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Why India’s 5G users are experiencing high data consumption, choppy connectivity

Why India’s 5G users are experiencing high data consumption, choppy connectivity
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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The first users of the newly-rolled out 5G networks of telecom services providers Airtel and Reliance Jio, who were initially excited by ads of ‘ultra-fast’ networks, are experiencing mixed signals. Some insist that while the bandwidth and latency have visibly improved on speed tests, the difference is barely noticeable. But most believe that their data consumption on 5G appears to be much higher than it was when they used 4G.

Consider the case of Varun Krishnan, founder of a tech blog called FoneArena, who is using Airtel’s newly-rolled out 5G network in Chennai. According to him, the number of spots where users can access 5G connectivity in the city have clearly increased in the past two weeks but a simple speed test seems to be consuming nearly 1GB of data on 5G at the moment. Aditya Kshirshagar, who lives in Bengaluru, has had a similar experience. He exhausted 4.8GB of data by conducting eight speed tests on the 5G network, which he got momentarily.

Bandwidth and latency are two measures of a networks capacity. The former shows how much data can travel over a network at a time, while the latter is a measure of the time taken for data to travel from source to receiver. Measured in milliseconds (ms), latency is the minimal delay in the transfer of data from a company’s server to a user’s device. As latency decreases in 5G, data transfer improves and so does the user experience. Latency, and not bandwidth, is what users typically refer to as ‘internet speeds’.

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Several users, who upgraded to 5G in the last few weeks, took to social media to report the lack of any discernible difference between 5G and 4G speeds while sharing screenshots of 5G downloads speeds measured on speed test apps such as Ookla and Fast Speed Test. “5G on Airtel in Delhi. But it is erratic, in some areas despite showing a 5G connection the speeds can be just 8-10Mbps,” tweeted Shamit Manchanda, a New Delhi-based architect on Tuesday. Likewise photoblogger Ayush Pathak tweeted on Thursday that he is getting downlink bandwidths of 290 Mbps on Airtel 5G in Delhi’s Pitampura area on a Samsung Z Flip 4 smartphone.

Read the full story on Mint.