For years, anticipation for 5G networks, the fifth generation of mobile network technology, has grown steadily. All of the major 5G carriers have launched their initial “national” networks, and they’re all on track to considerably increase the coverage and capabilities of these networks this year and in the coming years. There are numerous advantages to 5G over 4G, but one of the most important concerns that arise in any conversation about it is how fast 5G speeds are.
“How long can a piece of string be?” we could ask. However, that isn’t a very effective response. The truth is that your 5G speeds will be determined by a variety of factors, including your location, the 5G network you’re connected to, the number of people who are connected, and the 5G device you’re using.
Although 5G’s potential maximum speeds are impressive, we still have a long way to go until we see that kind of peak speed anywhere in the world, regardless of your connected device. Maximum download rates can range from 1 gigabit per second to 10 gigabits per second, depending on your 5G coverage, and latency, or the time it takes to deliver data, which can be as low as 1 millisecond (ms).
However, in isolation, that doesn’t mean much, so here’s a table that compares the theoretical speeds of 5G technology to the previous era of mobile technology:
Because each generation has evolved and continued to grow, even after future generations began to roll out, the averages below are approximate, and each of the numerous technologies complicates the results. Then there’s the issue of carriers mislabeling their networks; several mislabeled HSPA+ as 4G, even though it’s a 3G technology.
The latest versions of 4G LTE-A can theoretically reach speeds of 1Gbps, putting them in 5G territory. Those speeds, however, aren’t available right once and are primarily dependent on the modem inside your device.
5G Download Speeds in the Real World
Of course, download speeds vary greatly depending on the type of 5G you’re using. For the uninformed, 5G is made up of a variety of frequency bands. The low-band spectrum, also known as Sub-6, has the ability to traverse large distances and penetrate obstacles, although download speeds are slower.
In the high-band mmWave spectrum, the converse is true: you’ll obtain rapid download rates, but radio waves can’t go very far or pass through obstacles. Check out our guide to learn more about the 5G spectrum and the many forms of 5G.
The existing nationwide networks all rely on low-band 5G, and while there are pockets of mmWave coverage scattered around the country, you won’t spend much time, if any, in those areas. This is likely to change as carriers enhance the standard of 5G networks over time.
According to a new study from Speedcheck, the average 5G download speed is presently 59Mbps, which isn’t much faster than a conventional 4G network. This varies depending on the carrier – AT&T’s average download speed is 53Mbps, T-average Mobile’s download speed is 47Mbps, and Verizon’s average download speed is 44Mbps.
So according to Speedcheck, the average speed is just 2.7 times that of 4G, not the many times faster than we may eventually achieve.
Also, Read…Is Your Company Preparing For 5G?
Download speeds are affected not only by the type of 5G connectivity you have but also by the number of individuals who are connected to the network. The more users who are directly connected to a cell tower, the less bandwidth will be dedicated to you. And this is why mmWave could be useful in settings like stadiums, where dozens of people could be immediately interconnected.
How fast is 5G in 2021?
Although 5G service is now generally available with a 5G phone, it isn’t quite the ultrafast replacement for 4G that many had hoped for. 5G consumers should expect lower latency and greater speeds as each carrier improves its wireless networks and works on 5G adoption.
Over the next few years, you’ll witness improved access to mid-and high-band frequencies, as well as the necessary expansion of the world covered by 5G networks. There will also be a significant increase in 5G-capable gadgets.
Although a 5G iPhone and a 5G-enabled Samsung Galaxy S20 are already available, not every gadget currently supports the new wireless technology. It goes without saying that both carriers and smartphone manufacturers will need time to implement 5G.