5G Internet in the USA

Written by Mar 23, 2021

5G Facts & Technology Overview

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of network standards that powers communications around the globe. Like 4G networks before it, 5G networks are cellular in nature, which means that the service distribution is divided up into individual cells, which are small geographical regions.

Parts of DSL Network

5G’s improvements over 4G/LTE

5G brings with it a number of substantial technical improvements that are already having profound impacts on the existing networks spread across the U.S. and beyond. The primary benefits of the new technology include increased bandwidth and internet speeds. Whereas previous generation networks top out at around 100 Mbps (megabits per second), it is theorized that 5G will eventually be capable of achieving up to 10 Gbps (gigabits per second).

Parts of DSL Network

Types of 5G explained

5G service is split out into three distinct frequency bands, with each having its own speed and coverage limitations. This is needed in order to ensure that the next-generation standard can be deployed across a wide range of geographic areas. Below is a basic overview of the three tiers, or “bands” of service 5G encompasses.

Celltowers farm

Low-band 5G

  • Frequency range: 600 – 700 MHz
  • Speed: 30 – 250 Mbps
  • Coverage area: 30 – 45 miles

Low-band 5G has the largest propagation radius of the three bands, but is also the least powerful in terms of network speeds. Some countries are not developing this band of 5G at all, opting instead to use only mid-band technology and up. Several companies in the U.S., however, currently plan to deploy low-band 5G towers across much of rural America.

 

Cell towers suburbs

Mid-band 5G

  • Frequency range: 600 – 700 MHz
  • Speed: 30 – 250 Mbps
  • Coverage area: 30 – 45 miles

Mid-band 5G is by far the most common form the service has taken as it continues to roll out across the globe. The band offers an effective middleground between high speeds and high range of service, and will likely make up the vast majority of 5G networks across most of the developed world for the foreseeable future.

 

 

Cell Towers City

High-band 5G

  • Frequency range: 600 – 700 MHz
  • Speed: 30 – 250 Mbps
  • Coverage area: 30 – 45 miles

High-band 5G utilizes extremely high-frequency waves known as millimeter waves, or mmWave. These have far shorter ranges than microwaves, and as such are best suited to dense urban environments with high population concentrations. They are also ideal for large gatherings such as conventions, sporting events, and others.

Potential applications for 5G service

Next-generation 5G networks will bring with them new possibilities for technological innovation, particularly in the consumer IoT (Internet of Things), automation, and logistics sectors. Here are just a few of the areas 5G is likely to have a profound impact on over the next decade.

  • Connected vehicles, autonomous driving.
  • Augmented and virtual reality, smart displays, and other smart city applications
  • Healthcare devices, telesurgery, wearable telemetry
  • Industrial optimization in automation and productivity
  • Smart home ecosystems
  • Smart grid deployment and modernization

Frequently asked questions about 5G

  • Are older devices compatible with 5G?

    As 5G is an entirely new baseband, older devices that rely on 4G/LTE basebands are incompatible with 5G networks. That said, 5G devices can, when needed, connect to legacy 4G/LTE connections when no suitable 5G network is present.

  • Will 5G replace home internet?

    Because 5G supports much faster speeds and higher bandwidth than 4G before it, some companies are already beginning to offer “home internet” via 5G. As the technology underpinning the standard continues to improve, it is likely to become a more competitive offering, particularly in major metro areas where mid-band and high-band mmWave frequencies will be capable of delivering cable-like speeds to consumers.

    That said, it is unlikely the 5G will replace (or bring) service to the millions of underserved and unserved residents living in rural communities all over the world.

  • Which companies are developing 5G technology the fastest?

    A few of the companies developing 5G across the world are Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung, Cisco, AT&T, Verizon, and China Mobile.

  • Which countries have the biggest 5G footprints in 2020?

    South Korea, China and the United States currently have the most developed 5G infrastructures in 2020. Many others are developing the necessary infrastructure rapidly, and we estimate that the technology will be widely available within the next 3-5 years.