Verizon has expanded both of its 5G offerings to new markets. The company took the opportunity to detail some of the technology underlying both of its 5G offerings in the press release about the new markets.
Verizon now reaches 24 million more people with what the company calls its Nationwide 5G service. In addition, the company expanded its 5G Ultra Wideband network to parts of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Albuquerque and Durham.
The name Verizon 5G Nationwide refers to 5G service deployed in spectrum that is shared with the company’s LTE service. Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband is deployed in millimeter wave spectrum, where the company delivers speeds that run into the gigabits per second.
The downside to using millimeter wave spectrum is that signals in that band don’t travel far; hence the availability in only parts of the new markets.
Verizon 5G Nationwide launched in markets serving 200 million people last month – an accomplishment that by some measures, enables a company to claim nationwide coverage. Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband initially launched about two years ago in parts of several markets and is now in parts of 61 cities.
Verizon 5G Nationwide Technology
As Verizon explains in today’s press release, the company uses dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) to enable 5G to co-exist with LTE in the same spectrum band. Resulting speeds aren’t particularly impressive and aren’t discussed in the release. Instead, the company touts other DSS benefits.
Because DSS enables spectrum to be dynamically allocated between 5G and LTE, depending on network demands, the company notes that “customers can use Verizon’s network in a variety of ways – from virtual learning to real-time gaming – that [require] the ability to allocate spectrum resources in real time.”
Verizon also touts the network infrastructure that underlies 5G Nationwide service, noting that it is built on a cloud-native containerized architecture “which can allow for unprecedented levels of operational automation, flexibility and adaptability.” As 5G Nationwide service is expanded, much of the network uses virtualization all the way to cell sites at the network edge, Verizon said.
Virtualization decouples software and hardware, enabling service providers to use generic or common off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware – a more economical alternative to purpose-built equipment that also provides other benefits, as the press release explains.
“[T]he move to a cloud native, container-based virtualized architecture leads to greater flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability and improved cost efficiency in networks,” Verizon said.
Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband Technology
As Verizon noted today, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband now uses carrier aggregation in some markets to combine as many as eight channels and uses two-carrier aggregation for uploads.
As the company explains, carrier aggregation provides greater efficiency, thereby doubling previous download speeds. Verizon said it has seen peak speeds up to 4 Gbps in some locations.
Two-carrier aggregation on the upload side also provides a speed boost. This is important, considering that Verizon initially used LTE for upstream communications on its 5G Ultra Wideband network.
Verizon rival T-Mobile also has indicated plans to use carrier aggregation to improve the upstream performance of its 5G service.
Research from smartphone analytics provider Opensignal recently showed an increasing gap between 5G upstream and downstream speeds. According to the researchers, 5G smartphones are challenged to send signals upstream because of power limitations inherent in the devices. The researchers speculate that the problem is exacerbated when the smartphone is further from the cell site.
It will be interesting to see if the move toward carrier aggregation for the 5G upstream path helps to address this issue.