5G is the name given to the fifth generation of wireless networks (hence the 5). These are the cellular networks that power smartphones and other mobile devices. As 5G has become more widespread, many providers have started offering 5G home internet services. (We’re partial to T-Mobile Home Internet, and Verizon is also great.) 5G home internet uses a wireless gateway essentially like a giant hotspot, grabbing the 5G signals and broadcasting it as a home Wi-Fi network.
The advantage here is that you can often get a connection in areas that lack other infrastructure, such as cable or fiber. This makes 5G home internet an excellent rural option. However, it also means you share bandwidth with all the 5G cellular users in the area. With most modern phones having 5G, that can be a lot of traffic, and things can quickly get congested.
Additionally, if you read the fine print of most 5G home internet plans, you’ll notice a line similar to this: “During congestion, Home Internet customers may notice speeds lower than other customers due to data prioritization.”
Basically, if the network is getting congested, providers may slow down home internet connections in order to ensure a better experience for mobile customers. This isn’t necessarily a reason to avoid 5G home internet. However, it’s something you should know.
Now, one of the benefits of 5G was supposed to be increased bandwidth to allow more devices on the network at once without impacting performance. As the networks continue to grow, we expect these issues to become less and less of a problem. However, at the time of this writing, 5G cell networks are still prone to congestion in many areas.