U s cellular new phones

Posted on 20 октября, 2020 by minini

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing. All of the US carriers have now launched some form of 5G cellular network. But what exactly is 5G, and how fast is it compared with 4G? Here are the facts we know so far. Nationwide 5G» is here, but for many people, it isn’t making much of a difference. T and Verizon are running forms of 5G that light up a ‘5G’ icon on your brand-new smartphone u s cellular new phones feel and work exactly like 4G. That may lead people to wonder what the big deal is with 5G.

Is what we’re seeing right now even 5G at all? It turns out that 5G technology and a «5G experience» are very different things, and right now in the US we’re getting the former without the latter. Things will start to turn, though. 5G is an investment for the next decade, and in previous mobile transitions, we’ve seen most of the big changes happening years after the first announcement. The first 4G phones in the US appeared in 2010, but the 4G applications that changed our world didn’t appear until later.

Snapchat came in 2012, and Uber became widespread in 2013. Video calls over LTE networks also became big in the US around 2013. With the 5G transition, there’s another twist. There are three main kinds of 5G—low-band, mid-band, and high-band—and while the US put its bet on low and high, it turns out that mid-band is probably the best way to do it. T and Verizon had to wait for the C-band auction, which just ended, to get theirs. So following that plan, while we’re getting fits and starts of 5G right now, you should expect the big 5G applications to crop up in 2022.

T’s «5G E» phones, they aren’t 5G cellular. Here’s a full explainer on 5G vs. And if you’re hearing that 5G means millimeter-wave towers on every lamppost, that’s not true. That’s only one of the three main forms of 5G we’re seeing right now. The G in this 5G means it’s a generation of wireless technology. While most generations have technically been defined by their data transmission speeds, each has also been marked by a break in encoding methods, or «air interfaces,» that makes it incompatible with the previous generation.

2G technologies, such as CDMA, GSM, and TDMA, were the first generation of digital cellular technologies. 3G technologies, such as EVDO, HSPA, and UMTS, brought speeds from 200kbps to a few megabits per second. 4G technologies, such as WiMAX and LTE, were the next incompatible leap forward, and they are now scaling up to hundreds of megabits and even gigabit-level speeds. It isn’t a clean break with 4G. 5G phones all need 4G networks and coverage. At first, all 5G networks used 4G to establish their initial connections, something called «non-standalone.

We’re starting to move away from that now into «standalone» networks, but they lose significant performance without an assist from 4G. Part of the 5G spec allows 5G phones to combine 5G and 4G channels invisibly and seamlessly to the user. 5G links for quite some time. T to get overenthusiastic about its 4G network. The carrier has started to call its 4G network «5G Evolution,» because it sees improving 4G as a major step to 5G. But the phrasing is designed to confuse less-informed consumers into thinking 5G Evolution is 5G, when it isn’t.

While 2G and 3G are going away soon, 4G has many years ahead of it as part of the 5G equation. Low, Middle, and High5G gives carriers more options in terms of airwaves than 4G did. Most notably, it opens up «high-band,» short-range airwaves that didn’t work with 4G technology. But 5G can run on any frequency, leading to three very different kinds of 5G experiences—low, middle, and high. The key thing to understand here is that 5G isn’t much faster than 4G on the same old radio channels. Instead, the 5G spec lets phones use much wider channels across a broader range of frequencies.

The carriers and the FCC have to make those wider channels available, though, and that’s where they’ve largely fallen short. With 4G, you can combine up to seven, 20MHz channels to use a total of 140MHz of spectrum. Most of the time, though, phones are using 60MHz or less. With new phones in low- and mid-band 5G, you can combine two 100MHz channels for 200MHz usage—and stack several more 20MHz 4G channels on top of that. In high-band 5G, you can use up to eight 100MHz channels. But if you don’t have the airwaves available, you don’t get the speeds. DSS makes the walls between 4G and 5G channels movable, so carriers can split channels between 4G and 5G based on demand. That’s what Verizon has been using for its «nationwide» 5G.

It doesn’t free up any new airwaves for 5G—it just reuses odds and ends of 4G—so we haven’t seen DSS 5G offer better performance than 4G. T-Mobile’s low-band 5G airwaves have excellent coverage. T and T-Mobile low-band phones sometimes show 5G icons when they aren’t even using 5G, making it hard to tell any difference. That covers most current cellular and Wi-Fi frequencies, as well as frequencies slightly above those. These networks have decent range from their towers, often about half a mile, so in most other countries, these are the workhorse networks carrying most 5G traffic. Most other countries have offered around 100MHz to each of their carriers for mid-band 5G. High-band 5G is much faster than 4G.

T-Mobile describes the three forms of 5G as a «layer cake. Verizon is trying to enhance its high-band 5G coverage by making deals with companies that create 5G extenders and repeaters, such as Pivotal Commware. Each cell site must be connected to a network backbone, whether through a wired or wireless backhaul connection. 5G networks use a type of encoding called OFDM, which is similar to the encoding that 4G LTE uses. The air interface is designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE, though. 5G networks need to be much smarter than previous systems, as they’re juggling many more and smaller cells that can change size and shape.

But even with existing macro cells, Qualcomm says 5G will be able to boost capacity by four times over current systems by leveraging wider bandwidths and advanced antenna technologies. The goal is to have far higher speeds available, and far higher capacity per sector, at far lower latency than 4G. The standards bodies involved are aiming at 20Gbps speeds and 1ms latency, at which point very interesting things begin to happen. 5G is now «nationwide,» although with the carrier’s very different approaches to it, you’re going to have different experiences in different places. Verizon has a slow «nationwide» 5G based on shared 4G channels, and fast, high-band 5G in more than 60 cities, with online coverage maps here. T has slow low-band across about most of the country and high-band in 35 cities, which it doesn’t give maps for. The company has low-band maps and a high-band city list here. Verizon 5G is fast, if you can find it.

T and T-Mobile phones lack high-band 5G. I’m of two minds about whether or not that matters. More technology is better, and the companies do own a lot of high-band airwaves. The Galaxy S21 series have all forms of 5G on board. You can check out our current rundown of the best 5G phones for more. Other countries have even more 5G phones, with models from Huawei, Oppo, Realme, Xiaomi, and others.

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European and Asian mid-band systems we don’t have here. Online conspiracy theories have blamed 5G for everything from cancer to coronavirus, but they tend to fall apart at the slightest tap of actual facts. Low-band and mid-band 5G are based on radio frequencies that have been used for decades. Low-band 5G uses UHF TV bands, which have been in use since 1952. The greatest 5G worries in the US tend to be around high-band, or millimeter-wave, 5G. This is the short-range type that requires a lot of small cell sites, so the infrastructure is more visible than it was before.

The ironic thing about worrying that millimeter-wave will fry your cells isn’t that it’s too strong, but that it’s too weak: It’s blocked by leaves, walls, glass, cars, clothing, and skin. 5G has become a common topic of conspiracy theories. At the levels 5G networks use, there’s no perceptible effect on people. But the most self-condemning thing about the mutable 5G conspiracists is that they don’t care about any of these details. A popular petition in the UK in early 2020 claimed that 5G runs at «60 megahertz» and is «sucking all of the oxygen out of the air. It got more than 114,000 signatures on change. 60GHz, but no 5G network is using that yet either.

Here’s our full story on why 5G is safe. Most of the real-world 5G demos we’ve seen just involve people downloading Netflix very quickly on their phones. That kind of usage is table stakes, just to get the networks built so more interesting applications can develop in the future. The Galaxy S20 takes huge 108-megapixel photos and 8K videos, which quickly eat up your storage and are difficult to upload unless you have a fast 5G connection. 5G home internet shows one major advantage over 4G: huge capacity. Carriers can’t offer competitively priced 4G home internet because there just isn’t enough capacity on 4G cell sites for the 346GB of monthly usage most homes now expect. The pandemic era has pushed that number higher as people work and learn from home. 5G home internet is easier for carriers to roll out than house-by-house fiber optic lines.





Rather than digging up every street, carriers just have to install fiber optics to a cell site every few blocks and then give customers wireless modems. Verizon chief network officer Nicki Palmer said the home internet service would eventually be offered wherever Verizon has 5G wireless, which will give it much broader coverage than the carrier’s fiber optic Fios service. On a trip to Oulu, Finland, where there’s a 5G development center, we attended a 5G hackathon. The top ideas included a game streaming service, a way to do stroke rehab through VR, smart bandages that track your healing, and a way for parents to interact with babies who are stuck in incubators. All of these ideas need the high bandwidth, low latency, or low-power-low-cost aspects of 5G. We also surveyed the 5G startups that Verizon is nurturing in New York.



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At the carrier’s Open Innovation Lab, we saw high-resolution wireless surveillance cameras, game streaming, and VR physical therapy. Our columnist Michael Miller thinks that 5G will be most important for industrial uses, such as automating seaports and directing industrial robots. To do this, you need extremely low latencies. While the cars are all exchanging very small packets of information, they need to do so almost instantly. That’s where 5G’s sub-one-millisecond latency comes into play, when a packet of data shoots directly between two cars or bounces from a car to a small cell on a lamppost to another car. One light-millisecond is about 186 miles, so most of that 1ms latency is still processing time.

Another aspect of 5G is that it will connect many more devices. Right now, 4G modules are expensive, power-consuming, and demand complicated service plans, so much of the Internet of Things has stuck with Wi-Fi and other home technologies for consumers, or 2G for businesses. 5G will accept small, inexpensive, low-power devices, so it’ll connect a lot of smaller objects and different kinds of ambient sensors to the internet. The biggest change 5G may bring is in virtual and augmented reality. As phones transform into devices meant to be used with VR headsets, the very low latency and consistent speeds of 5G will give you an internet-augmented world, if and when you want it. The small cell aspects of 5G may also help with in-building coverage, as it encourages every home router to become a cell site. To stay up to date with 5G, sign up for our weekly Race to 5G newsletter. And if you’re looking to the future, read our 6G explainer to stay ahead of the curve.

Millisecond latency comes into play, which will give it much broader coverage than the carrier’s fiber optic Fios service. I verified that I would be charged nothing. Such as CDMA, yet they are not willing to help. So we haven’t seen DSS 5G offer better performance than 4G. 4G modules are expensive — mobile is best for you based on network coverage where you live.

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PC Magazine are among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. The display of third-party trademarks and trade names on this site does not necessarily indicate any affiliation or the endorsement of PCMag. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant. What Is a Good Credit Score? How Many Credit Cards Should I Have? If you’ve seen the ads for Consumer Cellular on TV, you may be wondering if the wireless provider lives up to the hype. Team Clark spent 30 days testing the service to find out. AARP discount, it’s available to people of all ages.

Is Consumer Cellular Really Worth It? Team Clark’s Review My overall experience with Consumer Cellular was positive, but I had some minor hiccups with customer service. In this review, I’ll lay out everything you need to know before you sign up. Customers get access to one of those networks, not both. T or T-Mobile is best for you based on network coverage where you live. Want to make sure you get a specific network? Skip the website and pick up a Consumer Cellular SIM card at a Target retail store. 30 before taxes and fees for unlimited talk, text and a few GB of high-speed data.

20 per month and most of them have shared data limits. However, the company recently added an unlimited shared data option. 75 a month for two lines. For customers who don’t have an AARP membership, the risk-free guarantee is limited to 30 days. Automatic Upgrade  If you go over the minutes or data allowed by your plan, Consumer Cellular will automatically upgrade you without charging overage fees. However, you will have to pay for the more expensive plan. After you’re automatically upgraded, you’ll remain on the new plan unless you switch back. Not a Prepaid Service  Another thing to keep in mind is that Consumer Cellular is a postpaid carrier, not prepaid. That just means that you get a bill in the mail at the end of your billing cycle and don’t pay in advance for the service. Activation Process I signed up for Consumer Cellular through the carrier’s website and my free SIM card arrived in the mail a few days later.

The SIM card came with step-by-step instructions on how to activate my service online, but I ended up having to call customer support to get my account fully up and running. After calling Consumer Cellular, it took about 15 minutes for a customer service representative to help me get started. Moto G6 phone that I already had. If you don’t want to bring a compatible device as I did, you can purchase a new phone from Consumer Cellular. 100 phones were also for sale. You can check Consumer Cellular’s coverage map to learn more.

Data Speeds A fast, reliable data download speed is necessary to surf the web and watch videos on your smartphone. Many people worry that low-cost carriers will slow down their data, but that was not my experience with Consumer Cellular. Using the Speedtest by Ookla app, I regularly recorded download speeds of more than 25 Mbps. Having said that, I generally have no problem streaming on my phone at speeds of around 10 Mbps. Not a lot of low-cost cell phone providers can say that! The customer service representatives were always helpful, but wait times sometimes exceeded 30 minutes. You can request a callback to avoid staying on hold. Consumer Cellular’s app and website are easy to navigate when you want to check your data usage or update payment information.

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