As 5G networks have continued to spread across the world, the biggest issue with ultra-fast millimeter wave (mmWave) towers has been their short transmission distance, which is generally measured in city blocks rather than miles. Today, Qualcomm announced a breakthrough in mmWave transmission range, successfully achieving a 5G data connection over a 3.8-kilometer (2.36-mile) distance — over twice the range originally promised by its long-range QTM527 antenna system last year. VentureBeat reports: It’s important to put today’s news into perspective, as the record is specific to broadband modems rather than smartphones. Qualcomm is touting the achievement as evidence of mmWave’s viability as a fixed wireless access solution, enabling carriers to offer fiber-speed 5G coverage in rural, suburban, and urban communities that might have had poor wired home broadband options in the past. The successful test was conducted in Regional Victoria, Australia, presumably with minimal physical interference between the sending and receiving devices. The test relied on two existing Qualcomm hardware solutions — the Snapdragon X55 modem and QTM527 antenna — inside a consumer premises equipment broadband modem, communicating with Ericsson’s Air5121 and Baseband 6630 tower hardware, enhanced by extended-range software. No details were provided on speeds or other details of the connection, but Qualcomm characterized the successful range test as “the first step in utilizing mmWave for an extended-range 5G data transfer,” hinting that there may have been compromises in speed or other areas. The company previously noted that carriers would be able to deliver up to 7Gbps download speeds if the QTM527 could access a full 800MHz of mmWave spectrum. Existing tower hardware has hit 4.3Gbps for a single device or 8.5Gbps for two devices. Read more of this story at Slashdot.