I gave up my spectrum for Verizon’s 5G home internet. This is what it looked like

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Verizon’s 5G Home internet service is set to take on your local cable provider with a bold promise: fast broadband with no data limits for as low as $25 a month. To get this price, you must have a recent Verizon Unlimited premium plan, like its Play More, Do More, or Get More options. A Wi-Fi 6 router is included with the service, plus taxes and equipment fees are included in the sticker price.

The big question with any ISP: is the actual service any good? As Verizon continues to upgrade its network to support its faster Ultra Wideband C-band spectrum, I wanted to know. So I ditched Spectrum and changed my apartment connectivity to just using Verizon’s 5G Home router.

The result? Although I’ve only been using it for a few days, it works perfectly fine. Gaming, streaming, and zoom generally work as expected, but there are a few things you’ll want to know if you’re planning on changing.

Here are my first impressions.

Verizon 5G Home caveats

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The Verizon 5G Home Internet Box.

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

Before we dive too deep into performance, we should start by clarifying a few things about this service.

Although Verizon aggressively advertises 5G Home on TV, in reality it’s nowhere near as widely available as the company’s 4G LTE network or its latest. 5G Ultra Wideband offering that reaches over 100 million people. Verizon says 5G home internet is accessible to 30 million peoplebut as with T-Mobile 5G Home Internet Option, there is no clear map to determine if you are eligible. Instead, you have to plug your address into Verizon’s website to find out.

Depending on where you live, Fios could be a hindrance. If you are in an area where you can get Verizon’s fiber service, you will not be able to benefit from 5G Home. My apartment happens to be in one of them, but Verizon still sent me a 5G Home device to test, so that’s how I got to experience the service.

And that price of $25 a month? Again, it’s only if you also have the correct Verizon Wireless plan. If you don’t have one or don’t use Verizon as your cellular carrier, you can get 5G Home…but it starts at $50 per month with automatic payments enabled ($60 per month if you don’t). ‘re not on autopay). These are the same rates T-Mobile charges for its 5G home internet product.

Verizon technically has two plans for 5G Home. There’s a basic service and a “5G Home Plus,” which costs $10 more per month if you use Verizon for phone service (and have the right unlimited plan); it’s $20 more without.

The Plus service gives you an extra year of price protection, though Verizon hasn’t given any indication it’s considering a price hike. You also get a free year of the Disney Bundle (Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu), $300 off any of the company’s soundbars, and the ability to use Verizon Cloud for backup. Datas. Personally, I’m not sure this justifies the monthly extra cost, especially since there are no speed or performance differences between the two plans.

Setting up Verizon 5G Home

As mentioned, Verizon’s 5G Home service has only been running for a few days. Before that, my roommates and I paid for a cable and internet package of Spectrum, mainly to get live sports. With the NBA playoffs now airing on national networks, I no longer needed a bundle of cables for YES Network and MSG. With our $122 monthly Spectrum plan for 400 Mbps internet, cable, and three set-top boxes, the idea of ​​downsizing to internet and something like YouTube TV just got more appealing.

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service recently became available in my area with speeds on my iPhone 13 Pro Max often hitting 300-500 Mbps download and 10-30 Mbps upload. It’s online (and sometimes faster) than what I was getting from Spectrum.

As with T-Mobile Home Internet, setting up Verizon’s box couldn’t be easier: plug in the little white box and you’re pretty much good to go. The only items in the box are a router, a power cable, an Ethernet cable (for connecting to devices such as an existing router, computer or game console) and a small setup guide. a page. This guide itself has three steps: plug in the router near a window, wait for the device to boot up, make sure the front of the box shows a solid white light. If it is red, move the configuration to another location.

A nice touch: there’s a QR code under the router for an express network connection.

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The bottom of the Verizon 5G Home Router includes two Ethernet ports and the Wi-Fi details of the box itself. There is also a QR code for easier login from a mobile device.

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

I wish Verizon would follow T-Mobile’s lead and include a small screen with signal bars and other important information. It would certainly help to find the best location to leave the device. Similar to T-Mobile’s service, you can manage the router through the app. It was the My Verizon app in this case, but I didn’t have access to that account because it’s a test device.

How it goes: Solid, but not overwhelming

Performance, at least on my first few uses, has been solid but not overwhelming: according to my Eero, from April 24-28 we uploaded over 130GB of data and uploaded 8GB. I had no real issues video streaming, games, work and video calls on Zoom or FaceTime at all hours of the day with multiple devices connected simultaneously.

YouTube’s 4K video streaming on my computer loads fairly quickly, although I did notice a few seconds of buffering when cleaning up a timeline. Playing online games like Fortnite or MLB The Show 22 worked smoothly even when a roommate was streaming a show or playing another game in another room at the same time. Watching live TV on YouTube TV or DirecTV Stream on a Fire TV Stick 4K Max, iPad, or computer also worked seamlessly and looked good.

I haven’t downloaded any large files yet, but noticed some weird speed deviations from the 5G experience in my area when connected to Verizon’s mobile network. While there are times when I can get over 300Mbps download speeds and over 20Mbps downloads over Wi-Fi and Verizon’s 5G home, it often seems like the phone’s connection is down. faster. There were times when my phone’s Wi-Fi speed tests showed download speeds below 100 Mbps and when I disconnect and switch back to 5G the network would show downloads finished 300Mbps.

This seemed to be especially true when I connected my Eero to 5G Home, which sometimes left me with download speeds over Wi-Fi of 50Mbps when Verizon’s 5G network on my phone was getting several times faster performance. .

Not sure if this is a result of 5G Home traffic deprioritization, congestion, ethernet throttling on the device itself, or if the particular cell tower in my area is not configured to support 5G Home broadband. I’ve contacted Verizon for more details and will update if the company responds.

Even with the discrepancies, I’m still encouraged by what Verizon is doing with 5G home internet. For many of my daily tasks, it works just fine. And for $25 a month, could be a solid alternative to traditional cable… if you can get it in your area.

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