Latency U 2305G latency in the US in 2019 should normally be 30-40 ms, down from 43-57 ms on LTE. The chart at left or follow the link. That's a 20% to 35% improvement, welcome but not game-changing. The "1 ms" latency is a fantasy.

Improving the backhaul/transit system and/or installing an Edge Cloud within the carrier network can bring that down to 15-25 ms in many places. 

1 ms is possible in the lab with test equipment, but the actual gear going into the field is about 10 ms from phone to tower (Verizon and AT&T data.) 

To that, you have to add the time from the tower to the server, which is the majority of the current latency.

The backhaul/transit delay is greater than the "air latency." The implication is that improvements behind the tower can contribute the most to reduced latency. Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, and Verizon are proving that in the field. 

Enrique Blanco at Telefonica has reduced the number of hops to about four from one end of the network to the other. Deutsche Telekom is actively building an Edge Cloud and seeing 20-25 ms.

Verizon is the most aggressive. Its 5G build is one of the most extensive in the Western world. Less known is that Lee Hicks' One Fiber plan is ripping out 200,000 pieces of equipment and replacing them with about 20,000. The new gear is much faster and the number of hops fewer. Verizon hasn't released any latency figures but I'm sure it's down substantially.

Hicks has said the rebuild pays for itself in two or three years. "We are saving 50% the first year." Overall, including Massive MIMO, carrier aggregation, and 5G, Verizon's costs are falling at 40% per year. 

NR is not a near-miraculous way to reduce latency and investing in other parts of the network probably has a larger payoff.

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual results the first four months have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.


5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimetre wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.