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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Why You (Probably) Don’t Want a 5G Router

CES is underway, and D-Link has already announced a new 5G router. But while 5G might sound great, you probably don’t have it in your area right now. So, you shouldn’t plan to jump on this router just yet.

It’s a 5G Modem and Router

The D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway (what a name!) is a cellular modem that happens to provide Wi-Fi. It’s not a standard Wi-Fi router. Think of it like a more powerful Mobile Hotspot that isn’t mobile. You’ll connect this to a carrier (like Verizon or AT&T if they allow it), and then broadcast the Internet throughout your home.

You can only use this if you have 5G Internet in your area.

Unfortunately, the naming for Wi-Fi and cellular protocols are similar and confusing. The Wi-FI Alliance is trying to improve this with a simplified naming scheme, but while that will go a long way in keeping track of which Wi-Fi protocol is better, it won’t help keep the difference between Wi-Fi 5 and 5G straight.

It’s Not A Plain 5 GHz Wi-Fi Router

5G and 5 GHz Wi-Fi aren’t the same things.

With a name so close, it’s easy to get confused. 5G is cellular service like your smartphone uses. And 5 GHz refers to the wireless spectrum your Wi-Fi router can use. You can’t take your existing Wi-Fi router and connect it to 5G cellular service. And you can’t take this device and connect it to your existing home Internet provider to give your house Wi-Fi.  You need 5G service in your area to take advantage of this device.

5G Probably Isn’t Available For You Yet

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