5G Questions and Answers | October 2019

4G 5G marine internet and wifi from Marine Data Solutions
Marine Internet and Marine WiFi- wherever you find Paradise, Marine Data Solutions has you covered

Yes, 5G delivers blazing fast marine Internet and marine WiFi. No, it isn’t available on many devices or in many places- yet.

So, what’s a company like Marine Data Solutions, dedicated to providing fast, stable, and economical marine Internet in the Continental USA, the Bahamas, and now in Europe to do? First, we’re continuously expanding and improving our existing coverage. We constantly test on our own and solicit and evaluate customer feedback on how, where, when, and what Internet use- business, entertainment, or both- we can make even better. Right now, we supply both airtime and the onboard devices you need to enjoy state-of-the art marine Internet and marine WiFi.
While 5G promises a lot, today that’s all it is- promises.

4G stands for “fourth generation” and refers to the current and widely available standard for connecting to the Internet over the cellular network. Marine Data Solutions uses 4G and 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) bandwidth and devices to keep you connected to email, data, Netflix, and all your social media accounts within about 20 miles of a cellular tower.  Those towers mean you have consistent 4G and/or 4G LTE coverage pretty much everywhere in the Continental USA, the Bahamas, and in our new coverage areas in Europe. Please refer to our Bahamas coverage map and our USA coverage map for the latest information, and you can check our selection of marine Internet plans here, and view our marine WiFi equipment here.

4G and 4G LTE Internet speeds generally peak at about 50 Mbps (megabytes per second) for downloads, or about twice what you need for streaming HD. Distance from the tower, interference, and weather affect performance, but 4G and 4G LTE provide a consistent experience within the broadcast radius of the tower.

5G stands for “fifth generation” and refers to an existing but not widely implemented standard for connecting to the Internet over the cellular network.  5G Internet can deliver- in some instances- about 1.5 Gbps (gigabytes per second). But, it’s a completely different standard and a word of caution- AT&T devices show something called 5G E, which isn’t 5G at all, just a marketing term for some tweaks to their existing 4G LTE service. 5G uses completely different technology from 4G, which is why true 5G will require new devices, and new antennas and towers.

And that brings us to a fundamental and crucial difference between 4G and 5G, and why the rollout will not be quick. 5G frequencies supply Internet at high speeds, but only for a short distance. Say you’re standing under a shiny new 5G node and run an Internet speed test on your brand-new 5G tablet or phone and see speeds like 1.5Gbps, fast enough to download an entire 4K “Stranger Things” in less time than it takes Eleven to blink. Now, walk 100’ feet away or go around a corner that interrupts your direct line of sight to those antennas and watch the speed drop back to 4G- or even less. We stated that the 4G experience keeps pretty consistent within the broadcast radius- but the broadcast radius of a 4G tower eclipses 5G- 500 meters for 5G, and about 20,000 meters for 4G and 4G LTE.

So, urban areas benefit from 5G, because mounting antennas on existing infrastructure does not pose the challenge of creating tens of thousands of relatively adjacent new locations.  And where do we do most of our yachting? Away from urban areas, and while we can cruise peaceful and uncrowded parts of the Abacos, Exumas, and the Med and still be within that 20-mile 4G LTE radius it’s rare you will be yachting within 500 meters of a 5G Internet node.

That means that the most affordable, reliable, and fastest marine Internet and marine WiFi will continue to come from 4G and 4G LTE for the foreseeable future. Marine Data Solutions’ commitment to bringing the best Internet to your yacht in the Continental USA, the Bahamas, and the Med keeps us on top of the latest developments, and 5G will be in all our futures. But, the physical limitations of 5G technology degrade the signal rapidly over relatively short distances. And, 5G capable phones, tablets, and modems are just starting to hit the market.

When 5G becomes right for Marine Data Solutions, we will be there. For now, ensuring the best possible marine Internet and WiFi keeps us working on 4G and 4G LTE coverage, and working with our customers to make sure they get the Internet they want and need, wherever they are. We can tailor your plan, and the equipment you need, with or without contracts, including our unlimited data plans.

For more information please visit our website, and you can reach us through our Contact Page, by phone at +1 954-8597092, or email us at info@marinedatasolutions.com.  


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