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For years, excitement has been steadily building for 5G networks. Most major 5G carriers in the USA have deployed their initial networks nationwide. They are now gearing up to expand the capabilities and reach of these networks. 5G is supposed to have a lot of benefits over 4G but in any discussion on this topic, the question that immediately pops up is how fast is true 5G.
How fast is true 5G?
Well, there is no straight or a single answer to it. It depends on a lot of factors. For instance, your location, the 5G device you are using, the 5G network you are connecting to, and how many other people are connecting to the same network.
Theoretical 5G Speed
The maximum speeds of 5G theoretically are ground-breaking. But it is going to take some time to reach that kind of speed in the real world.
Depending on the 5G coverage you would get, maximum download speeds range from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second). The time taken to send data or latency could go as low as 1 ms (millisecond)
This may not make much sense to you in isolation. Hence, here is a comparative table showing the speeds of different generations of networks:
|Generation||2G||3G||3G HSPA+||4G||4G LTE-A||5G|
|Average speed||0.1Mbps||1.5Mbps||5Mbps||10Mbps||15Mbps-50Mbps||50Mbps and up|
However, the averages are approximate. Moreover, all these technologies miscalculate the results because all of them evolved and grew continually even after the next one started to roll out. Carriers more often than not mislabel their networks as well. For instance, the 3g technology HSPA+ is labeled as 4G by many.
Take the latest 4G LTE-A into account. It can go up to a speed of 1 Gbps theoretically which is the threshold range for 5G. However, such speed is not available right now anywhere. It is mainly dependent on the modem inside the device you are using.
Real-world 5G download speeds
Understandably, download speeds vary depending on the type of 5G network you are connected to. It is to be noted that 5G is made up of different frequency bands. The low-band spectrum or Sub-6 can travel long distances as well as penetrate obstacles but it offers slower download speeds.
The opposite is true for the high-band mmWave spectrum. While you will get extremely fast download speeds but the radio waves neither would be able to travel far not make their way through obstacles.
Currently, low-band 5G is available for people to use. There are a few pockets of mmWave coverage but it is not sufficient or not available in a wide range of areas to use it efficiently.
However, the situation is likely to change with more carriers working towards improving the quality of 5G networks.
The download speeds also depend on the number of people connected to the 5G network at a given point in time. The more people are connected to a tower, the less bandwidth available or dedicated to individual users.
mmWave would particularly be helpful in places like airports, stations, or stadiums where thousands of people could be using the network at once.
Suggested read: Biggest 5G Spectrum Auction Ever in India
Latency and 5G speed
Latency is probably more important initially than actual download speed. The director of marketing and communications at NetComm, Els Baert, told Digital Trends in an interview, “The arrival of 5G will undoubtedly bring higher speeds for end users — but those speeds will vary depending on how operators design their networks and how many users are on the network, She further added, Although 5G will be able to deliver higher speeds, the main difference end users will notice will be the extra-low latency on 5G compared to 3G or 4G — this will open up new applications in the Internet of Things space.”
A white paper published by Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance states that generally 5G networks ought to offer 10ms latency and for special cases that may require lower latency it should be 1ms. The report further suggested, “Data rates up to 1Gbps should be supported in some specific environments, like indoor offices, while at least 50Mbps shall be available everywhere.”
Please read: Jio Set To Roll Out 5G Services By Independence Day
Speed of 5G in 2022?
5G service may be available with a 5G smartphone but the speed is not the ideal or expected superfast replacement for 4G. Carriers are working to improve their wireless networks and 5G deployment. Thus, 5G users can expect faster speeds and reduced latency.
Hopefully, within the next couple of years, people will get access to better mid and high-band frequencies. They can expect the 5G network to cover more areas as well. You may also see more 5G enabled or capable devices. Until now only flagship or high-end devices had 5G but nowadays cheaper and mid-range smartphones are also 5G enabled thus making it affordable to many.
Although everything is true it will still take some more time to roll out 5G for both smartphone manufacturers and carriers.
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We know now how fast is true 5G in the real world. Thus, although a lot is being expected as per the commitments made or capabilities projected, everything should be taken with a grain of salt till the optimum result of is achieved. Let us know in the comments section below about your opinion, expectation, and experience with the 5G service.