Mobile operator EE (BT) has revealed that they intend to offer the Huawei 5G CPE Pro device as a “home router” alongside their future mobile broadband service for UK homes, which can in theory deliver peak speeds of “up to” 4.6Gbps in the sub-6GHz radio spectrum bands or up to 6.5Gbps using mmWave spectrum.
The speeds given above are the theoretical maximum of the hardware itself, according to Huawei, and NOT EE’s own expectations. Naturally such figures are unlikely to be achieved in a normal real-world network environment, where many users will be sucking from the same limited capacity (data supply and spectrum).
Huawei notes that in live tests the router achieved the slightly lower speed of 3.2Gbps, but we suspect that too would have been conducted under ideal circumstances. Just for some context, a lot of the latest 4G hardware today can cope with 1Gbps speeds but you rarely ever see it reach anything like that high when you connect. The same will be true here but the speeds should still beat 4G and by a fair margin.
Apparently the new router is powered by Huawei’s Balong 5000 chipset, which supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) network architectures for 5G. With non-standalone, 5G network architecture is built on top of legacy 4G LTE networks, whereas standalone 5G, as the name implies, will have its own independent architecture.
The router will also come with the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard for connecting devices in your home (phones, computers etc.) and peak speeds of 4.8Gbps are being promoted. Except this too is a theoretical figure and we all know how variable WiFi performance can be in the real-world. Check out the video below for today’s announcement (timed to start at the point for the router).
EE has already named the first 16 UK cities to benefit from their forthcoming commercial roll-out of an ultrafast (multi-Gigabit capable) 5G mobile and wireless home broadband ISP network (here), which is due to begin later in 2019 and will initially only focus on covering the busiest locations (starting in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast etc.).
As yet there are no details on price or usage allowance, although a lot of operators (e.g. Three UK) seem to be positioning 5G as a possible replacement for fixed line broadband. We’ll have to see if that holds true for EE when the first packages surface. At least the customer hardware should be more than up to the task of Gigabit performance, even if the networks themselves will have to try very hard in order to deliver on that.