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Why you (probably) don't want a 5G router

CES is in progress, and D-Link has already announced a new 5G router. But while 5G may sound good, you probably don't have it in your area right now. So, you shouldn't plan on jumping on this router yet.

It's a 5G modem and router

D-Link 5G NR Enhanced Gateway (which name!) Is a mobile modem that happens to provide Wi-Fi. It's not a regular Wi-Fi router. Think of it as a more powerful mobile hotspot that is not mobile. You connect this to an operator (like Verizon or AT&T if they allow it) and then broadcast the Internet through your home.

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

Unfortunately, the name of Wi-Fi and cellular protocols is similar and confusing. The Wi-Fi Alliance is trying to improve this with a simplified naming system, but while it will go a long way to keeping track of which Wi-Fi protocol is better, it will not help keep the difference between Wi-Fi 5 and 5G straight.

It's not an ordinary 5 GHz Wi-Fi router

5G and 5GHz Wi-Fi are not the same.

With a name so close it is easy to get confused 5G is mobile service that your smartphone uses. And 5 GHz refers to the wireless spectrum your Wi-Fi router can use. You cannot take your existing Wi-Fi router and connect it to 5G cell service. And you can't take this device and connect it to your existing ISP to give your house Wi-Fi. You need 5G service in your area to take advantage of this device.

5G is probably not available to you than

When 5G service arrives it may well be amazing. The theoretical limit of the 5G service is 10 Gbps. Right now, most FIOS and some cable suppliers are rising at 1 Gbps. It's an incredible jump in speed. In addition, carriers may be able to roll out 5G in rural areas where it is cost effective to determine FIOS or better cable lines.

It is possible that through 5G units, 5G can become ubiquitous in places where high-speed internet is unfamiliar with right now. Some day. But it's years gone. The fact image is in D-Link's press release:

"With the expanded spectrum and new applications, 5G will increase competition to the broadband market in the next few years …"

So if you were to buy a 5G modem Today, the chance is It wouldn't do you any good.

5G Service is likely to come with a router

Don't go out of the way looking for this hardware. Right now, it is unclear whether D-Link sells this unit directly to consumers. Although D-Link sells it to consumers, this does not mean that your supplier allows you to use the device. Currently, Verizon provides a Samsung 5G router for anyone with that service. And because this is mobile service and not just regular Wi-Fi, the carriers will have control over which devices can be connected.

A 5G modem like this can be meaningful. If you have 5G in your area, you can connect to it and then send the Internet to your other devices that have no cellular radio of any kind (such as laptops). They would take advantage of the fast speed, and you would not have to buy a new laptop or add-on.

Another advantage of buying this is the promised masking functions. But if you already have networks, or don't want to buy D-Link network devices, this device will still not help. Right now, network devices from different brands are not talking to each other. The Wi-Fi Alliance has released a mask standard for this particular purpose, but most of the router's decision makers have not implemented it, and D-Link has not promised to do this.

New technology is often exciting. And the promise of significant speed gains, especially in rural areas, draws attention. But as almost all new technology, it is best to wait and see the setting until all the details shake out.

Image Credits: D-Link, Ksander / Shutterstock, High Heel / Shutterstock

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