BRITAIN’S first super-fast 5G network launches today and The Sun has spent the past week testing it.
With 4G, the UK was years behind other countries when it finally launched in 2012.
EE going live today with 5G in six cities, with more later this year, means we are leading the way with the next-generation.
The service promises to be ten times as fast as 4G and end connection woes in busy areas like train stations and stadiums where current networks struggle with lots of phones at the same time.
The 4G network speeds were what made apps like Uber and Deliveroo possible, so we can expect much more from 5G – even things we can’t guess at yet.
The Sun had access to the 5G network even before it went live to the public, while speeds were still being tweaked and sites added.
The service promises to be ten times as fast as 4G and end connection woes
Even so, initial impressions were good. It was very fast, speedier than the best fibre optic broadband by a long way.
True, only a handful of people were using it, but one of the benefits of 5G will be that the capacity is far greater than 4G. We tested the network on the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.
So instead of 3,000 people accessing the same transmitter before speeds decrease, with 5G it could be ten times as many.
Here’s how I spent a day using one of the world’s first super-fast networks.
Getting ready for the commute
As a Liverpool fan, I wanted to watch a doc on their road to Saturday’s final on the Tube to work.
Trouble is, I only remembered when got to the station.
The 5G signal downloaded TV programmes in seconds[/caption]
But the 5G signal was so much faster than I was used to, the half hour show downloaded from BT Sport in seconds.
So, I downloaded a couple of shows from Netflix too.
The speed test
The 5G signal at home is fast but in central London it’s astonishing.
A decent 4G signal before now could have been 20 Megabits per second (Mbps) or up to 50Mbps in some places.
As I’m walking, I use the speed checker app I’ve downloaded and it shows speeds I’ve never seen before: 315Mbps, and at one point 420Mbps.
Speeds are still very variable. I saw 19Mbps on 4G near Holborn, central London – then without me taking a step, it locked on to a 5G signal at 260Mbps.
Grabbing lunch, I fancy watching some “funny dog” videos on YouTube to distract me from the EU elections fallout.
YouTube opens, finds my search, and displays the results in a blink.
Watching videos on YouTube was super-smooth with no buffering[/caption]
Then, as soon as I click on one clip, I am watching a Golden Retriever fail miserably at an obedience challenge – full screen and in HD.
No buffering, just super-smooth video.
At my desk, my phone pings to tell me someone’s rung my video doorbell at home.
Normally by the time the doorbell goes through my home wi-fi to the phone network to my phone, the caller has gone away – it only takes 30 seconds but that can be too much.
The phone connected to the video doorbell in just eight seconds[/caption]
This time, when I click on the app it says the time since the doorbell was pressed is eight seconds.
Playing games against pals on a mobile can be a pain because the network speed can often be too slow – and that affects whether I can dodge a bullet in time or not!
The 5G network promises lower latency – that’s the time between me tapping the display to jump or duck and the action reaching the other phone.
It helped on a test of the new augmented reality game Harry Potter Wizards Unite – dubbed 2019’s Pokemon Go.
Sure, that game will work on 4G, but a fast, solid connection helps me win!
Finding my way
Google Maps works well already but a new feature, AR maps for walking, is being rolled out to some Android phones now.
It’s not on the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G I’m using yet but when it is, it will mean the problem of following maps on foot will be sorted.
When the new Google Maps AR feature is rolled out it will make following maps on foot far easier[/caption]
MOST READ IN TECH
That’s the bit at the start when you don’t know which way to start walking on an unfamiliar street and usually means you walk one way and then turn round!
Google’s AR maps show big arrows floating in the air on a camera view of the street in front of you.
I’m looking forward to this.
Need for speed
- New Sky hit drama Chernobyl downloaded in just seconds.
- Speed in central London was a whopping 420Mbps at one point.
- Watching YouTube gave super-smooth video and no buffering at all.
- Playing online games with pals was a real pleasure, not a pain.
- Promise that Google Maps will get a smart new camera view with arrows to help with directions when walking.
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