There’s been a whole lot of hubbub about the iPhone 12 and other new smartphone offerings from the big manufacturers, but there’s no other factor that’s playing into all the hype quite like 5G network connectivity. If you’re the type to be reading this then you’re also probably one who’s had plenty of news and info thrust upon you regarding the coming of 5G, and in truth there is a lot to be enthused about.
You can look at that from the individual perspective, but if you ask us the real promise here is in the collective benefit and what this means for the IoT and things like advanced remote healthcare and the like. It’s going to be fairly revolutionary and that’s likely not an exaggeration. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any other Canadian web hosting provider in that we know it’s likely going to have big time ramifications for how we do things in the long term too, and as you’ve likely seen it’s a topic we seemingly can’t get enough of.
There’s been a lot made of how 5G infrastructure is going to go in Canada, and how the widespread consensus is that Huawei can’t be allowed to be a part of that. But let’s leave any all references to national security out of this and instead focus on what’s the current status of 5G in Canada.
For starters, there’s no ‘ultra wideband’ in Canada. What’s happened here is carriers in Canada have installed 5G on channels that previously were intended for 4G. Rogers channels are very similar to T-Mobile’s ‘nationwide’ and mid-band 5G down south, but as of now Bell and Telus are using a 5G channel very similar to a popular 4G band.
The long and short of it is that Bell, Telus, and Rogers all view 5G as an add-on to 4G now, so that means even if you’re using a 5G enabled smartphone you’re probably still going to be connected with 4G. The good news response to that is that the 5G experience should get broader and somewhat better over the next year as the carriers extend coverage beyond their current limited areas.
Think more like 2022 – in mid-2021 the government make available a batch of fresh, clear airwaves around 3.5GHz for 5G via auction.
Independent research into current 5G network speeds in Canada is that the signal is strong, both 4G and 5G speeds are great, and 5G speeds are in fact higher than 4G in the way consumers would expect them to be. Some insist though that there’s not a whole lot of difference in responsiveness, at least not yet. This is likely due to the fact that the phone was working on a combination of 4G and 5G, and as such it’s still not enjoying the full spectrum of 5G’s lower latency.
The same findings indicated there’s not a marked difference in upload speeds either, but again this may also be a case of not yet.
Depending on where you are in the country, the next part of this discussion of 5G in Canada may or may not be of relevance. If you’re in a major urban area, however, you will likely already have panels broadcasting 5G network to the surrounding neighbourhood.
Again, the surveys seem to indicate that these don’t make a noticeable difference with downloads speeds when comparing operation on the 4G network as compared to the available 5G. And while we don’t have any interest in favouring one network provider over the other, according to the sources Rogers did show noticeably faster upload speeds on 5G than 4G.
Consistency will of course be the key to acknowledging the superiority of 5G network connectivity, and that’s still something that’s being figured out. As of now, it seems that the only way you can get that type of network speed consistency on any 5G network in Canada is if you’re using around 10MHz less spectrum.
Unlimited Plan? 5G a Must
We know that Canadian carriers have only recently enabled their most popular plans beyond a few gigabytes per person. As customers sign up for bigger plans, the carriers need more capacity. Tests showed that Canadian carriers are holding their own on speed, even as subscribers to the new unlimited plans use up to 2x the data as their subscribers did before. The added efficiency of 5G could be a key component of how the carriers will handle the added traffic.
This is the reasoning behind why any carrier is going to prefer you buy a 5G phone as soon as possible. When ever greater numbers of people are consuming ever larger amounts of data, if that’s going to be done on a 5G network it’s best to do it on the clearest, most efficient channels if performance and speed are to be maintained.
It’s quite possible that existing 5G channels are yet to be used enough, and that’s more of a factor in any ‘underwhelming’ perspective on 5G at this time.
If that’s actually the case, can we expect to see better speed and responsiveness from 5G in Canada once more and more of us have 5G phones. There’s plenty of reason to hope that’s not it, because that will inevitably lead to all sorts of questions about the propriety of what’s being orchestrated by major network providers and tech giants.