How was your first time (connecting to a 5G signal)?

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Did the earth move when this first happened to you? Was it an experience you will never forget? More importantly, no one can offend your equipment as you are no longer a virgin – a 5G virgin. Oh, didn’t we say we were writing about the first time consumers use a 5G signal? What else could we talk about?

The difference between Low-Band, Mid-Band and mmWave 5G

Most likely, your first experience with a 5G signal was or will be similar to what this writer experienced. Coming from a phone that doesn’t support 5G, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you really bought the Pixel 6 Pro that supports high-band mmWave 5G (for the fastest 5G service possibly as fast as 3Gbps), mid-band 5G (which delivers 5G download speed as fast as 1 Gbps and low-band 5G that allows your phone to work with download speeds as low as 50 Mbps and as high as 150 Mbps).

Since mmWave signals don’t travel that far, it’s almost an accident when Verizon users can connect to the carrier’s fastest 5G service. On the other hand, low-band 5G signals travel great distances, making them often available. But to repeat ourselves, low-band 5G signals are not much faster than LTE. But it turns out that mid-band 5G is easier to find than mmWave 5G and faster than low-band with download speeds peaking at 1 Gbps.
Verizon called its mmWave service 5G UltraWideband service with all the good features of mmWave 5G, such as peak data rates in the 1Gbps-3Gbps range, and all the bad features, including the inability to find such a signal on your handset. Those who can connect to Verizon’s fastest 5G service would be rewarded with a 5G UW icon on their phone’s status bar.

But earlier this year, Verizon quickly increased the odds that your phone could connect to a faster 5G UW signal. How did Verizon do this? Did it use any new connectivity technology? Not quite. It just changed the definition of Ultra Wideband service to include both mmWave and C-band networks. So the easier-to-find C-band, which delivers mid-band 5G service faster than low-band but slower than mmWave, makes it more likely that users will enjoy 5G download speeds faster than what you’re seeing now.

Get the Google Pixel 6 Pro and you’ll have support for both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G

The first time this writer saw the 5G icon lit up on the Pixel 6 Pro, it was the low-band version of Verizon’s 5G service that delivered a download speed of 87.9 Mbps. That’s certainly faster than LTE, but nowhere near the data speeds that allow users to download full-length movies in seconds.

Yesterday, while I was near Salem Hospital (in Mass.), I noticed I got the 5G UW icon on the Pixel 6 Pro status bar for the first time. Trying to take advantage of the situation, yours really quickly tapped the Speedtest app and it showed a download data speed of over 200 Mbps. The service is certainly faster, but nowhere near the 1 Gbps that some midband users have reached.

Once carriers can deliver consistently high 5G download data speeds, the potential of 5G can be unlocked

And once carriers can start delivering 1Gbps-3Gbps download data rates continuously, we could be ready to see the promise of 5G, such as the ability to feel safe in a self-driving car. Remote operations can be a normal day-to-day experience with a West Coast-based surgeon who can operate on a patient in an East Coast OR using robots connected to a 5G network.

So while connecting to Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network was a cool experience, just a few weeks before this incident happened, I almost decided to disable the feature on my Pixel 6 Pro, leaving the phone constantly searching. is to a 5G network. This, I thought, would extend battery life. But if I had, I would never have connected to Verizon’s 5G UltraWideband service.

There is still a long way to go before 5G can achieve everything we expect it to be in the near future. In the meantime, those with the right phone at the right time and place can glimpse what the future might hold for 5G.

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