Earlier this month Econet whitelisted all its customers for 5G and we ran speed tests on it and got an impressive 266Mbps down and 27.8Mbps up. A few days ago, we got to play with a Starlink kit and it gave us 131Mbps down and 2.83Mbps up.
This is all in Zimbabwe, my friend.
Those are really impressive speeds right there. Even the 2.83Mbps upload speed on Starlink. VSAT is known for slow upload speeds and 2.83Mbps is right up there with the best out there.
Of course, virtually none of us are actually experiencing those speeds. Econet’s 5G is only available in a few areas in the country and even fewer of us have 5G capable devices. So, we aren’t really enjoying the 266Mbps download speeds.
Starlink is not even officially available in Zim and one has to jump through certain hoops to get it here. I don’t imagine we have 10 people in the country using Starlink at the moment. So, most of us are not enjoying 131Mbps speeds.
While we wait to get to experience those kinds of speeds, the Chinese are just out here showing off. To me, it felt like we Zimbabweans were getting ready to celebrate our 2004 Honda Fit reaching the border when we found out that our neighbour, China, just placed an order for a $1m Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6.
We can still celebrate our Fit almost getting here but news of a 6×6 G Wagon possibly sharing the streets with our Fit in the future somewhat deflates our bliss.
China tests 300Gbps wireless internet
It bears repeating, China tested 300 Gigabits per second ultra-fast wireless internet.
That doesn’t sound right. Three hundred gigabits per second. My friend, if it were 300Mbps I would be impressed. 300 Gigs per second is just, I mean, I don’t even know how to wrap my head around what that means.
At 300Gbps you can fill up your 1TB hard drive with downloads in less than 30 seconds. You know how even on unlimited plans, there is a fair usage thing that comes into effect when you exceed 1TB in usage? Well, with 300Gbps you can get into fair-use jail in less than half a minute.
I mean, do you even use 300GB per month? Very few of us do. We recently saw that the average Zimbabwean uses about half a gig (500MB) per month. Guess we don’t need 300Gbps yet.
What China is already working on is 6G. Right as Zimbabwe finally gets a toe in the 5G business. 5G is still taking its baby steps globally. It’s still kind of a mess and yet work on 6G is not hampered in the least bit.
The 300Gbps that the Chinese tested is 15 times faster than the current 5G standard. Millimetre wave 5G has a theoretical maximum speed of 20Gbps.
To achieve their bonkers 300Gbps, the Chinese used terahertz (THz) frequencies, which are even higher than the 30-300gigahertz that 5G uses.
You may be wondering, won’t those THz frequencies be problematic? See, the millimetre waves that 5G uses are easily blocked. They can’t penetrate anything and so one needs line of sight to enjoy 5G speeds in the Gigs per second range.
Well. THz are even weaker. Water and some other materials we interact with daily absorb THz waves. Meaning using THz frequencies will result in even poorer ranges than 5G.
Even with that reality, the Chinese are confident that they can overcome these challenges.