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Has the 5G rollout been everything you wished for or has it fallen short of expectations? As companies like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile continue to expand their 5G internet services, we check in on what Verizon’s been doing with 5G internet.
Verizon’s 5G internet rollout began in October 2018, with residential, wireless home internet. Read on to learn about 5G internet, how 5G internet works
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What is Verizon 5G?
Verizon 5G is high-speed internet delivered wirelessly from service towers instead of fiber or cable lines. 5G offers high bandwidth, almost no latency and some of the highest wireless internet speeds available, reaching up to multiple Gbps.
How fast is Verizon 5G internet?
Verizon says 5G is 30-50 times faster than 4G. That translates to download and upload speeds up to multiple Gbps. Previous Verizon 5G tests showed download speeds reaching more than 6 Gbps. How fast is 6 Gbps? It’s equal to 6,000 Mbps — a whopping six times faster than Gig internet, which is one of the highest residential internet speeds currently available on the market.
Verizon 5G availability
Verizon began offering 5G fixed broadband service in four cities — Los Angeles, Houston, Sacramento and Indianapolis — beginning Oct. 1, 2018. As of July 2020, Verizon has expanded their 5G home internet to 35 cities, including popular metro areas such as Boise, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Miami and Phoenix.
Verizon has previously tested 5G wireless broadband in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Sacramento, Houston and other U.S. cities. Results from those tests showed 5G’s ability to communicate over greater distances and with less latency than Verizon imagined.
The perks of 5G wireless internet service
5G wireless is a reliable, high-speed network that lets you watch videos, complete projects, video conference and more with consistent speeds, connection and clarity. Check out all the perks you’ll experience with a 5G network.
- Much lower latency — Latency is the time it takes for one device to send data packets to another. Using 5G, latency could drop to as low as 1 millisecond. With much lower latency, data transfer can happen almost instantaneously, which translates to immediate online gaming responses instead of waiting for your game to react. It also means real-time conversations in video conferences instead of awkward pauses due to lag.
- Much faster download speeds — With 5G tests showing speeds up to multiple Gbps instead of Mbps, people may be able to stream real-time 4K videos. Speeds will vary due to multiple factors, but as 5G wireless improves, so will upload and download speeds.
- Higher, more consistent bandwidth — Even if you have a network with high download speeds, massive amounts of data can clog up networks and slow down speeds, just like cars on a highway. By using MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) to grow 5G network bandwidth, higher volumes of data can be sent and received more consistently. Imagine more car lanes on a highway; more lanes minimize congestion, which allows more cars to travel at the designated speed.
- Real time connections — Tech experts anticipate 5G wireless to drive more innovation and support growing technological advancements such as automated cars, smart cities, immersive education experiences and more. Advanced technologies require reliable, high-speed internet to consistently transport real-time data in large volume.
How 5G works and a history of the “G”
What’s next for 5G wireless growth
The next big trend in 5G growth will be increased competition in both fixed wireless and mobile 5G networks. This will be a boon for 5G consumers as availability and choices increase causing prices for 5G service to hopefully decrease.
What other providers are growing their 5G fixed wireless networks?
- Starry, another internet company using millimeter wave bands, “has slowly been rolling out 5G fixed wireless home internet, according to Cord Cutters News. As of mid-2019, Starry “has won 24 GHz spectrum in 25 states that will allow Starry to offer its service to 60 million Americans,” although “no dates have been set for when Starry will reach all of these new communities.”
- Well-known fixed wireless company Rise Broadband is working to build up their 5G fixed wireless networks.
- Open Broadband is also working to make 5G more available across the U.S.
Cellphone service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint (which is a part of T-Mobile brands as of April 2020) are scurrying to offer the largest and fastest 5G mobile networks. Currently, T-Mobile’s 5G network is the most vast, however, their service is typically slower than AT&T and Verizon due to their reliance on low-band wireless spectrum.
How local community cooperation will impact the future of 5G
Local governments must approve infrastructure changes and give permits for service providers to expand 5G wireless networks. Some municipalities and their residents worry that small cells are unsightly and unsafe since providers frequently place them on light poles.
Local government officials also worry that promises to expand high-speed internet to rural locations won’t be honored. For example, according to the New York Times, cell tower operator Mobilitie placed 215 small cells around Montgomery County, MD, but only 11 of the 215 cells served areas with fewer than 1,000 people per square mile.
In the meantime, providers face the challenge of offsetting installation costs in areas with fewer users. Fixed wireless internet service requires dense small cell placement, but fewer people living in rural areas means fewer people paying for 5G service.
Providers may also face municipality fees for each small cell installed. According to AT&T, different cities in California charge between $2,600 to $8,000 annually for each small cell attachment. Other cities charge between $1,500 to $2,000 annually per attachment.
Frequently asked questions about the future of 5G
As 5G gets introduced by major companies like Verizon and AT&T, we have questions about how 5G will affect the internet we already use each day.
Will 4G go away?
No, 4G and 4G LTE provide the foundation for 5G wireless networks. For instance, Verizon says it’s building 5G networks on top of the 4G LTE network. Just as many providers have not phased out 3G coverage since 3G often fills gaps in 4G coverage, 4G networks will supplement new 5G networks.
Will fiber internet go away?
No, at least Verizon says their fiber internet will not go away. Since fiber internet has fast speeds, low latency and is expensive to build, existing fiber internet services will remain. Fiber internet can also adapt to future speed and bandwidth demands more easily than cable or satellite internet. 5G fixed wireless internet and fiber internet will likely supplement each other for the next few years, although you may see fiber internet growth slow.
Do I need a new 5G phone for 5G service?
Yes, as 5G mobile service emerges across the U.S., you’ll need a new 5G smartphone or 5G enabled device to connect to 5G mobile networks. According to CNET, 18 mobile device makers have committed to developing devices with a 5G modem, which is the technology piece connecting a mobile device to the internet.
Will iPhones connect to 5G networks?
Current iPhones do not have the technology to connect to 5G mobile service. According to Macworld, “5G connectivity may be only available in Apple’s most expensive iPhone model in 2020, or may even be an optional variant of it. If you want to buy a more affordable iPhone with 5G, you’ll probably have to wait until the fall of 2021 or even 2022.”
When will new 5G smartphones and devices come out?
Several 5G smartphones are already available and more devices will likely come out over the next several years. New 5G models from Apple, Nokia and Sony are rumored to hit the shelves in late 2020 and beyond.
Originially written in 2018. Last updated 07/22/20.
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Written by:Lisa Iscrupe
Writer, Broadband & Data Content
Lisa uses years of experience in sales and customer service for internet-TV providers to inform her writing on broadband. Her work has been referenced by CNN and other national sources. … Read more
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