5G-Ready Signal Boosters: Do they Work with 5G?
The answer to the million-dollar question is...
Yes, but not with the “good parts” of 5G. At least for now.
Let us explain.
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First, There are Three Types of 5G Networks
5G promises to deliver faster speeds, lower latency, and more capacity than 4G. To do so, 5G makes use of new technologies and a wider range of frequency spectrum. Thus, there are different types of 5G networks, each with different characteristics.
Low-Band 5G refers to frequencies located between 600 MHz and 1 GHz. It's being rolled out nationwide, especially in rural and outlying suburban areas.
Coverage and speed are similar to 4G/LTE. Low-Band 5G and 4G share the same frequency spectrum. Some carriers’ Low-Band 5G and 4G networks even use the same frequency bands. This allowed carriers to quickly deploy 5G using existing infrastructure.
Mid-Band 5G is the 5G sweet spot. It offers less coverage than Low-Band 5G, but faster speeds. Frequencies range from 1 GHz to 6 GHz. Most Mid-Band 5G bands are unique to 5G. There are only a few on the lower end that overlap with 4G frequencies. Availability will be concentrated in urban and densely suburban areas, at least right now.
High-Band 5G or mmWave 5G
High-Band 5G is in the mmWave (millimeter-wave) spectrum, hence the name “mmWave 5G”. This spectrum is completely new to mobile connectivity. In 2019, the FCC took steps to make the mmWave spectrum available for 5G use.
This is the band everybody talks about when describing 5G. These 5G frequencies, found between 24 to 39 GHz, offer insane speed and capacity, but very little coverage range.
Due to its characteristics, High-Band 5G will only be available in densely populated cities. Unlike low-band and the lower end of mid-band, mmWave 5G does not piggyback off 4G networks and must be deployed separately.
So, Do Signal Boosters Work with 5G?
It all comes down to the supported cellular frequencies.
Per FCC regulations, signal boosters are only allowed to work with specific frequency bands. Said supported bands are predominately 4G/LTE frequencies.
As mentioned earlier, the lower end of the 5G spectrum uses similar frequencies as 4G networks. THUS, signal boosters will work with 5G networks deployed across the currently supported bands. Expected performance will be similar to that of 4G. You won't experience gigabit speeds or 1ms latency with a signal booster.
Our multi-carrier signal boosters support the following 4G and 5G frequencies:
- 700 MHz (Bands 12 & 17): Used by AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular
- 700 MHz (Band 13): Used by Verizon
- 850 MHz (Band 5): Used by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular
- 1700/2100 MHz (Band 4): Used by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular
- 1900 MHz (Bands 2 & 25), used by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular
The WilsonPro Pro 710i Commercial Cell Signal Booster is the only unit that supports Band 71 (600 MHz).
Do Signal Boosters Boost Mid-Band 5G or High-Band 5G?
Signal boosters do not currently work with AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile's super-fast Mid- or High-Band 5G networks. In other words, they will not enhance 5G+, 5G UW, or 5G UC networks.
5G Frequencies Broken Down by Carrier
The following chart shows which 5G frequencies each carrier currently uses. It’s subject to change as 5G evolves. It’ll help you better visualize which 5G networks signal boosters work with.
|Carriers:||4G Freq||Low-Band 5G Freq||Mid-Band 5G Freq||High-Band 5G Freq|
|AT&T||700 MHz: Bands 12/17/29 700 MHz: Band 14 (FirstNet) 850 MHz: Band 5 1900 MHz: Band 2 1700 MHz /2100 MHz: Bands 4/66 2300 MHz: Band 30||850 MHz: Band n5||3.4 GHz: Band n2 3.7 GHz: Band n77||24 GHz: Band n258 28 GHz: Band 261 39 GHz: Band n260|
|Verizon Wireless||700 MHz: Band 13 850 MHz: Band 5 1700/2100 MHz: Bands 4/66 1900 MHz: Band 2 3.5 GHz: Band 48 (In select areas) 5.2 GHz: Band 46 (In select areas)||850 MHz: Band n5 1700/2100 MHz: Band n66 1900 MHz: Band n2||3.7 GHz: Band n77||28 GHz: Band 261 39 GHz: Band 260|
|T-Mobile||600 MHz: Band 71 700 MHz: Band 12 850 MHz: Band 5 1700/2100 MHz: Bands 4/66 1900 MHz: Band 2||600 MHz: Band n71||2.5 GHz: Band n41 3.4 GHz: Band n2 3.7 GHz: Band n77||24 GHz: Band n258 28 GHz: Band n261 39 GHz: Band n260 47 GHz: Band n262 (Pending)|
|US Cellular||700 MHz: Band 12 850 MHz: Band 5 1700/2100: Band 4 1900: Band 2||600 MHz: Band n71||3.4 GHz: Band n77 3.7 GHz: Band n77||24 GHz: Band n258 28 GHz: Band n261 39 GHz: Band n260|
*Visit our 5G Frequency guide for more information.
When Will 5G Signal Boosters Become Available?
Developing a true 5G signal booster will take a couple of years. The FCC must first approve the use of 5G frequencies and establish any necessary regulations. After designing a 5G signal booster, manufacturers must then get FCC approval before they hit the market.
Should I Get a 5G-Ready Signal Booster Now or Wait?
As mentioned, it’ll be a while before you can get a signal booster that’ll work with all 5G flavors. If you’re in need of better signal for work or play, don’t wait on a true 5G signal booster. You’ll be dealing with dropped calls and slow data for a few years. Besides, unless you live or work in a densely populated urban or suburban area, you may only have access to Low-Band 5G. Once true 5G boosters are available, you can upgrade your unit.
Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of signal boosters for homes, offices, and vehicles. All units work with any 4G, LTE, and 5G network operating across the supported frequency bands. Whether using 4G or 5G, you’ll be able to enjoy quality calls and faster data wherever you need it.
Interested in Learning More? Check Out Our Signal Boosting Info Center
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