Verizon increases mobile network speeds across Auburn area

JOHN WEST

Verizon users in the Auburn area recently had their cell speed boosted.

It’s part of a nationwide rollout that Verizon began earlier this year as the carrier continues to ramp up its 5G network speeds to what it calls 5G Ultra Wideband, or 5G UW for short. According to Verizon, these new speeds will allow downloads averaging 300 million megabits per second, up to one concert per second.

It’s an increase that comes close to what’s typically available at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Verizon first began rolling out its 5G network in 2018. At the time, the cell phone provider was specifically targeting major metropolitan areas as well as stadiums across the country. Essentially, 5G was being used in small areas with high concentrations of people.

The version of 5G that was launched in the stadiums at the time was called millimeter wave or mmwave for short. Mmwave allows large amounts of data to move over smaller areas. Although mm waves can be thrown out in bad weather or by trees and hills, it works well at short distances. According to Verizon, it allows speeds of one gigabit per second up to four gigabits per second.

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At the other end of the spectrum are Verizon’s 4G LTE networks. These networks, while slower, allow data to move over much greater distances than mm waves.

The 5G UW now available in Auburn, however, finds its home in the middle ground between 5G mmwave and 4G LTE. The new 5G UW is called C-band and offers higher speed than 4G LTE and greater distance than 5G mmwave.

“What we call the Ultra Wideband launch actually happened earlier this year in the spring,” said Andy Choi, Verizon’s communications manager. “This was for us the start of the second wave of the 5G era. This was the expansion of Verizon’s Ultra Wideband.

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While the company began rolling out its 5G network for mobile devices and home broadband in April 2018, the recent speed boost marks new territory as the cellular giant continues to expand its coverage.

According to Choi, this second wave will allow the company to provide mobile networks on a much larger scale than the one initially introduced in 2018. He said the expansion has already given more than 100 million people nationwide access to 5G UW networks.

Choi compares network expansion to adding more lanes to a highway.

“When you expand the number of lanes, more traffic can pass and traffic can move faster,” Choi said. “So in the 5G world with uploads and downloads, you can process and you can exchange all that information going back and forth from your device to the network. Wherever it’s going, it can move much faster, it can move much faster.”

Choi added: “All the ways we use our mobile devices, whether it’s for FaceTime, downloading movies, any kind of virtual education that your kids can do at home, the virtual work that’s happening on the phones, with those highways . expanding that’s where the 5G network really starts to shine.”

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Meanwhile, mmwave will also be available at the stadium. Verizon began targeting stadiums, including Jordan-Hare, because of the number of people who would fill a small area who would also need access to their phones.

“Those millimeter wave network ranges are really intended for those kinds of high-capacity places where there will be a lot of people in one space like a football stadium,” Choi said. “We know that on game days, obviously, you know you’re going to have a crush of fans who want to use their phones to connect in all kinds of different ways.”

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