Consumer electronics and hardware evolve so fast that our brand new mobile phones and tablets are often out of date before even two birthdays have passed. But it isn’t just our devices that require updating.
The physical infrastructure that is the backbone of how we use these devices also needs regular updating to make sure that we can use them to their full potential. For example, Facebook now plays videos on our news feeds automatically, thanks to the 4G capabilities that the powerful Telstra network possess. In years gone by, this sort of development would have been impossible as the network infrastructure would not have been able to facilitate it.
The New Wave
Now, Telstra is improving it’s reach by rolling out the new 4GX network. For those who thrive on technical definitions, the 4GX is the new 700 MegaHertz 4G network. But for the rest of us, it simply means faster speeds and better coverage all over Australia.
This is especially true for areas that have previously had poor reception, such as inside buildings with several layers of reinforced concrete and rural areas where mobile phone reception can still be very poor.
How Does it Work?
This is all possible because the lower frequency that the 4GX network operates at, compared to the 4G network, which allows the signal to travel further without disruption or “scrambling”. Theoretically, the new network can also carry twice the amount of data over the same spectrum, which translates to a speed that is potentially twice as fast.
When Does it Go Live?
The brand new 4GX network is due to be switched on after a period of intensive testing on the first day of 2015. In an interesting twist, the new network runs on the backbone of the old space that used to run our television signals.
Because of the switch to digital TV, this old analog spectrum was going completely unused, sort of like a road that suddenly had no cars driving on it. With the new 4GX spectrum using it, this means that the network can run more cheaply as the “road” is already built, which lowers the overall cost.
Where Can it be Used?
At first, the soft launch phase will mean the 4GX network will be available in Sydney, Perth, Darwin and Adelaide, as well as a range of smaller regional centres. Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart, as well as a much more comprehensive list of regional areas will go live when the network has been tested with larger user numbers than the first pilot launch.
Which Phones Will Make the Most of it?
With a new network comes a range of new capabilities, but you have to have the right tools to access it. The most recent iPhone releases, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will both be able to harness the speed of the new 4GX network.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 phone and Galaxy Note 4 “phablet” both have the processing power to use the network to the fullest extent. The flagship devices of other phone companies including the HT One (M8) and LG G3 also will support the best use of the 4GX network.
How Do I Access it?
That’s the best part. When your phone is switched on it will automatically seek out the fastest network to connect to. The biggest danger associated with this is that you might get used to the much faster data transfer speeds, which might make downloads and internet browsing when you don’t have access seem much more pedestrian by comparison!