When this happened to you for the first time, did the earth move? Was it an experience that you’ll never forget? More importantly, no one can insult your equipment as you are no longer a virgin-a 5G virgin. Oh, didn’t we say that we were writing about consumers’ first time accessing a 5G signal? What else could we be discussing?
The difference between Low-Band, Mid-Band, and mmWave 5G
Most likely, your first experience with a 5G signal was or will be similar to what this writer went through. Coming from a phone that did not support 5G, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, yours truly purchased the Pixel 6 Pro which supports high-band mmWave 5G (for the fastest 5G service potentially as fast as 3Gbps), mid-band 5G (which delivers 5G download speed as fast as 1Gbps, and low-band 5G which allows your phone to run at download speeds as low as 50Mbps and as high as 150Mbps).
Low-Band 5G at left, Mid-Band at the right
But earlier this year, Verizon quickly increased the odds that your phone could connect to a faster 5G UW signal. How did Verizon do this? Did it use some new connectivity technology? Not quite. It simply changed the definition of Ultra Wideband service to include both mmWave and C-band networks. Thus, the easier-to-find C-band, which delivers mid-band 5G service faster than low-band but slower than mmWave, makes it more likely that users will get to enjoy 5G download speeds that are faster than what you are seeing now.
Get the Google Pixel 6 Pro and you’ll have support for both mmWave and sub-6 GHz 5G
The first time that this writer saw the 5G icon lit up on the Pixel 6 Pro, it was the low-band version of Verizon’s 5G service that delivered a download data speed of 87.9Mbps. That is certainly faster than LTE, but nowhere near the data speeds that would allow users to download full-length movies in seconds.
Once carriers can deliver consistently fast 5G download data speeds, the potential of 5G can be met
And once carriers can start delivering1Gbps-3Gbps download data speeds continuously, we could be ready to see the promise of 5G such as the ability to feel safe in a self-driving car. Remote operations can be a normal everyday experience with a West Coast based surgeon able to operate on a patient in an East Coast OR using robots connected to a 5G network.
So while it was a cool experience to connect to Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network, just a few weeks before this incident took place, I almost decided to disable the feature on my Pixel 6 Pro that has the phone constantly on the lookout for a 5G network. This, I figured, would save battery life. But had I done that, I never would have connected to Verizon’s 5G UltraWideband service.