Verizon's new CBRS 4G is twice as fast as its DSS 5G network

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,964   +785
Staff member
In context: Last week the press ridiculed Verison for tweeting that users should turn off 5G to conserve battery life. Many found it strange that it should even suggest this considering its promotional push for its 5G network. Personally, I found it sensible, but what do I know.

As it turns out, Verizon's advice to disable 5G was more warranted than anyone would have imagined. This week PCMag conducted some tests comparing Verizon's 4G and 5G networks and found its 4G to be fasterā€”a lot faster.

Granted, this is not your father's 4G. PCMag was looking specifically at the new CBRS-enabled 4G, which Verizon just started rolling out. The CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) spectrum's frequencies are close to the C-band, which Verizon plans to have implemented in its 5G network in 2022. It purchased licensing in this spectrum last year for $3.4 billion. Verizon spent a portion of that ($1.4 billion) on the CBRS range.

The reach of CBRS 4G is limited right now, but PCMag found four spots around New York. In speed tests, CBRS 4G was hitting up to 815Mbps. In the same location, Verizon's "nationwide" DSS 5G (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) topped out at 358Mbps. Of course, DSS 5G is significantly slower than ultra-wideband (UWB) 5G, which can clock up to 3.4Gbps. However, UWB 5G is hampered by its limited range of about 800 feet. Conversely, CBRS signals reach up to half a mile.

So as far as conserving battery by turning off 5G, Verizon was not out in left field. Unless you live, work, or otherwise spend much time in an area with UWB 5G, you might be better off turning it off if the choice is between 4G or DSS 5G.

Image credits: Verizon Phone by Sulastri Sulastri, Chart Comparison by PCMag

Permalink to story.

 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,964   +785
Staff member
I assume you still need a new phone to make either one of these new features work (5g or CBRS)?
I imagine it depends upon the signal channels and if your phone can use them. Still, could also be a protocol requirement.
The phones PCMag used in the tests were a Samsung Note 20 Ultra and an iPhone 12.
Here is what it had to say about reception:

"CBRS is a 150MHz swath of airwaves that sits right below the C-band. It's licensed in a nearly incomprehensibly complicated, multi-tier way that varies from county to county. Many of the CBRS licenses in my area are controlled by companies that are (for now) just sitting on them rather than running a network, specifically Comcast, Charter, and Dish.

"CBRS is available on most phones sold in the past two years. Check the specs for LTE band 48. If the phone supports it, and you're on Verizon, it will kick in where available.

"Of course, you may have to turn 5G off to get it. Hopefully, Verizon will tell its CBRS towers to push 5G phones back onto 4G for now, icon be damned. If you want to try fooling around with turning off 5G, here's how to do it on an iPhone. Recent Samsung phone owners can do it by downloading the third-party Samsung Band Selector app."
 

defaultluser

Posts: 141   +95
The phones PCMag used in the tests were a Samsung Note 20 Ultra and an iPhone 12.
Here is what it had to say about reception:

"CBRS is a 150MHz swath of airwaves that sits right below the C-band. It's licensed in a nearly incomprehensibly complicated, multi-tier way that varies from county to county. Many of the CBRS licenses in my area are controlled by companies that are (for now) just sitting on them rather than running a network, specifically Comcast, Charter, and Dish.

"CBRS is available on most phones sold in the past two years. Check the specs for LTE band 48. If the phone supports it, and you're on Verizon, it will kick in where available.

"Of course, you may have to turn 5G off to get it. Hopefully, Verizon will tell its CBRS towers to push 5G phones back onto 4G for now, icon be damned. If you want to try fooling around with turning off 5G, here's how to do it on an iPhone. Recent Samsung phone owners can do it by downloading the third-party Samsung Band Selector app."


My Pixel 2 just barely missed the cutoff.

https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/...ened-up-the-3-5ghz-band-48-for-4g-and-5g-use/