what it is and how it improves our 5G network

We’ve been working to bring more capability into our 5G network to support adaptable network experiences for our customers.

Up until now, our 5G rollout has been about expansive coverage, reliability, lowering latency, boosting speed, and allowing more devices on the network. 5G Standalone is a new technology which takes this further and allows us to tailor the network to support the entire experience for our customers.

5G Standalone technology allows us to carve up our world-leading mobile network into separate, secure slices that can be finely tuned to suit the needs of many customers.

These slices can be tailored to provide an assured network experience with minimum guaranteed up and down speeds, lower latency and faster responsiveness of applications, greater security and greater reliability. So while one person may want high speed and low latency, and another may require the opposite, we can tailor to suit their needs. This is different to today where everyone’s experience is the same.

For you, that means gaming over 5G that feels more responsive and consistent. It means less waiting for pages to load and feeds to refresh, even in a carriage of people doing the same crowded thing.

Think of 5G as an extra-wide highway, and we’ve just split it into enough lanes for everyone to travel at their own speed.

5G Standalone is not necessarily about any one network metric (like speed or latency) as much as the overall experience.

It allows one customer who wants ultra-high bandwidth for their services to access this, and another who needs low latency to access that – while also providing the latest improvements in both security and reliability.

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S22, S22+ or S22 Ultra smartphone purchased from Telstra, the Android 13 firmware update your phone receives will enable support for 5G Standalone.

Once this update is applied, users with compatible devices will continue to operate seamlessly on the standalone network in the background. It’s another step towards making our 5G network more efficient, more secure, more reliable and better suited to the needs of businesses and consumers alike.

What is 5G Standalone, and how does it improve on existing 5G?

Until now, 5G has relied on 4G infrastructure to help devices communicate. Using this infrastructure allowed us to rapidly roll out upgrades enabling 5G radio in many places providing improved capacity and speeds.

The 5G Standalone network will provide new network experiences using a range of new features and services to support not only consumer services but also new and emerging enterprise and industrial digitization use cases. Additionally, this technology increases our capabilities in automation, security and resilience.

These use cases include some of the tech we showed off at Telstra Vantage this year: we demonstrated the potential of network slicing by using a “slice” to reserve the radio network resources for use cases using video analytics. The use cases demonstrated tracking and monitoring of cattle, using a robot to pick and sort oranges from trees, and a drone to inspect a silo after a fault was detected by a sensor.

5G Standalone capabilities provided the required speed and quality of data along with increased security, to allow the data to be processed in real time using computing at the network edge.

Edge computing is complemented and enhanced by 5G Standalone technology and features, allowing for the processing of data and running of applications closer to customers by leveraging a 5G Standalone network connection, unlocking the potential for a range of new innovative and more reliable services.

5G Standalone uses built-for-purpose 5G infrastructure at every link along the network chain, from the 5G radio access network to the 5G core.

This means the latest protocols that require 5G from end to end are able to function, and create efficiency in how devices operate on the network. The 5G Standalone architecture also allows for new customized service ‘slices’ to be stood up in minutes rather than days or weeks, using a technology called “network orchestration” that automates, what would otherwise be typically highly manual processes in previous mobile generations.

The hidden appeal of 5G Standalone is the new features it enables when operating end-to-end on our network, because it creates a better, customized experience for customers.

One example of that is network slicing, which means we can allocate and control bandwidth, storage and data processing power for a particular customer or application on our 5G network. It lets us design custom solutions to meet the needs of our business partners and industries – including things like extremely low latency and bulletproof reliability.

For consumers, 5G Standalone will enable enhanced in areas such as gaming – providing more consistent performance and immersive experiences, by incorporating Augmented and Virtual reality technologies.

An enhanced overall experience will be provided by the integration of lifestyle applications such as online ordering, watching on demand content and social media interactions.

We see huge potential for 5G Standalone to transform the operations of our enterprise customers in industries like mining and agriculture, where a custom-designed slice can function as a hybrid or emulate a private 5G network with assured characteristics such as resilience and bandwidth. All that means is our enterprise partners can plan innovative connectivity and application designs that allow them to work more efficiently and streamline their operations.

How does 5G Standalone compare to existing 5G and mmWave?

Existing 5G applications that use the mixed 4G/5G core network have already proven themselves as fast, reliable, and able to handle increased user numbers compared to 4G. If you’ve used 5G before, you would have experienced this yourself: 5G is superior to older network standards, we’ve seen many devices like smartphones and mobile broadband hotspots deliver impressive performance in our testing. For our consumer customers, 5G is a big step forward.

mmWave 5G fulfills a different need, delivering super-fast performance experiences over shorter distances to allow the full potential of 5G cellular to be shared by many users at once.

Especially in peak usage environments like a sports stadium, mmWave 5G is the technology that makes it possible for tens of thousands of users to have a good experience simultaneously. As the number of 5G devices and the demand for high-speed, low-latency applications in dense urban environments increases, mmWave 5G will be able to scale to meet these expectations.

5G already delivers coverage and speed improvements over 4G, and mmWave supercharges that for blazing fast connection speeds over shorter distances. 5G Standalone can leverage mmWave in the same way for compatible devices.

It works alongside these other technologies to help us make sure that your 5G experience remains consistent and reliable while providing new network capabilities, even as our network grows to support new businesses and applications over 5G.

Nikos Katinakis
By Nikos Katinakis

Group Executive, Networks & IT – Telstra

Relocating from Toronto, Nikos Katinakis joined Telstra on 15 October 2018 as Group Executive Networks & IT. In this critical role Nikos is responsible for ensuring Telstra delivers next generation network technologies to create the largest, smartest, safest and most reliable networks in the world. This includes rolling out new technology developments, such as those related to 5G, as well as maintaining and enhancing Telstra’s IT platforms. Nikos was previously Executive Vice President Networks for Reliance Jio in India where he was responsible for rolling out the first pan-India 4G LTE Network, with a focus on data management, and enhancing and stabilizing the various operating platforms. In his second Jio assignment, Nikos led their wireline/fixed consumer business with the objective to launch full commercial services across major cities in India, while fully automating and simplifying workflows and the customer experience. Prior to this, Nikos was SVP of Architecture and Technology Development for Network and IT at Canada’s Rogers Communications, as well as Chief Information Security Officer, where he was responsible for the technology strategy, selection, and roadmap that guided Rogers’ deployment of next generation capabilities across all access networks and services.

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