World’s best smart apartment tests 5G and Wi-Fi with up to 100 devices at once

Our latest 5G smart apartment test shows the seamless connectivity, hybrid operation and low EME levels of 5G and Wi-Fi technology.

How do you connect 100+ devices in an apartment and create a fully connected hybrid living and working experience – while barely moving the needle on 5G electromagnetic energy (EME) levels?

That’s precisely what a team of top Telstra graduates recently achieved at our test site in Melbourne’s Docklands.

Setting up our 5G smart apartment with the latest technology

How many connected devices do you have inside your home? In a recent survey of Telstra employees, we found that most people have between 15 and 25 connected devices. With that in mind, we wanted to see how many devices we could connect in one space.

To do this, we set ourselves a challenge: to create a fully connected 5G smart apartment, using the latest 5G mmWave technology as well as Wi-Fi, and connect as many devices as possible to enable hybrid living and working. Oh, and it was supposed to be a great learning experience and a fun place to work. No small challenge for our qualified team!

Test the Smart Apartment with different scenarios


The 5G connection in our Smart Apartment used the latest 5G mmWave technology, with our 5G Home Broadband modem communicating with the nearest base station and offering excellent connectivity and speeds. We also used various 5G mobile broadband “hotspot” devices for different tests.

Our Gen3 Smart Modem was also connected to a 5G mobile broadband device to share Wi-Fi coverage throughout the apartment space, with the latest Smart Modem Wi-Fi 6 standard allowing full 5G mmWave capability to be shared simultaneously across many devices.

Hybrid work on a typical day – this test started with great coffee from one of Melbourne’s famous local cafes – and a few more during the day from the apartment’s smart coffee machine!

With working from home being normal for many people these days, the graduates simulated a busy work and home life test environment to put 5G to the test while continuing their day jobs from the apartment. .

Gaming on 5G – I’ve yet to meet a graduate who doesn’t like online gaming – so what an opportunity to test the experience on 5G!

Thanks to the low latency of 5G mmWave, our graduates have achieved very low latency (or “ping” time) and very fast responsiveness to their in-game commands, which definitely gives them an extra edge over other gamers. .

We also compared the experience on midband 5G to the higher frequencies of mmWave, to demonstrate the increased potential of our latest technology.

Testing new 5G devices – it was a key aspect of the learning experience.

Graduates tested a number of our prototype 5G mmWave fixed wireless access modems in the apartment, to test their performance indoors and outdoors, including the impact of glass on reception of mmWave signals.

by Telstra WiFi Pro 5G and the new Nighthawk M6 Pro were also tested and both provided excellent connections.

Our investigations concluded that indoor 5G mmWave connections were best near the front windows that faced the base station, and that midband 5G still worked well throughout the apartment.

Three EME test scenarios – a tourist, a family and teenagers, and our tech-savvy graduates

With the apartment fully configured with super-fast 5G, 5G-powered Wi-Fi, games and smart home devices from Google, we set up three distinct use cases over a few weekends to test electromagnetic energy (EME) levels for:

  • a tourist
  • a family with teenagers and their friends
  • a ‘max-out’ challenge with two teams of Telstra graduates

Each group had unlimited data using 5G and 5G Wi-Fi throughout the apartment, and we had four EME monitoring stations throughout the apartment that continuously recorded EME levels.

These different groups have allowed us to really characterize how 5G works in the real world and measure the typical EME levels people will experience in everyday home environments.

Our EME test results show that 5G EME is even weaker than Wi-Fi

The graduates really lived up to expectations and put our 5G network to the ultimate test, and during our maximum challenge they created the highest load on the network, consuming over 240 GB of data in a few hours. Even with the graduates loading the network, EME levels were very low and less than 1% of the public safety limit.

Here’s the long story: Wi-Fi had the highest EME levels in our tests, but still measured within 1% of the security limits. 5G had the lowest EME levels, even under extreme load, and those levels were more than 1,000 times below public safety limits.

What does this mean for families and people using Wi-Fi and 5G? Well, that’s certainly reassuring for many families and people working and studying at home. Your home Wi-Fi is well below the public safety limit, about one-third of one percent of the government agency ARPANSA Safety Standards.

The tourist weekend included a few devices with online web browsing, email and social media – the kind of experience you’d get if you were visiting a short-term rental or staying at a friend’s house the weekend and bringing your phone and your personal data devices.

The Family Weekend was a bit more demanding and included over 30 devices. Our parents had their usual gadgets, but their teenagers (and their friends) were glued to the sofa and playing for many hours – sound familiar?

In our most grueling test, our tech-savvy Telstra graduates included alternate red and blue teams, trying to use as many devices as possible in a matter of hours – and really put it to the test when we reached more than 100 devices. fully in service.

What does all of this mean for my everyday Wi-Fi and 5G usage at home?

We are often asked if it is safe to have many devices all working at the same time, including smartphones and Wi-Fi. This ultimate test certainly shows how safe and effective 5G is, and just how EME levels are low even under the extreme loads that graduates may have achieved.

To be clear, our maximum challenge – with dozens of devices using Wi-Fi and 5G – produced EME levels of around a third of one percent of the safety standard’s limit.

Our tests should also reassure anyone concerned about EME and 5G base stations. As our test results show, the apartment was directly across from a base station – we measured very low EME levels from the base station, and also got similar readings in d ‘other apartments on either side of the 5G smart apartment.

The message of this test is clear. We’ve been testing 5G for over five years now and found consistent results – EME levels are typically over 1000x underneath safety limits.

Mike Wood
By Mike Wood

Senior Director, Strategy, Governance and EME Risk Management – Telstra

Mike Wood is a Telstra Professional Emeritus and Director of Telstra’s Electromagnetic Energy (EME) Strategy, Governance and Risk Management Program. Mike has 30 years of experience in mobile network deployment strategy and management, EME and community consulting for the wireless industry. Mike trained with the Australian Department of Defense in radio and microwave communications before graduating from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Mike has worked in standards development for over 25 years and is currently Chairman of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) TC106, which has worldwide responsibility for EME test standards for mobile phones, devices, wireless networks and radio communication systems. The international IEC and Mikes team are currently focused on developing standards for the evaluation of new 5G mobile technologies. Mike is also active in ITU standards and in Australia he chairs the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association’s RF Security Program.

Comments are closed.