5G Internet Providers

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About 5G Internet

The next phase of the internet is here, and it’s called 5G. Wireless network technology has improved to the point that it’s become a different entity entirely that extends far beyond cellular wireless. This new generation of technology emerges this year in 2018.

Fifth-generation (5G) wireless network technology promises faster speeds, wider availability, and the potential for greater competition among internet providers. With a 5G connection, your mobile connection should feel like your home Wi-Fi.

What's the difference between 4G and 5G?

The term 5G can include different types of connection technology, like fixed wireless or cellular networks, but it all uses the same protocol to improve performance. Essentially the biggest difference between 5G wireless networks and the currently popular 4G wireless networks is how the network nodes function.

With 4G, the cell towers (network nodes) are designed to reach as broad of an area as possible. Not only does this expand service area, but it also reduces the number of towers necessary to deliver service to a given area.

Companies are taking a different approach with 5G. In the simplest terms, 5G is like having high-powered Wi-Fi routers dispersed all over the city to function as the network nodes. So, your internet provider’s network will function more like your home network, but much faster.

How will internet providers use 5G?

While none of the 5G nodes can reach the total area of a cell tower, they can transmit at higher speeds and don’t necessarily require as much infrastructure. This means companies can install more of them to make up for the reduced area they cover. After incremental improvements in technology over the past several years, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are ready to test this new internet configuration, and we’re all about to reap the rewards of that effort.

With 5G networks, your ISP won’t have to dig trenches and run cables or fiber-optic lines. A 5G node can beam a signal directly to your home. 5G technology may also allow mobile phone providers to compete with home internet providers.

Several huge brands in the telecom industry plan to roll out 5G services in 2018. AT&T will launch a 5G mobile network, while Verizon will offer 5G home internet service in a few test markets.

Summary of 5G Home Internet Providers

Provider Projected 5G Launch Cities Projected Speed
Verizon Late 2018
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Other states to be announced
Up to 3.77 Gpb (3,770 Mbps)*
AT&T Late 2018
  • Austin, TX
Unknown

*Based on a Verizon mobile trial run

Pros

Improved Speeds

If 5G delivers on its projected speeds, it could revolutionize your internet experience. With 5G, you could seamlessly stream in 4K Ultra HD or download multiple gigabits of data in seconds instead of minutes.

More ISP Options

Because 5G infrastructure is less intrusive and potentially less expensive than other internet types like cable or fiber, it lowers the cost of entry into the marketplace. This means companies from other industries—like mobile phone companies, power companies, or even start-ups—could jump into the ISP business. That increased competition could drive prices down and service levels up.

Cons

Reduced Range

The trade-off for the speed provided by 5G is reduced range. A 5G node has a smaller service area than the current 4G wireless network nodes or any wireline nodes. ISPs can solve this problem by installing more 5G nodes, but availability will be limited until they do.

Weaker Signal

5G signals also have trouble penetrating barriers like hills, walls, or even vegetation. Signal boosters or reflectors can solve this problem, but ISPs will have to address these issues as they arise. These solutions can get expensive, so ISPs may invest in them only if they deem it financially viable.

Final Analysis

If you can get 5G, we highly recommend doing so. Once ISPs resolve the inevitable issues that come with new technology, 5G could make your home internet connection work seamlessly. Its speeds will virtually eliminate waiting on downloads—making it feel like the entire internet is stored on your hard drive.

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5G FAQs

What is 5G?

5G refers to internet or cellular networks operating in compliance with a new and specific set of standards. It stands for “fifth generation,” which means it’s the fifth generation of these specific network standards. Networks that meet the 5G standards will deliver faster internet speeds and lower infrastructure costs than those that don’t.

Most top-end cellular networks, like Verizon and AT&T, currently use 4G standards. 5G will improve those networks to the point that they could become viable wireless options for both cellular and home internet connections.

What’s the difference between 5G and fixed wireless?

The terms “5G” and “fixed wireless” became linked because the technologies for both continue to expand simultaneously, but they refer to different things. Fixed wireless is a type of network connection, and 5G is a standard for a network. So, while fixed wireless connections can connect to 5G networks, not all fixed wireless is 5G and not all 5G is fixed wireless.

For more about the differences between 5G, fixed wireless, and other wireless internet connections, see our page about wireless internet providers.

Which brands offer 5G internet service?

AT&T and Verizon will both test 5G home internet services in late 2018. In some areas, AT&T already offers a service it calls “5G Evolution.” This service improves upon the AT&T 4G network, but it’s still not quite 5G. It’s more like a step in between.

Starry offers fixed wireless internet with “pre-standard” 5G. This essentially means Starry developed its equipment before the official standard for 5G was set, but it should still be compatible with most 5G standards. This service offers internet speeds up to 200 Mbps, falling short of the multiple gigabit speeds expected with true 5G standards.

A company called Mimosa manufactures and sells 5G hardware, but they don’t offer home internet service directly.

When will 5G be available?

The initial tests of both 5G home internet service and 5G mobile networks will begin in 2018 for select cities, but 5G services won’t roll out on a large scale until at least 2019.

Will 5G be available near me?

Eventually, 5G should be available in most cities, but that’s still at least a year or two away. If you live in Austin, Texas, or Sacramento, California, you may have access to a 5G connection before the end of 2018. Four or five additional cities should also get access to 5G before the end of the year, but those cities have yet to be announced.

If you don’t live in Austin or Sacramento but want faster internet service, enter your zip code to find the fastest ISP in your area.

Enter your zip to find the fastest ISP in your area.

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