Telstra is taking esports on the go with the power of 5G

Posted: 9 May 2018 12:34 pm

Latency-free mobile online gaming could be just around the corner, if Telstra's latest demonstration is anything to go by.

A lot has been said about 5G, the upcoming successor to the current 4G mobile network. However, practical demonstrations have been few and far between as the high-speed network is still a ways off from rolling out to the general population – in fact, there aren't even any 5G-compatible handsets on the market yet.

This hasn't stopped Telstra from exploring the possibilities of 5G in its 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast, though. Just this past weekend, the country's biggest telco partnered up with Intel and Ericsson to show off just how fast the network could be by hosting an esports tournament entirely through 5G. Professional Australian esports team The Chiefs had first dibs on taking the new network for a spin, experiencing latency as low as five to six milliseconds while competing at the event. For reference, five to six milliseconds is around four times less latency than the current 4G network experiences.

Latency, for those unfamiliar, is essentially the delay between a player pressing a button or performing some action and that action taking effect in-game. The lower the latency is, the smoother the online experience will be. As such, latency is a critical factor for professional gamers.

To achieve this impressive feat, Telstra combined the mmWave wireless connectivity inside its 5G Innovation Centre with Ericsson's 5G base station and Intel's prototype Mobile Trial Platform hardware. The Chiefs, and later members of the public, put the network through its paces on a variety of high-end Dell and Alienware gaming rigs.

"Esports is the fastest growing spectator sport in the world," said Channa Seneviratne, Executive Director of Network and Infrastructure Engineering at Telstra. "This gaming experience is a real life example of how 5G might be used in future."

Emilio Romeo, Ericsson's Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, agreed. "This demonstration is another example of how 5G’s low latency and high throughput can be used across various industries, providing greater efficiency and mobility."

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