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5G & Cell Phone Signal Boosters: All You Need To Know!

May 14, 2018

5G & Cell Phone Signal Boosters: All You Need To Know!

Before we talk about 5G signal boosters, let us provide more details on 5G. Many companies have already announced that they are testing 5G, the next generation of Internet technology. With explosion of mobile data usage, it is therefore logical that smart phone users want to know what 5G is all about, and what difference it will make in their lives. As mobile data increased by a whopping 74% in 2015, the number of users that will be affected is huge. This guide will explain what 5G is, how it is different from previous technology platforms like 4G, and what it has to do with 4G & 5G cell phone boosters.

What is 5G?

Before we discuss 5G cell phone signal boosters, what exactly is 5G? 5th Generation is next advancement in cellular/ wireless technology. It will have 3 main elements where massive improvements will be seen regarding how we interact with mobile devices right now:

  1. It can provide data speeds of up to 100 times faster.
  2. Lower latency meaning it will be more responsive.
  3. It will be able to connect a lot of devices simultaneously, so we will be able to track and monitor large number of devices like we never could before.

Therefore, 5G means the following:

  • Transmits 10,000 times more traffic.
  • Handles 10 times to 100 times more devices simultaneously.
  • Less than 1 millisecond latency.
  • 10 years machine to machine (M2M) battery life.
  • More than 10 Gbps peak data rates.
  • Ultra-reliability.

How do 4G and 5G differ?

Although it is expected that 5G will be significantly better than 4G LTE services, there're no guarantees due to topography, coverage area limitations, and many other factors. The standards for each new generation of technology is set by a number of international governing bodies, such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The abbreviation, "G" in this case is used for the word "Generation" which tends to have major advancements when compared to previous standards.

A new generation of the technology is released about every 10 years, with 1G, the 1st generation, being released in 1982. From there, new generations were released as follows:

  • 2G in 1991 only enabled talking and texting.
  • 3G in 1998 enabled talking, texting, and Internet access.
  • 4G in 2007 enabled talking, texting, Internet access, video.
  • 5G from 2020-2024 will enable talking, texting, Internet access, UltraHD + 3D video, Smart Home.
  • 6G in 2030... pure speculation!

Majority of phones nowadays use 4G LTE. Although 4G LTE was an improvement from the normal 4G, the upgrade was not deemed big enough to call it 5G.

The reason why nobody really knows precisely how good 5G will be, is because the 3GPP and the ITU have not officially released the standard for 5G yet. They are planning to do so by 2020. It is however not uncommon that these governing bodies only release a standard retroactively, several years after the technology has been implemented in the real world.

Surprisingly, most devices marketed as 4G are, in fact, not in accordance with the 3GPP and ITU standards. There're only a few versions of 4G LTE that do meet the 4G standard.

In spite of this, most technology experts agree that 5G will utilize many new technologies that are not widely used yet. One example of this is Massive MIMO, which consists of multiple antennas on individual devices, or at a base station to increase speeds. 5G networks will also be able to manage more and smaller cells. Cells of different sizes might become available, but it will take some time before these different technologies can be connected in such a way that everything becomes seamless for users. A new infrastructure will also have to be put in place to support the new technologies.

How fast is 5G?

It is commonly believed that 5G will eventually be between 10 and 100 times faster than what 4G is. This will enable downloads of 10 gigabits per second. Nokia has revealed that they have tested 5G that is able to download 30 gigabits in a second. This is 1,000 times faster than 4G.

Another likely advantage of 5G is that it should have less latency than 4G. Theoretically, this will enable the download of a HD movie in mere seconds.

However, when a smart phone is used in the real world, 5G may not be that different from 4G LTE. Obstructions, including buildings, trees and the distance from cell towers will likely still reduce the speed of signals.

What can 5G do for you?

With 5G, it will be quicker and easier to download huge amounts of data. If 4G is compared to a normal sized passage where only one or maybe two people at a time can move through easily, 5G will be like a massive airport that allows many people to move around at the same time with relative ease.

New smartphones and modems/ routers will be available that allows mobile carriers to compete with broadband cable companies in providing Internet to the large majority of populations in major cities and even rural areas. This will however only happen once 5G is fully deployed large scale across entire countries such as USA & Canada. Other Internet of Things (iOT) devices would also be manufactured to operate on 5G including wearables like smartwatches, smart street lights, connected cars including self-driving cars. Eventually driverless cars would be able to detect where other cars are, and with intersection signal light network so they can communicate with each other.

Infrastructure for 5G will be completely different from what we're used to, as it requires antennas that are much closer together than current cell towers. There will likely be small antennas everywhere, whether we will be able to see them, or they are hidden. Local laws will dictate to what extent they will be hidden/ camouflaged.

5G will also require new phones as these will all have multiple antennas built in. It is however expected that 5G phones will need less power, resulting in longer times before charging is required.

When exactly will 5G become available?

A rough estimated date for mass deployment is the year 2020 with very few major cities worldwide having coverage in late 2019. Some cell phone carriers in USA do speculate they will deploy in major cities by end of 2018, whereas some say they will deploy in major cities in 2019, etc. However, smartphone manufacturers will need to manufacturer 5G phones in large quantities in time to be able to keep up with the demand so the most conservative estimate for large scale launch of 5G would be in the year 2020.

5G will probable at first be used in fixed "hotspots" and then spread from there. 4G will also probably still be prevalent mostly in remote rural areas and as backup elsewhere for 4G devices, even when 5G technology becomes widespread.

Will different Carriers implement 5G differently?

Although various carriers, including Verizon and AT&T are talking about implementing 5G, not enough details have been released to really be sure if it will actually be 5G, or merely an improvement of 4G LTE.

What AT&T calls its 5G Evolution is actually only an advanced form of 4G LTE and, although it is better than what they offered before, that improvement is not significant enough in our opinion to be called 5G.

Verizon states that it is testing Massive MIMO. Although this is not a guarantee in itself that their next offering will be full 5G, experts certainly believe that 5G will be using this technology.

Although various cellular phone carriers may offer 5G in the future, none of them seem to be close to a precise target at this stage, as of this day on May 14th, 2018.

Do any current smart phones support 5G?

As there is currently neither a standard for 5G, nor any working 5G network, there are no smartphones available yet that can handle 5G. It will be quite a while before manufacturers actually even really know what they need to make, although some might already be in the development stages.

As stated earlier, networks will probably only become fully available in 2020, and even then, buying a new cellphone only makes sense once the 5G infrastructure is available in your area.

Will signal boosters still be needed with arrival of the 5G?

Yes, 5G cell phone signal boosters will be needed because the 5G network will bypass home networks and enable point-to-point cellular communication. The arrival of the 5G network will likely lead to a rise in cellular-based streaming video in homes, thus increasing the demand for cell phone signal boosters.

In fact, an impending arrival of the 5G cellular network in approximately 2020 will probably make cell phone signal boosters a "must have" for all new homes because low-e glass, innovative building materials, and geography, will always interfere with wireless signals from mobile towers. It is anticipated that 5G frequencies will be more vulnerable to signal blockage, or attenuation, than today's 4G LTE frequencies. This means there will be more demand for signal boosting solutions.

The major difference between 4G LTE and 5G is that, with 5G, cell towers won't be required. Instead, many thousands of small antennas will be appropriately placed, instead of relying on just one tower. No longer will homes require a Wi-Fi network because 5G will provide exceptional coverage with much faster speeds.

Summary of what 5G will mean for cell phone signal boosters.

The 5G cellular network is coming, but what does it mean for cell phone signal boosters? It has the potential of making 5G signal boosters an imperative device for any smart home because geography, building materials, low-e glass will unfortunately continue to obstruct wireless signals from mobile tower antennae.

Will the 4G cell phone signal boosters being deployed today be obsolete when 5G rolls out?

In short, No. 5G cell phones will fallback to 4G coverage mode when no 5G signal is detected (just like 4G defaults to 3G when no 4G signal detected) for current 4G signal boosters to help out. This will happen quite extensively because: A) 5G coverage area is going to be limited to very few cities initially. B) 5G frequencies have much weaker penetration power than 4G frequencies so in-building coverage will mostly fall-back to 4G LTE. No doubt, 5G smart phones will surely benefit from 5G smartphone signal boosters to help them stay connected to 5G network to enjoy its many benefits including higher upload / download speed of 300 Mbps and peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps. The current 4G frequencies that the cell carriers operate today will continue to be used well into the future for their 4G LTE backup network.

Will 4G LTE boosters continue to work for 5G networks?

It is important to note that cellular carriers have spent billions of dollars in 4G LTE frequency spectrums that they currently use for talk, text and data. Therefore, all these 4G frequencies will continue to be used when 5G smart phones on 5G technology platform fall back to 4G network in no 5G coverage areas or in places where 5G signals get blocked such as inside homes, buildings, elevators, etc. Therefore, 4G LTE networks will continue to be used and operated into the foreseeable future as backup (just as 3G networks are still in use). For example, ten years ago when 4G was launched, we wondered the same thing about 3G signal boosters. We still sell 3G signal boosters as 3G networks are still operational and 3G smartphones are still being used across USA & Canada. Similarly, 4G networks, phones, and 4g signal boosters or Lte signal boosters will continue to be used extensively in the USA & Canada for many years to come.

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  • I would like to learn more about 5G cellular technology. I am currently a outside plant engineer for Verizon Virginia LLC. Please send me more information on the technology and it’s practical applications.

    Mark Northam on
  • Just curious with all the frequencies operating around us. With a much higher frequency, what does it do to those of us immerse in this environment in the future?

    Kiet on
  • I’ve often wondered what the different cellular levels could do and how the cell phone has evolved over the last 30 or so years. It’s amazing how they seem to come out about every 10 years and they really make some great strides in power. I forgot that 4G was way back in 2007 and suppose I just got used to what they can do because they’ve been around so long. Anyways, I’m waiting to see if 5G does everything it’s supposed to. There’s a reason people have cell phone signal boosters right now, 4G phones are supposed to have great call quality and fast data speed, but that doesn’t always happen. I hope 5G does everything it’s supposed to and people won’t be looking for 5G boosters.

    Brian Szymanski on
  • I was curious about 5G cell boosters so I clicked on this blog. It’s interesting to see what 5G is supposed to deliver. It reminds me of promises made about 3G and 4G. There were some big promises and the cell phone companies have improved their product. However, there are still times when 4G phones don’t seem any different than 3G phones except what I paid for them. From what I’ve surmised, a good cell phone needs a strong signal to operate at 100% efficiency. If it doesn’t have the right amount of power, it can’t give you the fast data speeds it promises or the voice quality also. That’s why I’m eager to look at getting a cell phone signal booster so whatever phone I have will work at 100% efficiency. As long as there’s a signal, the booster will increase it, making for a more effective phone. Right now, the booster seems like a much better idea than getting the latest and greatest (or so they claim) phone.

    Paul Edwards Jr. on
  • Wow. I’ve been waiting to get this news because I’ve been shopping for cell phone boosters for my home and cell phone boosters for my car, but wanted to see what the news is for 5G. It looks like I have a little while to go for 5G, but there’s no reason not to get a 4G cell phone booster as I want the strengthened data speeds and better call clarity that go with them.

    Albert K. Hoover on

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