Here is a bit of information from Wilson Electronics on 5G and how 5G effects signal booster systems.
Q: What is 5G and why is everyone talking about it? Will 5G really matter to me?
A: 5G stands for “5th Generation of cellular standards.” The eagerly anticipated arrival of the 5G network revolves around its performance enhancements over 4G LTE. With a data speed of 20 Gbps peak / 1 Gbps average, 5G will provide fiber-like speed over a cellular connection, lower latency for the real-time response necessary for AI and VR applications, and the connection density to meet the massive demand for the IoT.
Q: When is Wilson Electronics going to offer a 5G booster?
A: In order to introduce a true 5G booster to the market, two main objectives must be completed.
First and foremost, regulatory approval. As of today, consumer signal boosters are only allowed to operate on certain existing sets of frequency or bands. FCC approval is needed before our boosters can operate on the new FR1 and FR2 bands specified for 5G service. Fortunately, Wilson Electronics had anticipated this need back in 2016 and has led the industry by petitioning the FCC for new frequency bands. Today, we continue to work diligently with the FCC—as well as other industry stakeholders and network operators—to determine which new bands we can use, complete any necessary impact studies, and finalize specification details.
In addition to regulatory approvals, IP needs to be developed. We are currently working on this IP in parallel with the completing the regulatory process. Once the FCC approves a true 5G booster for use in the consumer market, we will be among the first to offer it.
Q: Do your cell signal boosters work with with 5G?
A: Our boosters support today’s carrier aggregation efforts, which others misleadingly refer to as 5G. Wilson Electronics calls this enhanced 4G LTE. Once FCC approvals are in place, Wilson Electronics will offer products that work with 5G.
Q: If 5G isn’t defined yet, why are some cell carriers coming out with 5G phones, and why are some companies claiming that they have a 5G booster?
A: In a competitive environment, it’s only natural for carriers to want to be first to market. Some will stretch the boundaries in order to make that claim.
An example of this is the “5Ge” icon being featured in AT&T’s marketing. The actual definition of 5Ge is “5G evolution”, meaning every enhancement in their network’s overall performance is considered an evolution towards 5G. Yet, it’s not true 5G as per industry specifications.
To improve performance on the existing 4G LTE network, several operators perform what is called “carrier aggregation.” This means combining up to three separate bands all at once in an effort to provide faster data rates.
Additionally, some are deploying higher capacity antenna arrays on base stations (referred to as massive MIMO) and going to higher orders of modulation (more bits per MHz). Many will claim these service improvements qualify as 5G, but they’re just enhancements to existing 4G LTE network.
Q: Why do competing cell signal boosters work with 5G, while yours don’t work with with 5G?
A: At this time, no consumer boosters work with 5G. Some of our competitors may claim to work with 5G, but they are actually still just boosting enhanced 4G LTE.
Q: If I buy your product today will it still work in the future?
A: Since mobile carriers are planning to use the existing 4G LTE networks to carry the majority of cell service to consumers well into 2030, our current boosters will continue to work for years to come. The 5G network is being built alongside today’s 4G LTE network and will rely on the 4G LTE network as part of its fail-over or redundancy plan. The first priority of 5G will be for its use as a replacement for fixed wire-line service.
Q: Do I have to replace all my old Wilson hardware?
A: Once 5G networks become the standard, then additional hardware will be required. That being said, the 4G LTE network will be in use by the majority of cell users (and will serve as the failover or redundancy plan for the 5G network) well into 2030. The new bands designated for use by 5G are not currently approved by the FCC. Once they are, Wilson Electronics will offer a 5G signal booster solution. In the meantime, if your voice and data connectivity is weak on the existing 4G LTE network, our products will continue to provide you with better connectivity for the next several years.
Q: Will 4G LTE Go Away Once There is 5G?
A: No, LTE will still work once 5G is rolled out. The new 5G networks will be built alongside the 4G LTE network and function along with it. 4G LTE networks will be an important existing layer and survive well into 2030.
“New 5G service will require the 4G LTE network to act as the fallback network when a user is not covered by the new 5G service. This is an essential layer as 5G networks begin to densify in the coming years.” says Chief Product Officer at Wilson Electronics, Jeff Gudewicz.
Q: Will I Need a Cell Signal Booster when 5G Comes?
A: Actually, you might need a signal booster even more so when 5G is launched. The higher-frequency radio waves that are proposed to carry 5G mobile communications don’t pass through obstacles as easily as the frequencies now carrying 4G LTE service. At those higher frequencies the shorter wavelength radio waves are blocked a lot more easily by things like the walls of your house or the leaves on trees in your front yard.
The 5G frequencies also have a much shorter range than we’re used to with 4G frequencies. Some research indicates 5G waves may have a viable range of well under a mile. By contrast, 4G LTE waves commonly reach several miles, and under certain atmospheric conditions can stretch as far as 30 miles.
Hence why a signal booster would be able to overcome these challenges and bring you the strong, reliable cell coverage that you expect inside your home or vehicle.