Do you know what the 5G network is and what advantages it offers us? | Digital Trends Spanish

Regardless of the misinformation, conspiracy theories and general confusion, the 5G network is already a reality, and the service is already available in some cities. However, it seems that there are still more questions than answers about this technology. Some want to know where they will have access to it or if it will even reach their city one day, while others focus more on finding a compatible phone. And of course, you have to choose the best operator. Well, you have questions, we have answers. This is everything you need to know about what the 5G network is.

What is the 5G network

Before explaining how it works, it is probably a good idea to explain what 5G is. There are a lot of specific details that we’ll talk about later in this post, but here’s a quick introduction.

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace – or at least increase – your connection 4G LTE. With 5G you will see upload and download speeds will be exponentially faster. Latency – or the time it takes for devices to communicate with each other and on wireless networks – will also drop dramatically.

How the 5G network works

Now that we know what 5G is, we will have to understand how it works, since this does it differently from the traditional 4G LTE network. From spectrum bands to small cells, here is everything you need to know about the inner workings of the 5G network.



Unlike LTE, 5G operates in three different spectrum bands. Although this may seem to us that it is not important, the truth is that it has a transcendental effect in your daily use.

He low band spectrum it can also be described as a sub 1GHz spectrum. It’s primarily the band of spectrum used by carriers in the US for LTE, and it’s quickly depleting. While low-band spectrum offers a large coverage and penetration area, there is a big downside: maximum data rates will reach 100Mbps.

T-Mobile is the key player when it comes to low-band spectrum. The operator acquired a massive amount of 600MHz spectrum at an FCC auction in 2017 and is rapidly developing its national 5G network.

The midband spectrum it provides faster coverage and better latency than that found in the low band. However, it fails to penetrate buildings as well as low-band spectrum. Expect top speeds of up to 1Gbps in the mid-band spectrum.

The print has the majority of the unused midband spectrum in the US The operator is using Massive MIMO to improve the coverage area and penetration in the midband. Massive MIMO bundles multiple antennas into a single box, and in a single cell tower, they create multiple simultaneous beams to different users.

Sprint will also use Beamforming to improve 5G service in the mid-band. Beamforming sends a single focused signal to each and every user in the cell, and the systems using it monitor each user to make sure they have a consistent signal.

But actually, the high band spectrum is what most people think of when you call it 5G. It is often referred to as mmWave. High-band spectrum can deliver top speeds of up to 10 Gbps and has very low latency. The main drawback of the high band is that it has a low coverage area and the penetration of the building is poor.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are rolling out in the high band spectrum. 5G coverage for both carriers will be carried on the back of LTE, as they work to build networks nationwide. Since the high band spectrum drifts out of the penetration and user area to the high speed and coverage area, they will depend on small cells.

How fast can the 5G network go?

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency of the United Nations that develops standards for communication technologies and establishes the rules for the use of the radioelectric spectrum and the interoperability of telecommunications. In 2012, he created the IMT-2020 program to research and establish the minimum requirements for 5G. In 2017, he submitted a draft with 13 minimum requirements.

Once these requirements are established, the 3rd Generation Partnership Group (3GPP), a group of telecommunications organizations, designed the standards. In December 2017, it completed the non-autonomous specifications (NSA), and in June 2018 it continued with the independents (SA).

The NSA and SA standards share the same specificationsBut the former uses existing LTE networks, while the SA will need a next-generation core network. Operators started with the NSA, so it will turn to 4G LTE in a non-5G environment.

The standards established by 3GPP are tied to performance objectives:

  • Maximum data rate: 5G will offer significantly faster speeds. They can reach 20 Gbps downstream and 10 Gbps upstream per mobile base station. It is not the speed you would experience with 5G (unless you have a dedicated connection), but rather what the cell users will share.
  • Real world speeds: Actual speeds will not be equal to the maximum. The specification requires 100Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds.
  • Latency: the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another should be 4 milliseconds in ideal circumstances and 1 millisecond for URLLCs.
  • Efficiency: when in use, radio interfaces must be energy efficient and when not, fall into a low energy mode. They should switch between state in 10 milliseconds when no longer in use.
  • Spectral efficiency: is the bandwidth so that the maximum amount of data is transmitted with the least amount of transmission errors. 5G should have slightly improved efficiency over LTE, reaching a 30-bit / Hz downlink, and a 15-bit / Hz uplink.
  • Mobility: With 5G, base stations must withstand movements from 0 to 310 mph. While LTE networks are easy, this can be a challenge on newer millimeter wave networks.
  • Connection density: 5G should support a greater number of connected devices than LTE. The standard indicates that it should be 1 million per square kilometer. It is a high figure, which considers the number of devices that will drive the Internet of Things (IoT).

5G uses and benefits

Enhanced broadband

The transformation to 5G will undoubtedly change the way we interact with technology on a day-to-day basis, but it also has a serious purpose. It is an absolute necessity if we want to continue using mobile broadband.

Carriers are running out of LTE capacity in many major metropolitan areas. In some cities, users are already experiencing slowdowns during peak hours of the day. 5G adds huge amounts of spectrum in bands that have not been used for commercial broadband traffic.

Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are expected to grow at the same rate as 5G is deployed in the U.S. In the future, your vehicle will communicate with other cars on the road, provide information to other cars about road conditions, and provide information on performance to drivers and automakers. If a car brakes forward quickly, yours can learn right away and can also brake to prevent a collision.

Public safety and infrastructure

5G will allow cities and other municipalities to operate more efficiently. Utilities will be able to easily track usage remotely, sensors can notify public works departments when drains or street lights go out, and municipalities will be able to install surveillance cameras quickly and inexpensively.

Device remote control

As 5G has remarkably low latency, remote control of heavy machinery will become a reality. While the primary goal is to reduce risk in hazardous environments, it will also allow technicians with specialized skills to control machinery from anywhere in the world.

Health care

5G’s ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) component will fundamentally change healthcare. Since URLLC reduces 5G latency even more than you’ll see with improved mobile broadband, it opens up a world of new possibilities. Expect to see improvements in telemedicine, remote recovery, and physical therapy through AR, precision surgery, and even remote surgery in the years to come.

Remember the massive machine type communications? mMTC will also play a key role in healthcare. Hospitals can create massive sensor networks to monitor patients, doctors can prescribe smart pills to track compliance, and insurers can even monitor subscribers to determine appropriate treatments and processes.


One of the most exciting and crucial aspects of 5G is its effect on the Internet of Things. While we currently have sensors that can communicate with each other, they tend to be resource intensive and are rapidly depleting LTE data capacity.

With 5G speeds and low latencies, the IoT will be powered by communications between sensors and smart devices (here is the mMTC again). Compared to current smart devices on the market, mMTC devices will require fewer resources, since a large number of these devices can be connected to a single base station, making them much more efficient.

Where is 5G now?

So when can you expect service to arrive in your area? If you live in a relatively populated area, it is likely that at least one of the major carriers already offers it. T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have already launched their networks throughout the US.

It should also be noted that each operator has its own strategy. This means that your 5G experience could vary greatly, depending on the provider you choose. These are the details we currently have about each company’s plans.


Verizon offers a smaller 5G network than AT&T and T-Mobile, largely due to the fact that Verizon spent years building its mmWave network before starting to work on Sub-6 technology.

Verizon 5G coverage map


AT&T was looking to be the first to offer any kind of 5G in the US, but, like Verizon, it initially relied heavily on mmWave, so its newly launched nationwide network is slightly smaller than T-Mobile’s. Even so, it is enough to be considered “national”, and it will grow over time.

It is important to mention that AT&T is very interested in your thinking that you are always on a 5G network. If you don’t have a compatible phone, you might still see an icon saying you’re on the 5GE; however, that’s not 5G at all. It is simply AT & T’s new brand name for 4G.

AT&T 5G coverage map

T Mobile

T-Mobile took a more measured approach than the other companies, heavily leveraging the U-6 to roll out 5G. The result? That T-Mobile’s 5G network is currently the largest. Also, the company has been using its 4G towers for 5G, so the coverage is pretty much the same almost everywhere.

T-Mobile 5G coverage map

What 5G phones are available? Should you buy one?

Although 5G will undoubtedly change the way we interact and consume media, the change will not happen overnight. It will be a few years before 5G works smoothly in the United States. Because of that, we do not recommend basing the purchase of a phone on 5G. On the contrary, if you like a phone for other reasons and it supports 5G, it will be an added advantage.

You can find out which smartphones support this technology in our guide that brings together the 5G phones announced to date.

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