In the last quarter of each year, technology companies vigorously promote the newest models of their products, claiming that they are not only “new and improved” but “better than anything ever created before.” But how much of this advertising is true? This year, these companies and their cellular carriers have not been pushing a specific product but an upgraded network: 5G. While 5G has been around for about a year, it lacked a key component: 5G compatible phones. Luckily, as the end of 2020 approaches, most big-name companies such as Apple and Samsung have released these phones. With the full network release, many jumped on the opportunity to test out the life-changing interface; however, sources have been discovering underwhelming results.
Washington Post author Geoffrey Fowler was among the first journalists to test the 5G service. Eager to utilize the speed in his every-day life in San Francisco, Fowler ran identical tests on the three 5G carries AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. He was surprised by his results’ data to see little to no difference from his old 4G network. The numbers showed that the speed of 5G for all carriers was only spectacular in small, specific locations in the city and slower everywhere else. In the end, Fowler concluded that people should not upgrade to the new network this year unless they live in those small places. Additional journalists such as Business Insider’s Michelle Yam found the same problems as Fowler. In technical analysis, Yam explains that the new network uses a shorter wavelength than 4G, which theoretically means that it can carry a lot of data faster; however, it will have a shorter range. Instead of reaching 10 miles, 5G wavelengths can only go 1,000 ft- meaning that simple trees can block the signal. In a different article, “What is 5G?” author Sascha Segan, agrees that the 5G network under AT&T and T-Mobile is almost the same as 4G; however, they feel that Verizon’s service is considerably different, but it’s held back by its lack in coverage. Thus, Segan also advises the public to stick with their 4G.
Despite the contrasting views as to whether or not each of the network carriers performed better than others, all three articles came to the same conclusion: 5G is revolutionary in theory but currently not practical for the average person. Although we may wish to have faster internet, we may need to wait a few years before it’s beneficial.
Fowler, Geoffrey. Review | The 5G Lie: The Network of the Future Is Still Slow. 30 Sept. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/09/08/5g-speed/.
Segan, Sascha. “What Is 5G?” PCMAG, PCMag, 24 Nov. 2020, www.pcmag.com/news/what-is-5g.
Yan, Michelle. Why You Shouldn’t Get Too Excited about 5G Yet. 16 Oct. 2020, www.businessinsider.com/5g-high-speed-internet-cellular-network-issues-switch-2019-4.