Optus is now testing a variant of its 4G Plus network that will be capable of delivering download speeds over 200Mbps, in theory.
The new Category 6 LTE network is currently being tested in Sydney’s West. Using carrier aggregation technology, Optus is reporting successful connections of up to 160Mbps in real world demonstrations and claiming a world first in the process.
“This is the first time in the world that 4G carrier aggregation has been introduced into a live TD-LTE network; not in a lab, but on a fully operational, commercial network,” said Vic McClelland, Managing Director of Optus Networks.
The Carrier aggregation technology combines two bands of into a single pipe for a device. The same technique was used in Australia by Telstra in its Next G network to obtain speeds up to 42Mbps on an HSPA network. This was then mirrored by Optus and Vodafone to achieve similar 3G speeds.
On its 4G network, Optus pairs two 20Mhz bands of spectrum to achieve the faster speeds. This means that specially designed phones and modems will be required to take advantage of this enhancement, which Optus hopes to make available early next year.
Category 6 LTE is the next step forward in the quickly evolving 4G landscape in Australia. Category 4 devices were only just made commercially available this year, and even now there are only a handful of Cat 4 devices on store shelves.