5G technology carries information wirelessly across the electromagnetic spectrum, specifically the radio spectrum. In the radio spectrum there are various levels of frequency bands, some of which are used for 5G data.
With 5G still in the early implementation stages and not yet available in every country, you may hear about the 5G bandwidth spectrum, the 5G spectrum auction, mmW 5G, etc.
Don’t worry if it gets confusing. What you need to know about the 5G frequency band is that different companies use different parts of the spectrum to transmit 5G data. Using one part of the spectrum over another has an impact on connection speed and the distance it can cover. The following is a more complete explanation of the 5G Spectrum and Frequency that you can learn.
Determining the 5G Spectrum
Radio wave frequencies range from 3 kilohertz (kHz) to 300 gigahertz (GHz). Each part of the spectrum has a range of frequencies, called bands, which go by a specific name.
Some examples of radio spectrum bands include very low or very low frequencies extremely low frequency (ELF), ultra low frequency or ultra low frequency (ULF), low frequency or low frequency (LF), intermediate frequency or medium frequency (MF), ultra high frequency or ultra high frequency (UHF), and very high frequency or extremely high frequency (EHF).
One part of the radio spectrum has a high frequency range between 30 GHz and 300 GHz (part of the EHF band), and is often called the millimeter band (because the wavelength range is 1-10 mm). Therefore, the wavelengths in and around this band are called millimeter waves (mmW). mmWaves are a popular choice for 5G but also have applications in areas such as radio astronomy, telecommunications, and radar weapons.
Another part of the radio spectrum used for 5G, is UHF, which is lower on the spectrum than EHF. The UHF band has a frequency range of 300 MHz to 3 GHz, and is used for everything from TV broadcasting and GPS to Wi-Fi, cordless phones and Bluetooth.
Frequencies from 1 GHz and above are also called microwaves, and frequencies from 1-6 GHz are often referred to as part of the “sub-6 GHz” spectrum.
Frequency Determines 5G Speed & Power
All radio waves travel at the speed of light, but not all waves react with the environment in the same way or behave in the same way as other waves. It is the wavelength of the specific frequency used by the 5G tower which directly impacts its transmission speed and distance.
- Faster speed
- Closer distance
- Slower speed
- More distance
Wavelength is inversely proportional to frequency (that is, higher frequencies have shorter wavelengths). For example, 30 Hz (low frequency) has a wavelength of 10,000 km (over 6,000 miles) while 300 GHz (high frequency) is only 1 mm.
When the wavelength is very short (such as the frequency at the higher end of the spectrum), the waveform is so small that it can easily be distorted. This is why very high frequencies cannot travel as far as lower ones.
Speed is another factor. Bandwidth is measured by the difference between the highest and lowest signal frequencies. As you move up the radio spectrum to reach a higher band, the frequency range is higher, and hence throughput increases (i.e., you get faster download or download speeds).
Why is the 5G Spectrum Important?
Since the frequencies used by 5G cells determine speed and distance, it is important for service providers (such as Verizon or AT&T and future 5G service providers) to use the portion of the spectrum that covers frequencies that benefit the work at hand.
For example, millimeter waves, which are in the high-band spectrum, have the advantage of being able to carry a lot of data. However, radio waves in the higher band are also absorbed more easily by gases in the air, trees and nearby buildings. mmWaves are therefore useful in congested networks, but not so helpful for carrying data over long distances (due to attenuation).
For this reason, there is really no black and white “5G spectrum” – different parts of the spectrum can be used. 5G providers want to maximize distance, minimize problems, and get as much throughput as possible. One way to get around the limitations of millimeter waves is to diversify and use a lower band.
The 600 MHz frequency, for example, has a lower bandwidth, but because it’s not affected as easily by things like humidity in the air, it doesn’t lose power quickly and is able to reach 5G phones and other 5G devices farther, as well as penetrate deeper walls. good to provide indoor reception.
In comparison, low frequency transmissions (LF) in the 30 kHz to 300 kHz range are good for long-distance communications because they suffer from low attenuation, and therefore don’t need to be amplified as often as higher frequencies. They are used for things like AM radio broadcasts.
Service providers may use higher 5G frequencies in areas that require more data, such as in large cities where there are multiple devices in use. However, low band frequencies are useful for providing 5G access to more devices from a single tower and to areas that do not have a direct line of sight to a 5G cell.
Here are some of the other 5G frequency ranges (called multi-layer spectrum):
- C-band: 2-6 GHz for range and capacity.
- Super Data Layer: More than 6 GHz (eg, 24–29 GHz and 37–43 GHz) for high bandwidth areas.
- Coverage Area: Below 2 GHz (such as 700 MHz) for deep and wider coverage areas.
Carrier use of 5G Spectrum
Not all service providers use the same frequency band for 5G. As we mentioned above, there are advantages and disadvantages to using any part of the 5G spectrum. As an example of the spectrum used by 5G network providers who have started to apply it:
- T-Mobile: T-Mobile plans to use the low band spectrum (600 MHz) as well as the medium band spectrum.
- Verizon: Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network uses millimeter waves, specifically 28 GHz and 39 GHz.
- AT&T: AT&T’s deployment strategy is to use millimeter wave spectrum for dense areas and mid and low spectrum for rural and suburban locations.
- Sprint: Sprint claims to have more spectrum than any other operator in the US, with three spectrum bands: 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz.
And that’s a complete explanation of the 5G spectrum and frequency, hopefully this article is useful and adds to your knowledge of the 5G mobile internet network. Enjoy 🙂