Netgear's new portable modem is 5G fast on Telstra's 4G network

31 January 2017

In the lead up to the launch of 5G networks in 2020, Telstra and Netgear, in partnership with Qualcomm and Ericsson, have unveiled the world's first gigabit 4G device, the Netgear Nighthawk M1. 

Using LTE category 16 technology with four-band carrier aggregation, the Nighthawk M1 portable modem is able to attain speeds of up to 1Gbps on Telstra's existing 4G network. For comparison, Netgear's last 4G modem was able to attain speeds of 600Mbps on Telstra's network. 

Essentially, the Nighthawk M1 can simultaneously connect to four of the five bands Telstra's network operates (700MHz, 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, 2100MHz, and  2600MHz) to achieve these gigabit speeds. 

For though playing at home, that's ten times as fast as the fastest widely available NBN connection (100Mbps). 

Actual download speeds will of course vary depending on your location and network congestion, but you should still comfortably be able to get around 500Mbps in areas with full Telstra coverage. At the modem's launcher, it was consistently able to achieve speeds over 850Mbps. 

Speed testing Netgear's gigabit modem!
A video posted by WhistleOut Australia (@whistleout) on

Telstra is the first carrier to attain speeds of over 1000Mbps on a 4G network. At these speeds, you could burn through a 10GB mobile data allowance in roughly a minute and 25 seconds.

While 5G is technically able to technically go far faster - speeds of over 20Gbps have been attained in early trials - but based on the standard, average users can expect speeds more like the 1Gbps attainable by the Nighthawk M1 in day to day usage. 

Telstra group managing director of networks Mike Wright described gigabit LTE as an early insight into the future.

"It gives us a window into 5G use cases. We can experiment," said Wright. "As 5G comes along, we can develop the [new] network to sustain these use cases." 

In terms of tech specs, the Nighthawk M1 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16 LTE chipset, can upload at 150Mbps, supports up 20 simultaneous devices, and will run for 24 hours on a single charge. There's also two USB ports - one Type A and one Type C - for media streaming and charging. 

The Nighthawk M1 is available through Telstra stores in February for $360. 

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