Internet, Networking, & Security > 5G Verizon 5G: Looking Forward The addition of C-band to its 5G line is helping Verizon prepare for the future By Tim Fisher Tim Fisher Facebook Twitter Senior Vice President & Group General Manager, Tech & Sustainability Emporia State University Tim Fisher has more than 30 years' of professional technology experience. He's been writing about tech for more than two decades and serves as the VP and General Manager of Lifewire. lifewire's editorial guidelines Published on January 21, 2022 Tweet Share Email Facts are facts: More and more mobile devices are flooding the world and they’re all looking for internet access. It’s not just mobile phones, either; sensors, trackers, and other “invisible” mobile devices are looking for connections, too. Step back and think about it all and it’s easy to understand that not only are more wireless connections needed, but more bandwidth is necessary, too, to handle all the internet traffic the world is pushing for. 5G is the newest generation of mobile technology. It currently comes in various flavors, from low-band 5G that offers wide coverage but performance comparable to 4G LTE, to high-band, mmWave-based 5G that offers outstanding performance but is available on a much more limited basis. Mid-band 5G sits in the middle, offering a blend of broad coverage and strong performance. It’s with mid-band that Verizon is taking its 5G Ultra Wideband network a step further. The company recently announced it’s using C-band, which is in that mid-band spectrum, to expand its high-performance 5G Ultra Wideband to reach more than 100 million U.S. consumers by early 2022. From simple file downloads and movie streams, to video calls and gaming, Verizon plans to improve everything you do online with this network expansion. Ultra Play and Faster Work Society relies heavily on the ability to stream data in as close to real time as possible. Users making video calls expect to hold clear conversations with few skips and drops in the video or audio. Gamers want to play mobile video games that look and feel as if they are at home with their game console. Movie fans want to download films in minutes, not hours. The list goes on. By adding C-band to its 5G Ultra Wideband network, Verizon says that it can not only provide customers with all those things but even provide high-performing wireless home and work internet connections as well. Since, with C-band, 5G Ultra Wideband can offer download speeds up to 10 times faster than Verizon 4G LTE, it appears the company is on to something. There are two ways to interpret the concept of ‘10 times faster’: You can download 10 times the data in the same amount of time you currently download something, or get the same amount of data you currently use in 1/10 the time. Either way, it’s fast! This is clearly an advantage for video streaming, gaming, file sharing, mobile work, and more. It allows people and businesses to experience low latency and super fast speeds when downloading huge files, which can change how businesses operate and how people experience entertainment on the go. Westend61/Getty More Secure Mobile Hotspots Free-to-use Wi-Fi hotspots are almost everywhere. You can finally go just about anywhere and grab some Wi-Fi with little effort. They’re especially common in hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, campuses, airports, and anywhere else you might spend more than a few minutes and need to get something done. If you’ve ever used one, however, you know that they’re not the most reliable source for high-speed internet, especially when there are dozens of other users and devices vying for bandwidth. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband is clearly a better choice for increased speeds, but there’s another little-known benefit of mobile connectivity generally: improved security. While not all free Wi-Fi hotspots are completely insecure, many are or have implemented various levels of security, making it hard to tell what is and isn’t safe to do when connected to one of these networks. You might have heard good advice before about avoiding interacting with websites where you might enter sensitive information, like your bank account, when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi networks. Mobile networks, like Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, on the other hand, are designed to be more secure than public Wi-Fi networks. An encrypted (much safer) network will always be a smarter choice for a hotspot than a public Wi-Fi network. Immersive, Interactive Entertainment Experiences Because C-band offers greater 5G reach at fast speeds, you can expect immersive and interactive experiences like untethered AR and VR from your phone, and mobile gaming that would previously work reliably only on a fast home broadband network. Think about it: What if you could enjoy multi-camera viewing, unprecedented vantage points, and AR overlays for stats and plays while watching your favorite football team? Or enjoy an up-close experience like a live concert or sports event even though you’re sitting in nose-bleed seats? 5G Ultra Wideband promises experiences like this through apps that can take advantage of Verizon’s speedy network. These kinds of immersive, close-up experiences, says Verizon, also have the ability to change entire industries such as the movie industry. Film editors will be able to download massive files in minutes, for example, and special effects artists could use edge cloud computing to volumetrically capture actors and render the data in real-time. Directors and producers could even shoot entire movies remotely using HD streaming or use tetherless 5G cameras to make previously impossible shots possible so fans can experience movies from new viewpoints. These kinds of experiences are now finally becoming possible thanks to the latency and bandwidth improvements in 5G. Verizon’s use of the C-band for their 5G Ultra Wideband should help us experience these cool new technologies even faster. Future-proof Innovation Things like smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, and laptops are all pretty standard items these days; we all know those need connectivity wherever we go in order to use them as designed. But there are many more things the future will require, like smart city sensors that can track traffic congestion or alert authorities to dangerous situations that, say, require the use of machines instead of humans to locate and rescue victims. Safety Solutions For those types of futuristic dilemmas, Verizon has built several 5G Labs. These labs are places where the company works with a variety of partners to solve the needs, for example, of first responders and the public safety industry, and to discover solutions that can one day leverage the speed and capacity of 5G to achieve things like real time video capturing, remotely operated robots for disaster response aid, telemedicine, up-to-the-minute monitoring of water treatment facilities, or AR-controlled robotic navigation in low-visibility scenarios. Easing of Traffic Congestion While there are already apps like Waze that rely on crowd-sourced data to help drivers avoid congestion and traffic accidents, Verizon is betting that its 5G Ultra Wideband can take things a step farther with near real time communication to relay traffic information to drivers for safer roads. Blue Planet Studio/Getty Strong Connections in Crowds The massive connection capacity C-band can offer has long been one of the promises people expect to be kept when 5G is mentioned. While most people think of concert or stadium crowds and the use of thousands of cell phones at once, the addition of C-band to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband offering can also help large organizations, too, by connecting thousands of robots or sensors in a factory or warehouse all at the same time and transforming operations into leaner, faster processes. Smaller Products One of the more interesting possibilities of 5G is the idea that it will help all kinds of companies build devices that are smaller than ever. Since high-speed 5G internet can deliver data in near real time it will allow off-device processing. That means game consoles, smart glasses, watches, IoT sensors, and all kinds of other devices could be built smaller than ever. Don’t like that big smartwatch on sale today? A few years from now we may see a smartwatch as small as a traditional, delicate Timex. Improved Communications for Hospitals, Farms, and Factories KDP/Getty Other areas that could benefit from 5G Ultra Wideband include: Hospitals: Fast connectivity raises the potential for patients to communicate with their doctor miles away over smooth video calls, allow critical patient information and diagnostic results to move efficiently between hospitals, and surgeons to operate on patients remotely via hyper-precise robotics, where moment-by-moment feedback is crucial.Farms: Constant monitoring of moisture and feed levels could help keep crops and cattle healthy, and save farmers time and money.Factories: Covering factories with sensors connected to 5G Ultra Wideband could enable continuous communication between machinery during all stages of production, resulting in everything from higher quality products, fewer failures, and safer working environments. Speed, precision, and safety are just a few ways 5G Ultra Wideband can help customers excel; it can also shape how products work from the very early stages of development. We’re already seeing this with the evolution of gaming from bulky consoles to ultra-high bandwidth VR headsets and cloud-based gameplay with minimal hardware. But there’s also room for smart glasses, watches, IoT sensors, and more to be created smaller and with greater efficiency since Verizon’s high-speed 5G internet can deliver data in near real time, allowing for off-device processing and the potential for longer battery life. The more we use the internet on the go, the more we all need a better way to access it. Verizon’s bet on the C-band is a smart way to help us get to that point.