How fast is your internet connection? The proper answer is, “It depends?” Why? Because all of us access the internet from different locations, and even while online we visit different websites and use different devices.
All those variables mean it’s almost impossible to get a good idea of how fast your internet connection is, even if you run a test on each one. There’s Wi-Fi at home, Wi-Fi at work, Wi-Fi at Starbucks or a nearby watering hole. There’s your ISP’s connection, and your cell phone company. None of them have the same internet speed. Why?
Internet access speeds have too many variables. Yet, here we are, just about ready to throw 4G LTE to the curb in favor of 5G, which is destined to change the very nature of humanity.
Yes, 5G has theoretical speeds that will blow your socks off, but in reality, 5G will be exactly like 4G LTE– connection speeds depend on many variables. There are many ways to test your internet connection– which, in and of itself is more a theoretical test than a reflection of connection reality– including a favorite, Ookla’s Speed Test, or SpeedTest.org.
All you will get from either one is the speed of a connection from your device to their server. Nothing more, nothing less, but definitely not a reflection of real world internet connection speeds. On average, in the U.S., the average broadband speed— which probably powers your home or office Wi-Fi– was a whopping 26Mbps. That makes the good old U.S. of A. the 20th fastest internet broadband country in the world, where the average speed is just over 9.1Mbps.
See? The internet itself remains slower than 4G LTE speeds and is not likely to increase much– at least for a few years– even after 5G is the norm. Singapore holds the top spot at 60Mbps.
So, what’s the problem with 5G?
Let me count the ways.
First, 5G requires more towers. Many, many more towers. That will take years to reach saturation to match 4G LTE. Second, the rollout to 5G will be sporadic; available only in a few areas of any major market, and the rest of the country will just have to wait, and wait, and wait.
Third, for now the number of 5G smartphones are, well, rather limited. Samsung plans a 5G Galaxy-whatever. Soon. Other manufacturers have announced their 5G models, but don’t look for signs of 5G dominance until Apple releases a 5G iPhone. When that happens, you’ll know 5G will soon be a thing.
Fourth, 5G causes cancer. Or, at least, that is what many detractors think could happen because 5G towers will be so numerous and so close together that nobody knows what impact such deployment will have on human health.
Finally, just like 3G and 4G LTE, 5G, when it arrives, will still be no faster than the internet itself which is chock full of variables that cannot be controlled. Yes, the future is 5G and when it becomes ubiquitous and 4G LTE is no longer around, we might have faster speeds than we do now.
Just don’t hold your breath because the internet itself is not as fast as 5G and not likely to get there for many, many years.