If you’re suffering 5G disappointment, you are not alone. You see the 5G logo on your phone now. Super excited, you rush to carry out a speed test. However, you are left surprised on the other side of the speed test. A common belief is that 5G is supposed to be superior to its predecessors in speed. However, the reality turned out to be a bit disappointing.
With so many questions about why 5G has struggled to live up to expectations, let’s dig deeper into the possible reasons and ways to improve internet performance overall.
The Different 5G Bands
We first need to realize that 5G exists in the form of different bands offering varying speeds. It sets itself apart from 4G, which has only a small . Based on speed, 5G can be separated into three categories—its three bands.
Low band (600-700 MHz): Providing only a little boost in speeds over 4G, this is the slowest 5G connection. Low band 5G connections come under Frequency Range 1 (FR1) or “sub-6” with speeds below 6 GHz.
Mid band: (2.5-3.7 GHz): Also falling under the F1 category, this mid-level 5G band offers speeds much higher than 4G.
High band: (25-39 GHz): Also called the mmWave, this band gives out signals in Frequency Range 2. This is the best 5G, offering speeds often higher than what’s provided by even the best internet connections at home.
The reason for 5G disappointment
A recent study has showcased that many mobile users feel that 5G has shown a little positive impact on their internet speed. Thus, users think that the , boosting expectations that would be left unmet.
The most obvious reason, as you may have guessed from what we have mentioned above, is that most carriers have used low-band carrier frequencies up until now. While these frequencies can indeed reach far and wide, their downside is that their speeds are usually less than 100Mbps—a speed not entirely unreachable for a good 4G LTE connection.
There’s another factor as well—the rampant use of the Dynamic Signal Sharing (DSS) protocol that lets carriers offer both 4G LTE and 5G services using the same spectrum bands. The benefit of such a practice is that 5G services can be rolled out with existing equipment and spectrum bands.
There’s no need for new constructions and acquiring new spectrum licenses. While this has made 5G services widely available, it has hampered their performance to a great extent.
How Do You Get Faster 5G Connections?
How well your 5G connection performs depends on which 5G band you are connected to. The results vary wildly between bands. If your device has connected to a low-band signal, it will indeed outperform a device that has connected mmWave.
Therefore, which phone you buy makes all the difference. What matters is what band has been built into your phone. If your mobile can connect to sub six and mmWave, you can easily access 5G speeds. If, however, your mobile can connect only to lower 5G bands, you’ll be denied the higher speeds of mmWave.
Currently, mobiles with four bands can connect to mmWave—n257, n258, n260, and n261. Be sure to check out your phone’s specifications beforehand and see that it has one of the four bands so it can connect to mmWave.
Factors to Consider
Simply connecting to mmWave 5G doesn’t necessarily translate into boosting the connection’s performance to its maximum potential. It’s because the signal range of mmWave is relatively weak, which happens to be quite an issue with these connections. It implies that to be connected at all; you need to be close to a mmWave cell tower. Moreover, there’s a drastic effect on connection performance when solid objects come in the way.
Low band 5G does an excellent job of passing through objects between the tower and the user, making staying connected to a strong signal spread over a vast area easy. However, when it comes to mmWave, any obstacle coming in the way can be all the difference between smoothly streaming your favorite show on Netflix and skipping it.
You can also consider a to boost your internet speeds. Specifically, a Virtual Private Network can help you get better speeds when ISPs throttle traffic. By encrypting traffic, this tool can help you bypass ISP throttling the speed of your communication with a specific service. This trick works if Internet Service Providers throttle traffic based on its types, like streaming or online gaming.
5G still has a long way to go before users go gaga over it. You can enjoy spectacular speeds if you are close to a mmWave tower, but that’s just not a practical solution. It doesn’t mean that we are to give up on 5G. All carriers are working to improve the technology. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.