Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and the other wireless carriers have been hyping 5G technology for years now. 5G technology has recently been deployed in several metropolitan areas, so the first consumer reviews are in and the results are spotty. When it works, the speeds are remarkable...measured at nearly 2 GIGs of wireless bandwidth. Unfortunately, the coverage is poor and performance is not predicable yet.
5G wireless technology offers the potential for 10 GIG speeds. In order to achieve those speeds, the wireless infrastructure needs to be entirely rebuilt from scratch. Unlike older wireless technologies where carriers were able to add new antennas to existing towers, 5G technology requires a completely new infrastructure with a much higher concentration of antennas. Instead of positioning antennas every few miles, the antennas now have to be positioned within 1,000 feet of each other. Each new antenna needs to be serviced by a new fiber optic line which in turn must be brought back to a switching station where new high-tech routers and switches are concentrated to move the vast volumes of data. This may be the largest and most expensive communications build-out since the original Bell System installing copper lines across the country over 100 years ago.
All of the carriers see 5G technology as the ultimate replacement for wired connections, which will reduce their operating costs in the long run. No more copper lines or fiber optic lines into buildings, only a receiver converting the signal into technology recognizable by the equipment in that site. That is the phone company’s vision. The build out will take at least 10 years, and will probably take 20 years to hit most of the country.
One beneficial side effect of the 5G build-out will be much better cell phone reception and faster 4G download speeds. Since there will be so many more antennas, it is likely that a 4G phone will always connect with five bars of strength. Combine strong signal strength with new much faster infrastructure behind the senses, and a 4G device should connect at closer to its 300 MG potential speed.
With the scope of the 5G build-out, it may be years before it rolls into your area. In the meantime, keep your 4G devices and be happy with the better performance when you're in areas where 5G is deployed.
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