5G is coming, and we couldn't be more excited. Not only does the new wireless standard promise to transform the way we share data, it also makes our existing digital services even better. With new infrastructure rapidly developing, phone-makers are scrambling to join the fray and offer some of the first 5G products as soon as the end of this year!
That being said, 5G's rollout isn't expected to be quick or painless. Not only is 5G currently limited to a small handful of cities, its benefits won't affect you unless you have a 5G compatible device. If you're rocking a 2-year-old iPhone X and live in the middle of the country, you won't be able to see what the buzz is all about.
In light of this uneven distribution, a popular speed-testing service has released an interactive map showing all of the U.S. locations that 5G is ready for. Not only does this map tell you if 5G service is available in your city, it lets you know if compatible devices are in your area as well. If you're looking to opt into blazing fast internet speeds, you won't want to miss this.
How can I find out if I have 5G in my city?
Ookla, the developers behind the most popular speed test on the internet, have released a digital map that pinpoints 5G hotspots across the world. Initially, 5G is expected to be limited to a few select cities. As carriers continue to develop their infrastructure, the Ookla map will update itself when new locations appear.
To use the map, you can navigate much like you do on Google or Apple Maps -- namely click or tap, drag, and pinch or scroll to zoom in. On the map, locations with a 5G presence will appear as a dot with a number inside. This shows you how many cities can be found in that given area with 5G compatibility.
If you click on any of these dots, they'll expand to show you more detailed information about the cities with 5G infrastructure. You'll be able to see which carriers offer the service, as well as the kind of availability that's in place.
What does two kinds of 5G availability mean?
Right now, cities and carriers are classified in two categories: Commercial Availability and Limited Availability. Commercial Availability means that both devices and service is ready in the area. Limited Availability means that 5G infrastructure currently exists, but devices aren't being offered.
As of now, only two cities are ranked for Commercial Availability: Chicago, IL and Minneapolis, MN on Verizon Wireless. If you live in a city that only has Limited Availability, you'll need to purchase a compatible device from elsewhere in order to use 5G.
If you decide to go this route, make sure that you check which carrier is supporting 5G on the map before you order your device. Carrier incompatibility can prevent you from accessing the network, meaning your phone won't be able to work properly.
As 5G service continues to grow, we expect that more carriers will offer compatible devices going forward. In the meantime, make sure you're backing up your phone so you can easily transfer all your personal data when your new 5G device comes home from the store.
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What you need to know about the 5G revolution
The future may get here faster than we think as the world races toward 5G wireless technology. 5G will be faster, revolutionary and could even fight terrorism. This is much more than a just an upgrade; it could allow for driverless cars and smart cities. It will be unlike anything the world has seen before. But, will this breakthrough come at a cost to your health, increasing the risk of disease and disorders?