Technology 4 min read

5G vs 4G: What's the Difference?

5G network developments have been all over the news lately. But, what's the difference between 5G vs 4G? Here we go through everything you need to know about the future of 5G.

5G is set to take the world by storm this year. But, what exactly is the difference between 5G and 4G? | Image By FrankHH | Shutterstock

5G is set to take the world by storm this year. But, what exactly is the difference between 5G and 4G? | Image By FrankHH | Shutterstock

Although still in development, 2019 will be the year of 5G. But, with that said, what even is 5G? The first thing you should know is 5G is ten times faster than 4G. The second thing you should know is that no matter where you are, it’s coming soon.

Read More:  First 5G Network Standard Finally Approved

What is 5G?

Simply put, 5G is the future of the internet. With an improvement in speed, reliability, and coverage, the 5G network is expected to replace the current 4G network entirely.

But 4G works just fine, you could argue. Why replace something that works like a charm?

Although it works fine now, one thing that makes the 5G vs 4G change necessary — The Internet of Things.

As technology evolves, a growing number of devices demand internet access. Whether it’s the self-driving car or your home lock, there’s a higher demand for more bandwidth that demands the 5G vs 4G change.

Enter 5G with its unique antennas and radio spectrum frequencies. It not only connects more devices to the Internet, but at ultra-fast speeds.

How is it different from 4G, you ask?

5G vs 4G — The Basic Difference

4G may work fine for loading your Twitter feed, but your self-driving car is going to need far more of an Internet boost. | Image via Primex Technologies Inc.

Since 5G is fundamentally different, we can’t call it a 4G improvement or an upgrade of the current network. Instead, think of it as something unique. Here is the reason.

Thanks to 5G’s unique radio frequencies, this network can achieve things that 4G can only dream of. While 4G uses frequencies below 6GHz, 5G’s bands allow it to move up into higher frequencies that range from 30GHz to 300GHz.

Simply put, the higher frequencies give 5G  a high capacity for fast data, increased bandwidth demands, and the ability to use 5G next to other wireless signals without risk of interference.

Since 5G uses a shorter wavelength, it doesn’t require a large antenna to provide precise directional control.

Also, it allows one base station use more directional antennas than 4G. As a result, 5G is capable of supporting over 1,000 more devices per meter than the current network.

Sounds great, don’t you think? There’s just one little problem.

While having a super-high frequency is impressive, it requires a direct line between the antenna and device to function. In other words, your 5G smartphone must be in a clear line of sight with the antenna to enjoy the super high frequencies.

Besides, some of the high frequencies are easily absorbed by environmental elements such as humidity and rain, as well as other objects. Hence, they do not travel very far.

How Fast is 5G Compared With 4G?

When considering peak download speed, 5G is twenty times faster than 4G. Compared with 4G’s 1Gb/s, 5G has a minimum peak download of 20Gb/s.

That means, when downloading a 1-gigabyte movie on a 5G network, you could download twenty before 4G delivers one.

But that’s theoretical. Since 5G isn’t widely available yet, it’s hard to pinpoint a realistic speed. However, most tests placed the average speed at 1Gb/s.

Since 4G’s average speed is 100Mb/s, we can safely say that 5G is still ten times faster.

What Can 5G Do That 4G Can’t?

Since 5G can carry more data faster than 4G, it provides quick access to information. As such, it allows you to connect to everyday devices such as smartphones, laptops, security cameras, etc.

Also, it supports any other internet-enabled device such as a car to-car-communication, wireless sensors, smart traffic lights, etc.

When is 5G Coming?

Networks in the United States have already announced their intentions to switch to 5G. Also, smartphone manufacturers are expected to release 5G devices within the next couple of months.

Although there’s no official release date for 5G, unfolding events point at a rollout in late 2019 and early 2020.

Do you think 5G will have some unforeseen problems?

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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