More and More 5G Ultrawide Band Towers Popping Up

5G is pretty common around my neck of the woods now, but it’s the “sub-6” variety that operates largely on the same frequencies as 4G. Still I’m finding that speeds are always very consistent and presumably these new 5G cell cites can handle more capacity.

Lately I’ve found that the higher frequency MMWave “ultrawide band” indicator is popping up more and more often as I’m traveling around. They even activated one at my local high school presumably for its football field that attracts large crowds for games.

Generally the MMWave cells require you to be outside and fairly close to the cell. But I’ve found that I’m picking up mmWave inside of trains (if the cell is close enough) and in a few cases next to windows in view of a cell on the street.

The speeds from these MMWave cells can be all of over the place depending on where you are in relation to the cell and what kind of connectivity it’s receiving from its fiber optic connection. Most of them I’ve encountered on Verizon’s network deliver speeds not much better than sub6 or LTE:

But I have experienced some in New York City that deliver crazy speeds. Check out this one from the middle of Grand Central Terminal: 1.6 gigabits per second downstream and a health 141 megabits upstream!

So although speeds will vary dramatically from one mmWave to the next I do think we’ll be seeing many more livestreams from stadiums and other large public gatherings now that the wireless bandwidth is there to support more customers simultaneously. I’m eager to see how things work in Las Vegas the next time I go to CES.

I covered the different types of 5G a few months ago. The wireless carriers are definitely hyping things up a bit but there are some areas where the tech will improve connectivity.