We went to Toruń to personally test the 5G Play network. We are satisfied with what we saw. Operating in the 3.5 GHz band, the transmitter offers data download speeds of more than 1 Gbit / s in Dual Connectivity mode.
Polish operators are not yet able to offer us commercial 5G services. However, most of them are already testing the capabilities of the new technology. We personally tested its capabilities. For testing purposes, we are located near the Playa camp.
From the outside, the 5G test station is not much different from LTE transmitters. Nowhere did we see the “forest of antennas.” The birds did not pay attention to the test device and flew around.
5G implemented by Play can exceed 1 Gbit / s
Now is the time for the most important element of the trip, namely speed tests. We performed them using the FIREPROBE Speed Test program running on a Huawei Mate 20 X 5G smartphone. The results exceeded our wildest expectations. It turned out that the 5G base station in its current configuration can send data at speeds in excess of 1 Gbit / s!
Ping remains at 40 ms, as current 5G networks operate in NSA (Non-Standalone) mode. This means that the 5G base station (gNB) connects to the Internet via an LTE backbone. All connections and data transmission are also controlled by the LTE base station (eNB).
We conducted several tests to show that the download speeds obtained were stable. In the current version, 5G now allows faster data downloads using a computer connected to a fiber optic FTTH 1 Gbit / s switch with an Ethernet cable. Recall that the twisted pair Ethernet limits the data download speed to about 940 Mbit / s. In turn, on the tested Huawei Mate 20 X we had no problems reaching 990 Mbit / s.
The comparison between LTE and 5G is also interesting. The smartphone on the left was connected to Playa’s commercial LTE network and had no problems reaching 180 Mbit / s. This is a fairly decent result, especially since it uses a transmitter that is available to all customers of the operator. On the right, on the other hand, is a smartphone connected to a 5G test base station.
During the test, the data was also sent via a 5G base station. Due to the asymmetrical configuration of the 3.5 GHz TDD band, the upper transition is definitely slower than the lower transition.
Will commercial 5G be equally fast in Poland?
I must admit that when I went to Toru, I did not expect to see more than 1 Gbit / s on the screen of my smartphone. Fortunately, I was wrong. However, my optimism hinders the current state of work on the organization of the first tender for 5G frequencies in Poland. The president of the Electronic Communications Department offered operators two solutions. Unfortunately, in both cases, we can probably dream of a gigabit 5G in Poland. At least at the beginning of the application of this technology.
Play on Toruń uses a 100 MHz block in the 3.5 GHz band. Such a wide channel allows data download speeds of more than 900 Mbit / s. Therefore, operators can switch from EN-DC mode (Binary Connection) Allows you to exceed 1 Gbit / s by adding LTE band. In turn, UKE offers operators blocks with a width of 50 MHz or 80 MHz. The first option is probably not considered because the 50 MHz channel is simply too narrow. Not all countries have yet announced a tender for C-band frequencies, but Poland, with 50 MHz channels, will probably have the slowest 5G in the world. 80 MHz channels seem like a reasonable compromise, but it’s not the best solution.
Polish operators want to allocate the entire range from 3400 to 3800 MHz for the needs of national 5G networks. As a result, each of the “big four” was able to obtain a license to use the block with a width of 100 MHz. However, before this happens, it is necessary to wait for the end of the reservations, which are still valid in the range of 3400 MHz and 3480 MHz, among others. by municipalities.
Finally, in Poland, 5G will definitely exceed 1 Gbit / s and approach 2 Gbit / s.
We must remember that 5G technology is simply “in its infancy.” True, it is much better than LTE 10 years ago. However, as a result, the fifth generation network offers more. Poland will no doubt benefit greatly from the reconstruction of the 700 MHz band currently used by terrestrial television. Combining 5G bands with sufficiently wide channels and 4G bands will allow operators to achieve a sufficiently high speed of 1 Gbit / s. A good example is Swisscom, which already offers almost 2 Gbit / s with frequencies in the 3.5 GHz, 700 MHz and LTE bands.
The next step in the development of 5G will be the use of frequencies in the range of 26/28 GHz millimeters. Its disadvantage is its short range. However, this shortcoming is compensated by directional antennas, which intelligently direct their rays towards the base station. Probably in the next 5 years we will see the first commercial 5G networks offering speeds of 5 Gbit / s or even 10 Gbit / s.