Eli5: why isn’t 5g internet as fast as they said it would be?

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I remember people saying it would be faster than most wired connections.

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23 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

A 5g connection with little to no interference between you and the tower is pretty fast. But that tower is used for more than just you, and that tower has a wired uplink somewhere else. If there’s enough people on the tower, they can saturate the uplink connection to the tower, even if the 5g spectrum still has capacity.

It’s like asking why an F1 car can’t do 200 miles per hour in rush hour NYC Traffic — The F1 car isn’t the limiting factor, the infrastructure it’s on is saturated.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Network congestion, poor signal, distance from the tower, etc.

What wired gives you in addition to a high rate of transfer is a constant environment where that speed can be routinely delivered.

5g may have been faster than a wired connection when they were advertising it as such. But to actually receive it you would have to have an optimized device, in optimal conditions, which doesn’t happen to most people most of the time

Anonymous 0 Comments

“5G” isn’t really rolled out yet. 5G isn’t really defined yet either.

When you see 5G stuff right now, its sorta marketing sorta not. This is like 5G version 0.1 We’re not really near what 5G may be yet… and all the talk is very theoretical, in theory we could keep improving various 5G technologies to get to some of these predictions, but its not as easy as that … there’s a ton of stuff that is 5G and how to use it, and physically building out the infrastructure, and we are barely wading into the water so far

Anonymous 0 Comments

An empty car has the most space, right? So if everyone gets in the car, does it still have the most space?

5G was said to be the fastest because it was the newest network with the least amount of traffic. So everyone jumped on it expecting it to stay that way but unintentionally overcrowded it, making it about as fast as any other overcrowded network.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I used to work at Verizon and the thing is there’s different “bands” for 5g.

Most likely the 5g you’re using is going to be mid-band, that gives good speed and the waves can travel farther making it more useful

The 5g that was hyped up was millimeter wave, that’s super high speed and low latency. The downside is it requires almost a line of sight and even things like a a tree or rain drops in between will interfere with the signal.

The only places you’re likely to see ultra wide band are in popular Downtown areas and maybe sporting venues, but even then it’s not ideal

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are several different types of 5G, and they are not made equal; Low band 5G(slowest one), mid-band 5G/ sub-6 5G(the most common), and mmWave 5G (the fastest one). 

In order to get faster data speeds, you need to have a shorter wavelength. Mobile phones operate on radio waves to communicate with the cell towers, and the shorter the wavelength, the faster the data you get. 

The three different types of 5G all use different wavelengths/frequencies. Low band is the longest wavelength, and so it’s the slowest. It’s not really meant for your phone, but it’s meant for things that don’t transmit a ton of data (like an internet connected fridge). 

Mid band 5G is very similar to 4G, but you can get faster speeds through it (I don’t know precisely how). It has a similar range to 4G. And because of this, it is the most commonly used for cell phones when you aren’t in the city. 

mmWave 5G is the one that gets marketed all the time as the “instant internet connection”. This is only found in cities, and not very many. As for why? I will explain this in a bit. 

You may be asking, “why don’t we make all the places have 5G mmWave?”, and the issue that prevents this from becoming reality is that the shorter wavelengths don’t go as far, and won’t provide enough range for it to be utilized outside select cities. 

5G mmWave’s range is so poor, that you’d need to put several different “internet points” on just one street. Going behind a building will slow your connection. 4G doesn’t do this. 

4G on the other hand, has a much longer wavelength, and thus has a much longer range of about 10 miles/16 km compared to 100ft for mmWave 5G. And because mid band is so similar to 4G, it is used in a lot of places and just gets the 5G label stuck onto it. It’s faster than 4G, but not by a crazy amount. 

TL;DR; there are several different types of 5G, and they’re all varying speeds. Phone carriers marketed the fast one, but because there are several different types of 5G everybody expects all the 5Gs to be equal. 

In short, inaccurate marketing. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

Not sure who those “people” were that were saying things but faster than most wired connections is a kind of vague statement. But 5g can be plenty fast, just ran a speed test on my cell phone with AT&T and I got 744 Mbps. That’s almost twice as fast as I get with my home ISP which gives me 400 Mbps theoretical speed and typically more like 350-380.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The big mobile telecoms lobbied the IEEE to change the “g” naming scheme from generation to marketing speak for faster. The former defined a new generation as 10x faster while the later is the technology is one day capable of it.

More Gs are typically better but the enite concept has been co-opted and is meaningless now

Anonymous 0 Comments

One of the selling points of 5G was that it would allow more connections per tower. At least for 5G Home Internet, it wasn’t very impressive to be deprioritized so quickly.

Population density didn’t change much from 4G to 5G. I suspected that it was traffic shaping and not lack of capacity.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It is faster than gigabit theoretically. 

300-500mbit is achievable in the real world, but It’s a shared medium and is highly dependent on the signal strength and any interference.