Billed as the largest 5G trial of its kind, Verizon Communications Inc. is set to launch its new, next-generation wireless residential broadband service in as many as five U.S. markets this year.
As the first application of fifth-generation–or 5G—wireless, these services will use radio signals, rather than copper or fiber cables, to provide customers with unprecedented wireless speeds for Internet access. As 5G continues to evolve, customers will benefit from a greater capability to a wide array of services—including broadband, mobile and the internet of things (IoT)—and the necessary bandwidth and low latency for 3D and virtual reality applications. Verizon’s first commercial launch is planned for Sacramento, Calif., in the second half of 2018, with additional markets to be announced.
The term 5G simply stands for "fifth generation" and refers to the next and newest mobile wireless standard based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard of broadband technology. In December 2017, members of the 3GPP, the organization that governs cellular standards, ratified the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) specification for what will form the basis of commercial 5G products. This important step enables vendors to start building equipment based on the specification.
According to Chris McCann, Verizon's director of Corporate Communications, Basking Ridge, N.J., 5G is quite different and includes many different forms, so it’s not possible to compare and contrast it to 4G LTE service.
“It uses fixed millimeter wave band spectrum between 30 GHz and 300 GHz and yields high bandwidth and low latency that will spawn a whole new generation of devices with its high level of speed,” he said. “With the loT and more devices being connected with all different types of configurations, it will be a much more capable solution longer term.”
He added that 5G will be deployed with extremely small cellular antennas and a much abbreviated communications footprint.
Verizon successfully conducted trials of the service in 11 markets during 2017.
“The 5G service will be the ‘last mile’ solution to achieve a very high speed. It is deployed with a small antenna outside the home to service residential and small business and multiple gigabit-per-second speeds, and millisecond latency will deliver a major change in the way we connect to people, businesses and things,” McCann said.
The best application for 5G is line of sight, but it can also be deployed with virtual, partial and no line of sight.
According to Verizon, 5G wireless services will provide customers with a wider highway of high wireless speeds for internet access. As 5G continues to evolve, customers will be able to take advantage of a varied suite of services—including broadband, mobile and the IoT—and the necessary bandwidth and low latency for 3D and virtual reality applications, McCann said, who added that autonomous vehicle applications will also benefit from the low latency.
The launch marks the beginning of an unprecedented chapter in wireless connectivity, one that will open the door for countless new and revolutionary applications and ignite the IoT era, he added.
“The 5G technology currently being developed is the foundation of a future filled with innovations like connected, autonomous cars, remote robotic applications and even developments we can’t even imagine yet,” McCann said.