Despite a name that sounds like a boy band from the 2000s, this technology refers to a radio frequency in the range between 4 GHz and 8 GHz, intended to support wireless news broadcasts. Its main advantage is based on an ideal balance between the distance covered by its waves, its speed of propagation and the stability of the frequency. Strong arguments when you know that the massive deployment of 5G requires reliable technology with as wide a range as possible.
What is C-Band?
Today, C-Band is becoming a necessity to support the large-scale deployment of the 5th generation mobile phone network. Band-C is positioned, in the United States, but also in part of Europe, on a spectrum specifically located between 3.7 GHz and 3.98 GHz. In France, the band is located between 3.4 GHz and 3.8 GHz, following an allocation dated November 12, 2020 by ARCEP.
For information, at the national level, it is the Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority (the ARCEP, therefore) which allocates authorizations for the use of frequencies. This allows a regulation of the waves, to avoid the saturation of the possibilities of remote communication. In short, Band C is necessarily faster 5G since it is no longer available…
C-band versus millimeter wave: a logical choice
Opposite C-Band are millimeter waves (mmWave). They sit at frequencies ranging from 24 GHz to 40 GHz, which ties them into the high-bandwidth wireless spectrum. This enables extremely fast operation of networked devices, with near-zero latency. However, these waves are limited in terms of range, which makes it a valid technology above all for urban centers. A major obstacle in the face of operators’ desire to make 5G accessible everywhere.
In addition, millimeter waves are very quickly disturbed by obstacles between the antenna and the receiving device. A problem that can directly impact the quality of the user experience, with the promise of a very high speed network that can be ruined by a tower or a forest.
This is why many operators turn to the wave ranges called “sub-6 GHz”, those concerned by the C-Band. A choice also made from the outset by certain players, such as the four managers of the French wireless telephone network.
A necessary technology
With a lower speed than millimeter wave, however, C-Band offers a stable experience over a wider area. Its speed is very close to 4G, which guarantees a correct experience, but which is not the announced technological leap.
The goal of C-Band is to bring the same stability to 5G that we know from WiFi. The experience of the home network is also reinforced, with the appearance of a WiFi 6E mesh. The objective here is to be able to support the connectivity needs of smart home automation tools, with at the same time high-level mobile network coverage as wide as possible. Even if it does not revolutionize speed performance against 4G.
However, Band C makes it possible to project 5G capacity over a large number of territories with an undeniable quality of service. A perfect support when you know the digital dropout of rural areas compared to urban areas.
Is my device compatible?
Bought a 5G device and wondering if it’s compatible with Band C? If your device was released in 2022 or even 2021, chances are it is. The big brands have all positioned themselves on this technology and there are many compatible models among high-end devices: iPhone 12, 13 and 14, Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S22, Z Fold3Z Fold4, Z Flip3 and Z Flip4, Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro, 6a, 7 and 7 Pro, the latest Xiaomi and OnePlus, etc. Be careful if you buy a device on a Chinese online store to opt for a “global” or “international” version to be sure to take advantage of this frequency band…