Home Tech What is 5G Home Internet? Here’s everything you need to know

What is 5G Home Internet? Here’s everything you need to know

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 What is 5G Home Internet? Here's everything you need to know

Are you tired of slow, expensive or unreliable Internet service? You probably are. Internet service providers (ISPs) ranked second to last in a customer satisfaction study by industry in the United States last year. For most people, Internet service comes to the home via cable and options are limited. But with mobile operators rolling out fast, low-latency 5G networks, that’s changing.

For some people, 5G home internet could be a viable alternative to traditional broadband. Carriers are starting to offer 5G home internet packages as they look to recoup costs from upgraded networks, and that could finally mean real competition for ISPs. If you’re wondering what 5G home internet is, how it compares to broadband, and whether it could be for you, we have all the answers you’re looking for.

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What does 5G mean?

5G is a global wireless standard and represents the fifth generation. Mobile operators have been deploying fifth generation cellular networks in recent years. Compared to the previous generation (4G), 5G opens up unused radio frequencies at the higher end of the spectrum. You can read our guide to 5G to learn more, but in simple terms, 5G is faster, has lower latency, and can handle more connected devices.

What is 5G Home Internet?

5G home internet is an alternative to traditional broadband. Instead of running a cable into your home to connect to the Internet, you can connect to the 5G cellular network wirelessly with a fixed receiver inside or outside your home. You’ll use a SIM card and have a service contract, just like you do with your phone. You’ll still need a modem and router to convert the incoming signal to Wi-Fi and distribute it throughout your home.

What about 4G home Internet?

Some operators already offer 4G LTE home Internet and others offer a combination of 4G and 5G. Both work the same way and require a receiver, but 5G allows for faster speeds and lower latency. Theoretical speeds go beyond 10 Gbps with 1 millisecond latency, but real-world throughput of around 1 Gbps is more common. One gigabit is enough for 5G to compete with broadband. 4G LTE typically maxes out at 100 Mbps, but is typically slower in the real world.

Is 5G Home Internet Better Than Broadband?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that it depends. If you have fiber optic cable in your home, you can enjoy super-fast wired Internet, but if you rely on copper cable, your Internet speed will be limited. The proximity of an exchange and internet demand in your area will also affect the speeds you get. Some people lack a wired connection, but remote areas generally don’t have great 5G coverage. If you have solid 5G coverage in your area but internet service is poor or expensive, 5G home internet might be a better option.

What are the advantages of 5G home Internet?

5G home internet has some advantages over cable broadband, but there are three important ones:

  • Since no physical cable is necessary, installing 5G home internet tends to be much easier and you can probably set it up yourself without a visit from an engineer.
  • If you have good 5G coverage in your area, you can probably enjoy fast speeds – certainly much faster than what old copper cables can provide.
  • 5G home internet service can be cheaper than cable internet. Some carriers offer discounts and incentives to add 5G home internet service to your existing mobile plan.

What are the disadvantages?

There are pros and cons to everything. Here are some of the potential downsides to 5G home internet:

  • Coverage is limited and is probably better in cities. If you don’t have good 5G coverage in your area, 5G home internet is not for you.
  • You’ll need a receiver with a good line of sight to a 5G site or cell tower for best results. This may mean connecting an antenna to the outside of your home because 5G signals are not very good at passing through walls and can be prone to interference.
  • As 5G adoption grows and networks expand, your 5G home Internet service may be affected. When 5G networks become busier, your home Internet may slow down or experience interruptions.

Can I get 5G home internet?

It depends on where you live and what the 5G coverage is like in your area. This nPerf coverage map allows you to select by carrier to view coverage and download speeds. You can also check with your preferred carrier (most have coverage maps on their websites), but most only offer 5G home internet service in specific areas (big cities for now).

Who offers 5G home internet?

There are several options for people looking to get 5G home internet service, but be sure to read the fine print. Most carriers offer a combination of 4G LTE and 5G. You’re likely to get the best deals from carriers you sign up for multiple services with, so if you already have cell service, your carrier will likely offer you a discount on home Internet. Here’s an alphabetical list of US options to get you started, but new services are constantly being launched:

  1. AT&T Internet Air
  2. Crashed home internet
  3. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
  4. US Cellular Home Internet
  5. Verizon 5G Home Internet

If you’re in the UK, these are your options:

  1. EE 4G and 5G mobile broadband
  2. 5G National Broadband
  3. Three 4G and 5G home broadband
  4. Vodafone 5G and 4G Broadband

Is 5G Home Internet Expensive?

5G home Internet prices are not much different from cable Internet service. It may even be cheaper for some people. 5G home internet plans start as low as $15 per month (Starry), but most cost between $30 and $80 per month, depending on the speed and service you want. Many carriers offer discounts for existing customers and other incentives. Due to their interest in attracting new customers, many 5G home Internet services offer unlimited data, without fixed contracts and without equipment charges. Just make sure you understand all the conditions before you sign up.

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