Verizon’s rollout of its proprietary 5G home-service was met with a fair amount of vociferous skepticism. While the criticisms had their fair share of cattiness, they seemed to center primarily around just how limited the service coverage was rather than the quality of the service, or whether it truly constituted a 5G network.
On the question of coverage, it was certainly a limited rollout including just four cities: Sacramento, Los Angeles, Houston and Indianapolis. However, even within that limited number of cities, Verizon never made it known exactly how much coverage they would be offering. It became clear after the rollout that the coverage would be limited to a few restricted neighborhoods in these cities.
While coverage limitations garnered most of the complaints, the design of the network was not beyond reproach. The limited rollout had all the earmarks of 5G: millimeter wave (mmWave) transmission and small cells. However, Verizon’s 5G home service was more or less a prototype and did not meet the industry standards for 5G set out in Release 15 of the 5G New Radio specifications, scheduled for rollout in 2019.
Nonetheless, to get to that standard seemed to be merely a matter of updating the software. But even Verizon acknowledged that the limited network they were rolling out would not scale up and would not resemble the 5G it intended to have in the years to come.
As far as the performance characteristics are concerned, it seemed as though people were satisfied. At least one user in Houston posted on a Reddit forum that the service was top notch. “I had it installed today,” said a Reddit user in Houston who goes by the name fileunderjeff. “I’m getting speeds of 900+ megabytes per second (mbps) downstream (wired), 600+ downstream (wireless), 200+ upstream.”
The nuts and bolts of the installation that this Reddit user cited provided some insights on what lies ahead when full-scale 5G home service networks are rolled out. He reported:
“They will mount a small, oven-mitt sized antenna on the inside or outside of your house. They literally bolted one on the side of my house. They run a wire from the antenna into your house (or through your house if the antenna is inside), so make sure there’s a good path to run the wire from the antenna to the entry point discreetly. The distance from your house to the node matters. My closest node is about three blocks away, and my connection is fine. Installation takes several hours. They will be inside and outside of your home.”
While the performance levels and even the service of Verizon have been highly praised on social media, actually getting the service in one of the four cities was a challenge, even if they picked your neighborhood.