A half-dozen companies are potentially ready to spend $80 billion for C-Band, a new set of airwaves that promise to fix the perilous state of American 5G, at an FCC auction. That’s a vast amount of money, and it shows how important C-Band is. But what is C-Band, and what does it mean for 5G? Do you need a C-Band phone? Is C-Band a new frequency? Should you be scared of C-Band? I can explain.
RECOVERING THE SATELLITES
According to wireless testing firm Rohde and Schwarz, the C-band is all frequencies between 4GHz and 8GHz. When US wireless geeks talk about C-Band, though, they’re talking about 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz—and specifically, in this case, the range from 3.7GHz to 3.98GHz.
This frequency had been used for satellite TV since the 1970s, but as C-Band satellite reception requires “big, ugly dishes” up to 10 feet in diameter, it was largely replaced by more flexible systems with smaller dishes on the Ku band, such as Dish and DirecTV. C-Band is currently used for the “satellite downlink” for broadcast television distribution.
With more advanced methods of digital encoding than they had in the 1970s, the satellite companies can now “repack” their broadcasts into the upper portion of the C-Band, leaving the lower portion available for cellular companies to use.
The C-Band sits between the two Wi-Fi bands, which are at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. It’s slightly above and very similar to the 2.6GHz band that Clearwire and then Sprint used for 4G starting in 2007, and which T-Mobile currently uses for midband 5G. And it sits immediately above CBRS, a band from 3.55GHz to 3.7GHz that’s currently being deployed for 4G. So its transmission characteristics are very well known, and its safety is well established.
Most of the rest of the world has started to auction off the C-Band already; in terms of the number of countries, it’s probably the most popular 5G band in the world. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) chopped C-Band up into three chunks: band n77, band n78, and band n79. Most European and Asian countries currently use n78, which stretches from 3.3GHz to 3.8GHz. In the US, we’ll use n77, a larger band from 3.3GHz to 4.2GHz. Japan already uses n77, so equipment and phones are out there.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
TorGuard VPN: Affordable and Robust
How to Deal With a Swollen Laptop Battery
Lithium-ion batteries pack an amazing punch for their size. They’re robust enough to run our laptops for hours on a single charge, they’re at the core of the latest smartphones, and they even serve as the power plant behind cutting-edge electric vehicles such as the Tesla line.
HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY FROM THE INTERNET
It’s not just government spying; big-tech behemoths including Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have collected huge amounts of people’s data in order to serve up targeted ads—and then, there’s the personal data that’s scooped up in all the breaches and hacks.
Framework Laptop: True Modularity
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14: Blazing-Fast Gaming Machine
Demand for SpaceX's Starlink Satellite Internet Pushes Wait Times to 2023
Demand for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband system may push wait times into 2023.
HAS A CYBERSTALKER TAKEN OVER YOUR LIFE? HERE'S HOW TO GET IT BACK
Picture this: You enter your house and find a stranger (or an enemy) sitting at your kitchen table chowing down on your leftover potato salad and reading your mail. You order him out, but before long, he’s back.
HP Instant Ink vs. HP Plus vs. HP Smart: Which Ink Program Saves You the Most?
When you buy and install an HP printer, the setup routine may ask you to make some choices depending on the printer model.
Vilo Mesh: Very Affordable
Polaroid Now+: A Terrific Tool