Understand what the C-band of 5G is, criticized by airlines in the US

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The next generation of technology internet wireless is now even faster for users of 5G in some parts of the country.

Telecom companies have rolled out 5G networks to various locations in the U.S in recent years, providing an experience that is still just a notch above what 4G offers.

But on Wednesday, Verizon and AT&T activated their C-band 5G networks — an important set of radio frequencies that will power the internet as we know it.

“The impact will be that users will likely consume more data, the connection will be more robust, and we will likely see new types of applications emerge,” said Dimitris Mavrakis, senior director at market research firm ABI Research.

“5G is also positioned for enterprise services, so this update could further drive both operators’ plans to address this domain.”

If the term C-band sounds familiar, it’s likely because of a weeks-long feud between wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon, the Federal Aviation Agency and some Airlines.

AT&T and Verizon announced this week that the companies would once again delay the rollout of C-band 5G in select towers at various airports across the country.

The decision came as airlines warned of dire consequences for transportation and the general economy amid concerns that the newly activated C-band technology could interfere with the radar altimeters that pilots use to land in low-visibility conditions.

Airlines estimate that 1,000 flight disruptions would occur each day after launch.

Telecoms industry lobby group CTIA previously said the fears are unfounded as there have been no problems in 40 countries including the UK, Australia and China, where 5G is already deployed.

Even so, the last-minute delay is the latest hurdle in the launch of the much-hyped technology. There have been flashy local launches with disappointed users, battles in cities over where the equipment can be installed, and conspiracies over potential health related issues.

Despite the most recent problem at airports, AT&T – which owns the parent company of CNN — and Verizon are moving forward with the release of the C-band in several cities. Here’s what you should know.

What is the C band?

C-band refers to radio waves operating on a mid-band spectrum frequency, between 3.7 and 4 GHz. It is considered the “global” frequency for 5G worldwide – most operators have deployed 5G on this frequency range as it offers more bandwidth, which equates to greater system capacity at higher data speeds.

Think of it this way: if 3G is a two-lane highway and 4G is six lanes, 5G has 12 lanes. It will handle this increase in traffic and bandwidth without delay, hypothetically allowing autonomous vehicles to process all the information they need to make life-or-death decisions in the blink of an eye, or for the healthcare industry to create the next generation of telemedicine and robotic surgery.

In 2019, a surgeon at China performed a liver transplant on an animal from a location 48 kilometers away by controlling a robotic arm running on 5G. The same procedure on a 4G network would increase the chance of errors.

Previous AT&T and Verizon 5G networks operated in the low-band spectrum, which tends to offer good coverage but speeds that aren’t much more impressive than 4G. Initial deployments were based on earlier versions of 5G standards that used 4G in conjunction with 5G.

AT&T and Verizon customers using a 5G-capable phone in areas with these new radio waves will, for example, be able to stream a Netflix movie in 4K resolution or download a movie in seconds.

Because 5G has zero latency, a term that refers to the time it takes for the signal to go back and forth from a device to the network, people accessing networks can also play data-intensive and graphics-intensive games without any hiccups, and wait 30 minutes. minutes to download the latest version of a phone’s operating system will be a thing of the past.

When the Federal Communications Commission put C-band spectrum up for auction, AT&T and Verizon were among the operators that spent $81 billion to take advantage of the speed improvements.

T-Mobile, which also operates in the mid-band spectrum, has also purchased C-band spectrum to use starting next year.

Verizon said its C-band speeds reach nearly 1 gigabyte per second, about 10 times faster than 4G LTE.

Who can access the new networks?

In a post on Wednesday, AT&T said it is introducing C-band 5G — which it is calling the 5G+ network — in eight metropolitan areas across the United States starting Wednesday, with plans to expand into more cities along the way. throughout the year.

The company said the network will work with 17 C-band phones, including the iPhone 12 and 13 lines, Samsung Galaxy S21 5G models, and Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

After downloading the latest software update on these phones, anyone in the 5G+ market will see a “5G+” on the top of the device when the network is available. AT&T subscribers with a 5G plan will be able to use the network.

Meanwhile, Verizon said in a separate post the same day that its new 5G Ultra Wideband network will be available to an additional 100 million people this month in more than 1,700 US cities, including Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and New York. and for more than 20 million families.

The carrier will also support phones such as 5G-capable iPhones, Samsung Galaxy models and Google Pixels. It also announced a number of plans, including an unlimited 5G mobile and residential internet plan, which will be required to access the new network.

A “5G UW” indicator will appear in the upper right corner of the device when a 5G phone on one of the plans is detected on the network.

the tips

While the availability of C-band 5G will appeal to anyone who currently owns a 5G-capable smartphone, the launch will not affect the average consumer at first. However, it will start a wider rollout that could further boost the 5G industry.

Still, security concerns with airlines and the FAA will need to be addressed. The government Biden said on Tuesday (18) that it is actively talking with the FAA, the Federal Communications Commission, mobile operators, airlines and aircraft equipment manufacturers to find a solution that still allows launch without sacrificing flight safety. .

“The reason operators wanted to launch these airwaves is because they give them a huge amount of new capacity for cellular traffic,” said Bill Menezes, director of market research firm Gartner.

And there’s a decent incentive for consumers too. “The hope is that full blast 5G, as these new radio waves will help deliver, will be light years faster than the Wi-Fi you usually get at airports,” Menezes said.

“So waiting for a flight or flight delays can be less painful if you can more easily stream interactive games or full-quality 4K videos.”

This content was originally created in English.

original version

Reference: CNN Brasil

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