Telstra’s Cat fight: 300Mbps Cat6 LTE thrashed with 450Mbps Cat9

Broadband speeds can sure put old school dial-up speeds to shame at the best of times, but a new test from Telstra shatters the tech altogether, boasting speeds around 8000 times faster than what we used to have with those old noisy 56K modems.

Not that anyone would use those modems today — or many people, anyway — but Telstra’s latest reason to boast comes with a good reason, and not just one to compare a future technology with something severely out of date like a 56K modem.

The news this week is that Telstra has managed to get speeds of 450Mbps out of its network by combining bandwidth across the 1800 and 2600MHz bands, achieving what is essentially the world’s fastest 4G LTE speed.

Right now, Australians generally see Category 3 (Cat3) LTE where ever they go, which means download speeds up to 100Mbps, while Vodafone customers in Australia can also see Category 4 (Cat4) LTE which brings in a boost and offers as much as 150Mbps down.

Earlier in the year, Huawei launched Category 6 LTE with some new hardware, and some possible compatibility with Australian networks. This update boasts speeds of up to 300Mbps, which is twice the theoretical maximum of Category 4 LTE, an impressive enough speed burst for anyone who manages to achieve it.

But Telstra’s test this week destroys even that, pushing into a territory not seen anywhere in the world in a live test.

“This test allows us to see how the technology works ahead of when we make a future investment in it,” said Mike Wright, Group Managing Director at Telstra Networks.

“Conducting this type of test is a significant step in the network engineering and development process. It is essential for us to see how this type of technology works in the live network and understand what needs to be done to continue to absorb the exploding demand in mobile broadband and offer an exceptional customer experience.”

Now regular customers shouldn’t expect these sort of speeds until much later on, and while we’re waiting on Telstra to give us a timeframe, we’d hazard a guess and say this isn’t until a 2016 thing, if that at all, because the requirement isn’t just something the telco has to work with, but also the handset manufacturer, and there isn’t a phone out there that can do what Telstra has accomplished in this test.

Still, it is coming, and so is 5G, but you have to wonder: if 4G can reach speeds nearing half a gigabit, what can the upcoming 5G technologies do when they’re installed?