Faster is better!
In the April 2019 edition of Ken's Korner newsletter we talked about the impending arrival of 5G networks and some of the changes that it will be coming.
Now that 5G wireless networks are being deployed in most major cities what does that mean to you? There have been a lot of promises and hype surrounding the new technology. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Fifth Generation of cellular networks.
Q. How much is 5G going to cost?
A. 5G doesn't have a price tag yet. A key 5G objective is to lower the cost-per-bit of data compared to 4G LTE. But historically that will be offset by the fact that we will be transmitting even more data. The companies involved with rolling out 5G are spending a lot of money but the total cost will probably not be known for several years.
Q Will 5G be faster than the 4G that I have now?
A. Well yes, but that is a “qualified” yes. Sometimes it will be a little faster and sometime a lot faster depending on where you are at and what service is available at that location. In computer networks speed is king and faster is better. Additionally the lower latency and the ability to connect many more devices will make 5G even more advantageous. As the 5G networks are deployed to more areas the benefits of high speed will become more evident.
Q How will 5G work in my home?
A. 5G residential broadband internet service offers download and upload speeds that are comparable to, and in many instances much better than the traditional wired broadband connections. This offers a new avenue to people looking to “cut the cord” while at the same time being able to connect more devices simultaneously.
Q Will my current 4G phone work with 5G?
A. Sadly no, the 4G radio is not compatible with 5G. If you want the 5G capabilities you will need a phone, tablet, laptop or other device with a 5G capable radio often referred to as 5G NR, (New Radio). 5G devices will, at first, need a 4G radio to operate in areas where 5G is not yet available. The existing 4G networks will remain in service for the foreseeable future so you don't have to trash you old 4G phone just yet.
Q Is 5G Wi-Fi the same as 5G?
A. No. 5G Wi-Fi is a wireless network protocol that transmits at, (or about) five gigahertz (5GHz). It is a standard for most small wireless networks established by the IEEE. The Fifth Generation 5G is a wireless protocol for smart phones and other computers that transmits on the existing LTE frequency (600MHz ‑ 6GHz) and the “millimeter wavelength” (34 ‑ 86GHz with provisions up to 300GHz). It is a standard for cellular communications established by the 3GPP.
Q Is AT&T's 5GE really 5G?
A.No, it is a “souped up” 4G that offers slightly better performance that 4G LTE but far short of even the low end of 5G performance. In fact AT&T has recently been sued over this. Do not be fooled by the dishonest advertizing hype.
Q What 5G phones are currently available?
A. That's a “moving target” as new phones and other 5G capable devices are being released at an ever increasing rate. As you might expect the first 5G capable phones are a bit pricey and that price varies greatly depending on the seller. Here is a list of 5G capable phones available in the US and approximate prices:
LG V50 THINQ
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung Galaxy Fold
Around 2,000 USD
Alcatel 7 5G
OPPO Reno 5G
Approx $1,000 USD
No US price found
Motorola Z3 with Moto Mod 5G
OnePlus7 Or OnePlus 7T
Under $1,000 USD
Verizon also offers a 5G mobile hotspot
Huawei & ZTE also have 5G capable phones on the market.
274G??? It could happen, someday!
It is a safe bet that many more 5G capable devices will be available at much lower prices in the near future. So unless you just have to be the first one “on your block” to get 5G it might be better to wait a bit and save a lot.