was even bigger in scale, with speeds of 1TBps (1 Terabit per second) over 100m in distance, in a lab trial in University of Surrey in the UK back in 2015. Of particular note here is that Fibre played a crucial role in the latest and speediest 5G test made in The University of Surrey trial. After all, most Mobile Wireless and NBN Wireless formats use fibre. It is also key component in optimizing these formats to achieve optimal speed and performance.

Speculations in the industry have put both the NBN and the upcoming 5G technology in the spotlight, and even against each other. Since there is no direct connection for NBN, particularly for Fixed Wireless NBN to smartphones, phablets, and tablets, and since current Mobile Wireless networks may pose limitations, 5G is being looked at as a bigger bandwidth, fast performing alternative, or replacement even, for wireless iterations of the NBN.

For all the talk of 5G being a threat to wireless NBN formats, one thing is certain: 5G will still most likely work closely with the NBN or its other fibre iterations just as 4G has. Fibre plays a crucial role in delivering most wireless and Wi-Fi services, serving as the best option for initial bridging and connection of the source, leading up to the wireless towers and equipment.

The Future, Together

We have to understand that even if 5G is the next evolutionary step of 4G, it will still use the same set-up despite even if it is projected to surpass the latter’s speed and capabilities. It is still in the testing and trial stages, being improved to perform the results it earlier yielded on a more consistent basis – enough to function on a mass usage, commercial scale.

Its rise to prominence in the telecommunications industry has made it a future choice and preference.
Industry speculations have also pitted it against the current broadband standard in the country – NBN. Although the National Broadband Network addresses the current demand and needs of the country for the fastest and most reliable broadband option, it doesn’t directly provide access for smartphones and other mobile and smart devices unless accessed through NBN modem routers. The incoming flux of 5G could be the main preference for many mobile users for direct access, but theoretically, it cannot replace the NBN.

The NBN and 5G are somehow still linked no matter what. The answer lies in the very delivery format that it uses (and also defines it): fibre. It enables most wireless formats to function to their optimal levels, even if wireless NBN formats function on a different level. The NBN also has much more dynamic and upgradeable features that will make it the go-to format in the long term which will make it a staple in the telecommunications and broadband industry.

Providing faster and more reliable speeds over Mobile Wireless networks with its variable cell boundary method poses many technological challenges. With an ever increasing number of mobile and smart device users across the country, the huge scale of users alone can pull the overall bandwidth in different directions. This creates inconsistent download and upload rates. 5G’s bigger scale speed and reliability is expected to address these potential issues the way 4G did, although the increasing congestion in many areas may limit its performance.

The initial trials and tests has provided proof of a faster and more advanced delivery of wireless broadband access as a step up from the 4G LTE technology we are currently using. Unless there are other advanced breakthroughs in getting the source connection to the tower stations and wireless transmission facilities, fibre will still be involved.

Fibre still is the preferred element in all Mobile Wireless and Wireless NBN facilities. Standardising all of them with fibre is the only method to optimise them for a 5G future. This is why fibre remains a crucial element in the overall set-up. From here, any advancements in fibre technology are welcome, and will help get 5G to its operational goals in the future.

Currently, Fibre is also involved in both Fixed Wireless and Satellite NBN services. This is through indirect means: the source connection is NBN fibre, which are connected and bridged to their respective wireless equipment: Fixed Wireless NBN uses NBN Tower stations that transmit the access to antenna receivers; For Satellite NBN, it uses transmission towers that send the signals to the Sky Muster Satellites and then are beamed down to satellite dish receivers.