SOUND OFF: How fast is your 5G?

5G is fast. We know it. It’s probably faster than your home internet. And now that there are enough people with enough devices out there, we can really judge how fast it can be.

For a couple of years, 5G was nothing more than a promise. At first you found it in a few neighborhoods in a few cities. But flash forward a year (because, well, you know… who wants to think about 2020) and all of a sudden 5G is everywhere. Even better, 5G phones are everywhere. Apple’s iPhone 12 and Samsungs S21 are extremely competent 5G phones that you can usually get at a decent promotional price. [Shameless plug: Solid Signal is an AT&T dealer, call us at 888-233-7563.]

So it’s time to ask you, oh Solid Signal Blog faithful, how fast is your 5G service?

The theory

Under the right circumstances, you’re supposed to be able to get speeds up to 20Gbps. That’s 20,000Mbps. It’s enough to download an HD movie in seconds, and let’s be honest, it’s faster than you really need right now. But 5G isn’t about today. It’s about the promise of the future, when we live even more of our lives online, anywhere we want to.

5G doesn’t just bring incredible speeds, but it also brings super-low latency, which is more important. Latency is the amount of time between you asking for something (in other words tapping or clicking) and getting the result you want. It’s what makes a web page feel faster or slower. It’s also the really important part of 5G. If you’re going to use real-time data to help cars move along the freeway, you’ll need that data to be as close to instant as possible.

The reality

The reality of it? That’s up to you to report. How fast is your 5G connection? It’s going to depend on how you connect. In most areas of the country you’ll use mid-band or low-band 5G. This is a 5G connection on the frequencies that have always been used for cellular. It’s the easiest form of 5G to put up and it’s what you’ll find outside of most cities. It’s also slower, but I guess that doesn’t matter when even the slowest connection is blazing fast.

The really fast connections can be found in downtowns and in stadiums, where millimeter-wave 5G rules. This is the wide-open 5G band that enables super speeds, but it’s also limited by distance. With regular cell signals, you can be a mile or more from the cell tower. With millimeter-wave 5G, you start losing signal after about 100 feet or so.

Tell us your story

Do it with a speed test app or any way you’d like. Leave a comment which shows us how fast your 5G signal is. We’ll be holding a drawing at the end of September, 2021 and one commenter from our social channels will win!


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.