5G routers – The speeds they can deliver

Huawei recently unveiled its new 5G customer-premises equipment (CPE) hardware at MWC 2019 in Barcelona.

The Chinese company has cemented its position in the race to 5G deployment with the development of its Balong 5000 5G multi-mode chipset.

This network chip supports 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G technologies, and complies with industry specifications for 5G upload and download speeds, said Huawei.

According to Huawei, the chipset can achieve peak download speeds compliant with industry benchmarks. This means that users will be able to enjoy high-speed connections through 5G, removing the need for fixed-line last-mile infrastructure.

The unveiling of the 5G routers was soon followed by Rain launching its commercial 5G network in South Africa.

While 5G networks are still in their infancy, Huawei’s hardware provides insight into the theoretical maximums the technology can deliver.

New hardware

Huawei’s new 5G devices are outlined below:

  • The Huawei 5G CPE Pro is Huawei’s standard 5G CPE device, designed for home and small business use.
  • The Huawei 5G CPE Win supports power-over-Ethernet functionality, and is better geared for outdoor use – it is IP65 rated.
  • The Huawei 5G Mobile Wi-Fi device allows 5G mobile connectivity for users on the go, offering an 8,000mAh power bank and wireless charging.

All of these devices are powered by the Balong 5000 chipset and are capable of delivering extremely fast connection speeds.

The devices also use the latest Wi-Fi standard – Wi-Fi 6 – which allows for peak download speeds of 4.8Gbps from the CPE to a user’s device.

This is especially important for fully utilising the high speeds provided by 5G networks.

Huawei’s 5G CPE Pro also supports the company’s HiLink protocols, allowing it to connect to multiple smart home devices seamlessly.

Huawei CPE 5G

5G speeds

The Balong 5000 chipset can deliver theoretical maximum download speeds of 4.6Gbps on sub-6GHz bands, although its expected top speed on a live network should reach around 3.2Gbps.

At these speeds, a 1GB HD video clip can be downloaded in three seconds and 8K video can be streamed smoothly without lag.

Additionally, the chipset can deliver download speeds of up to 6.5Gbps on mmWave spectrum, easily outpacing current 4G connections by a factor of 10.

This peak download speed would result in a real download rate of 812.5MB/s, which is higher than the read and write speeds of many solid state drives.

In fact, at these speeds it is often the hardware or interface between components in your client device which limits download and upload rates.

For example, if you were to connect to a Huawei 5G CPE Pro router in your home over Wi-Fi 6, you could receive a download speed of 4.6Gbps.

However, if you tried to download a file at this speed – 575MB/s – to a typical 2.5-inch SATA SSD, your download rate would be limited by the write speed of the SSD, which is up to 520MB/s.

The speeds provided by Huawei’s Balong 5000 chipset and the 5G hardware are astounding, but they do require sufficient network capacity and coverage in your area.

All South Africa’s mobile networks are still unfortunately far away from rolling out widespread 5G coverage, at least until more spectrum is made available.

Now read: Huawei launches new MateBook X Pro

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5G routers – The speeds they can deliver