How can Xfinity advertise 10G service?

Because marketing that’s why.

Before I get any further into this article, let me explain something. There’s no law in the US that defines what “3G,” “4G,” or “5G” even mean. There’s no law stopping you from advertising a cell phone that gets 100G if you wanted to. The only law that really governs any of this stuff is the law that says you have to deliver what you promise to deliver. There’s nothing about misleading names. Got it? Let’s dive into what’s really going on then.

What is a “G” anyway?​

The first cellular network in this country was built in the 1970s. Before that point, there were phones you could put in your car, but they were really just two-way radios. You’d contact a mobile operator who would place the call for you. The real breakthrough came in the idea that you could place the call yourself, and that a network of radio towers would cooperate so you’d always stay connected.

Back then, they didn’t call that “1G.” But it basically was. The idea of using the letter “G” to talk about cell service really didn’t surface until the early 2000s. Before that, a combination of confusing acronyms tried to explain what was going on. The cellular system was growing quickly, and in the US there were a lot of competing standards out there promising the same thing in different ways.

By the turn of the century, the state of the art was something rather clunkily called “GSM with GPRS.” This was the first digital system in the US that let you send data. It didn’t let you send a lot of it, but it was at least possible. Understanding that in the 21st century people would want data on their phones as much as voice calls, a group of international scientists started working together.

In 1998, they formed something called the “3rd Generation Partnership Project,” or 3GPP for short. Their goal was the complete reworking of the cellular networks around the world to support more data. The set of standards the came up with was called “3G” and almost instantly people started calling GSM with GPRS “2G” in contrast.

Then the marketing people got involved.​

People loved 3G. The smartphone wars of the late 2000s were all about which phone would support 3G. The iPhone was actually one of the later ones to support the standard in the US because of AT&T’s slow rollout of 3G service.

Marketers noticed two things. First, that people wanted 3G. Second, that there was no law stopping them from calling something “4G.” By 2010, cell providers had made some improvements to the way 3G worked and started calling it 4G.

By this time though, the 3GPP (which to this day still stubbornly refuses to change its name) had come up with its own standards for real 4G. They then moved on to focus on a new technology. Given their penchant for clunky names, it’s no surprise that it was called the “Long Term Evolution of the Global System for Mobile communications.” When it was finally implemented in the US, it was referred to as “LTE.”

5G was another reboot of the whole thing​

5G was created by the 3GPP and other bodies as a total reboot of the cell phone system. Its goal was to put data first and voice second, and it does that. The lofty goals of 5G have, so far, been impossible to implement nationwide, but there are pockets of the country where you can actually get 600-800 megabits per second from your phone.

But, none of this explains Xfinity 10G. So let’s talk about that.​

Xfinity is, of course, one of the larger internet providers in the country. While internet service in the US lagged behind other countries for many years, the last 5-6 years have seen real growth in internet speeds. Today it’s quite common for regular homes to have service rated for a max speed of 300 megabits per second. Only a decade ago, that speed was reserved for large data centers.

Note that I say “rated for.” Because it’s true, you may get a speed test of 300Mbps, but your real world speeds probably won’t be higher than 60 or 70. That’s because the real key to advertising these faster speeds is hoping that everyone won’t use the thing at the same time. Each neighborhood has a maximum speed limit, and once it’s reached the individual users start seeing a slowdown. Realistically this happens almost 100% of the time now.

Xfinity has reworked their in-home hardware so that instead of a max speed of 300 megabits per second, you can theoretically reach 10,000 megabits per second (or 10 gigabits per second, that’s just another way of saying the same thing.) You will absolutely never get this speed in a real world application, but theoretically you could.

They know a G isn’t a G but they hope you don’t.​

There is absolutely no correlation between Xfinity’s 10 gigabit service (which they advertise as 10G) and fifth generation cellular service (which is commonly called 5G.) But they hope you don’t know that. They hope you see a commercial for 10G and say “hey, that’s got to be twice as good as 5G.” But one thing is a home internet service and the other is a cell service. Still, it’s good marketing, and as I said, it’s not illegal to do it.

But do you really want to work with a company that does stuff like that?​

If you want to know what your choices are for residential internet, you can find out easily. This rather sparse page will tell you if other internet providers serve your area. Or, if you want real customer service call us at 888-233-7563. Our team will recommend the best solution for you, the solution that provides a real internet speed you’re likely to get and just maybe, a service that doesn’t try to mislead you before you even buy.

Call us, use the chat button at the lower right of this article, or fill out the form below.

The post How can Xfinity advertise 10G service? appeared first on The Solid Signal Blog.

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