What is 5G? Is 5G Available Now?

5G-Best-WIFI-Router

Yes, that is right – 5G is already here. Unfortunately, not everyone on the planet is sure what it is and its significance. A huge part of the reason is that it actually means more than one thing. Considering all complexities, it is safe to say it is reminiscent of 4G.

What is 5G? Everything You Must Know Now 

Be amazed by the power of 5G speed for your 5G phone, 5G Home WIFI from the 5G network of AT&T and 5G Verizon now available in selected cities.

Technically speaking, 5G network is deemed to be the next generation when it comes to broadband connection. At first, it is meant to live beside and/or enhance your existing 4G service. But sooner or later, 5G network will be a thing and stand-alone mobile 5G will be made available worldwide.

Not only will you experience faster network speeds, but you will also witness massive changes as soon as carriers deploy high-frequency millimeter wave technology. In case you did not know, the latter can be used in order to tap wavelengths that have remained unusable in the past.

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What is 5G? It’s All About The Frequency in 5G

Try to think of 5G as something that is broken into two equal parts. They are none other than low-frequency 5G and high-frequency 5G. Let’s start with low-frequency 5G. This one right here refers to, well, low-frequency networks.

They are expected to utilize similar radio bands, which are being used by the current technology. However, there will be changes implemented on signal encoding and, more importantly, wider channel bands.

So, what exactly do these changes bring? Thanks to them, speeds for up to 50 percent are achievable – something that is a whole lot better than the existing 4G LTE network today.

Now imagine what a mobile 5G network could do then. But hey, there is a lot better than the aforementioned. It comes with better and newer technology, the 5G that makes use of the higher-frequency spectrum.

The spectrum that is available in wavelengths like 28GHz makes it possible for extremely fast and wide channels to exist, allowing broadband services to communicate a whole lot better than what is currently offered.

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Introducing The 802.11ac | 5G WIFI

This is due to the fact that the overall process is not congested and/or clogged by devices that are fond of using it right now. Better recognized as millimeter wave frequency, these are channels that come with a single essential drawback, though.

In a nutshell, they do not necessarily travel nearly as far as the lower-frequency signals are able to do. Do not be confused with the 802.11ac – it is merely a technical term for 5G WIFI. Basically, it is the next leap following 802.11n, which is better known as N or Wireless-N.

The latter, in particular, is the most prevalent Wi-Fi standard. And since the new one is backward-compatible with N, it is possible for a 5G Wi-Fi router to support N clients. The same thing can be said for 5G WIFI clients connecting to an N router.

To put it simply, it is possible for you – even right now – to replace your router at home with a 5G WIFI router. The capability also covers your existing wireless devices, such as smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth Speakers, Smart TV 4K, and laptops, among others.

5G Network | AT&T | 5G Verizon

Interestingly, most of the major telcos are trying to take advantage of the technology. And while it is still too early for them to drop an exact date, they have already performed a handful of tests and whatnot. Take for example, AT&T test in major cities across the U.S.

At&T 5G Network
AT&T 5G Evolution Markets – Image Courtesy of AT&T

AT&T, which is expected to deploy a true 5G network live in at least 19 cities by early 2019. The company has also confirmed the existence of test sites. AT&T has announced the biggest test of at least 99 new 5G evolution markets. Overall, this would bring a total of 239 markets with these technologies.

According to AT&T, “As a reminder, 5G Evolution markets are locations where we’ve deployed technologies that enable peak theoretical wireless speeds for capable devices of at least 400 megabits per second.2 And, we plan to offer 5G Evolution in over 400 markets by the end of the year. In the first half of 2019 we plan to offer nationwide coverage, making 5G Evolution available to over 200 million people.”

* See the map below where AT&T is rolling out 5G across the U.S.

5G Verizon, on the other hand, is using the millimeter wave 5G for its current home 5G broadband. Selected customers living in 5G available cities are now able to install 5G WIFI for their home WIFI network.

It is worth noting, however, that you will need to have new 5G capabilities devices; otherwise, you will not be able to harness the power of the 5G network. When you sign up for 5G Verizon, you can choose either one of these 5G WIFI routers: AppleTV 4K or the Google Chromecast Ultra.

Verizon 5G Home Network
Verizon 5G Home – Image Courtesy of Verizon
AT&T Path to 5G in Cities
AT&T Path to 5G in Major Cities – Image Courtesy of At&T

*2 Actual speeds are lower and will vary. See http://about.att.com/sites/broadband/performance for more information on wireless speeds.