Rootmetrics found surprisingly little difference between indoor and outdoor performance in mid-band 5G at 3.5 GHz.mmWave gets clobbered by many kinds of walls and windows. Apparently, that's much less of a problem at 3.5 GHz. A team conducted hundreds of tests in Korea, the best independent study yet. The data on 5G downloads:


  • Indoor speed (out of 30 locations): 204 Mbps to 401 Mbps (median speeds)

  • Outdoor speed: 160 Mbps to 457 Mbps

  • Drive speed: 163 Mbps to 431 Mbps

Rootmetrics has done the best survey yet, but like all studies there are limits.

To begin with, wireless performance varies enormously, so a huge sample is required. I was particularly interested in the indoor results, which have not previously been reported. The result through multiple walls in an office building will be different than next to the window of a McDonalds. Suzanth generously explained their methodology and how they strive for accuracy. I was convinced the work is good. 

We've all seen reports of 700-1000 megabit results. Midband 5G with 100 MHz of spectrum puts out as much as 2000 megabits shared. 1000 Mbps is definitely possible in the right position when few others are on the network. That's why it's so important to get average speeds.

The 204 Mbps to 401 Mbps number originally confused me. Rootmetrics has several data sets because they are trying to compare the performance of the phones and the networks. One cohort had a 204 Mbps median and another a 401 Mbps median. 

The median latency was 32 ms, although 5% of the tests found 19 ms or below, That's consistent with data from around the world, usually within 25-35 ms. 

Open Signal, working with data from thousands of phones running speed tests, found a median 5G speed of <200 Mbps. (The discrepancy is why I looked so closely.) The difference could be that people with poor performance were more likely to run speed tests. I'll be looking closely.

Since the variation is so wide, I've been saying typical speeds of mid-band are 100-400 Mbps, If I see more data like this, I may be accurate saying 100-500 Mbps