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Verizon upgrades San Francisco with C-band, opens new lab


Verizon has been steadily upgrading local markets with 5G Ultra Wideband and today it announced network upgrades for San Francisco.


So far this month, Verizon announced network upgrades in Jacksonville, Florida; Portland, Oregon; Birmingham, Alabama; Knoxville, Tennessee; Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.


The company said that in San Francisco, 80% of the population is now covered with 5G Ultra Wideband, which is mostly comprised of Verizon’s C-band spectrum. Verizon is using radio access network (RAN) gear from Ericsson in San Francisco.


Until this year, Verizon was restricted to using 60 MHz of C-band spectrum, but by the end of this year, it will be able to tap into 140 MHz of C-band – more than doubling the amount available for its 5G Ultra Wideband.


According to Verizon, that additional spectrum will “turbo charge” the service, offering significantly higher speeds and much greater capacity to accommodate more customers and more robust services. The company expects to get complete access to C-band spectrum in 330 markets later this year once it’s cleared.


The Ultra Wideband moniker also includes millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, the high-band spectrum that doesn’t travel far but offers super-fast speeds and massive capacity. Verizon has deployed more than 400 small cells throughout the Bay Area using mmWave.

Fiber is also in the mix. Verizon said it increased the capacity on fiber connections in many cell sites in the San Francisco area so they can carry 10 times the amount of data.


Unsurprisingly, San Francisco, where the software-defined networking movement took shape, was among the first communities in the U.S. to take advantage of edge computing technology, or mobile edge compute (MEC), where data is processed and stored much closer to the end user. That significantly reduces latency.


Engineers in San Francisco also deployed Massive MIMO and carrier aggregation to increase data speed, throughput and performance. Engineers in the Bay Area have used various combinations of spectrum and up to seven channel carrier aggregation to boost performance, according to the company.


Verizon also owns and operates a distributed antenna system (DAS) in Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors. The DAS network covers all the seating areas, the court, concourses, suites and below ground parking, as well as locker rooms and an outdoor retail area. In addition, Verizon deployed 20 mmWave nodes to cover bowl seats.

New Innovation Lab

Verizon operates Innovation Labs in Los Angeles and Boston, but it also just opened an Innovation Lab in the Bay Area.


The 27,000-square-foot facility serves as an active lab environment for development and testing. The space includes both commercial and private 5G networks and multiple RF shielded rooms and a private MEC portfolio for developers.

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