A First Look at Commercial 5G Performance on Smartphones

Arvind Narayanan, Eman Ramadan, Jason Carpenter, Qingxu Liu, Yu Liu, Feng Qian, Zhi-Li Zhang

We conduct to our knowledge a first measurement study of commercial 5G performance on smartphones by closely examining 5G networks of three carriers (two mmWave carriers, one mid-band carrier) in three U.S. cities. We conduct extensive field tests on 5G performance in diverse urban environments. We systematically analyze the handoff mechanisms in 5G and their impact on network performance. We explore the feasibility of using location and possibly other environmental information to predict the network performance. We also study the app performance (web browsing and HTTP download) over 5G. Our study consumes more than 15 TB of cellular data. Conducted when 5G just made its debut, it provides a "baseline" for studying how 5G performance evolves, and identifies key research directions on improving 5G users' experience in a cross-layer manner. We have released the data collected from our study (referred to as 5Gophers) at https://fivegophers.umn.edu/www20.

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