The previous decade of the 21st century was a decade of innovation in the field of technology. The world has seen massive advancements in technology, especially in the telecommunication sector. As the year 2020 is progressing, so is the newest mobile network technology, 5G. Currently, the world is experiencing the benefits of 4G technology. This is gradually getting replaced with the new and better Fifth Generation technology which comes with higher speed and better coverage.

Take a look at this chart below to learn about the major differences between a 4G network and a 5G network. Compare speed, latency, coverage and performance!

5G vs 4G

What’s The Difference And Which is Better

Generation Speed Technology Features
4G 100-300Mbps WiMax

LTE

Extremely fast download speeds

Ideal for HD Streaming.

5G 10-30Gbps Developing Ultra-fast internet

Low-latency and improved reliability.

What is the need for 5G mobile networking technology?

The simple reason for the transition from the 4G network to the 5G network is the increase in the number of devices and the demand for a better internet. Many of the devices today do not function properly with the 4G network. They require a lot more bandwidth which can only be fulfilled with a 5G network. 5G mobile networking technology

There are numerous benefits to the 5G network. It operates on different radio spectrum frequencies and can connect a lot of devices to the internet. The speed in a 5G network is much higher than what you get with a 4G network.

What exactly is the difference between the two networks?

5G versus 4G

1. 5G network uses unique radio frequencies to bring the output that 4G networks fail to bring. This is the fundamental difference between 5G and 4G.

The Fifth Generation network uses radio frequencies higher than 30 GHz. The range goes to an upper limit of up to 300 GHz. On the other hand, the currently used 4G network operates on frequencies under 6 GHz.

2. One of the most interesting things about 5G frequencies is that they can support a large capacity for fast data. They are comparatively less cluttered than the existing mobile data. They can be used next to other wireless signals with absolutely no interference. They are highly directional.

On the other hand, 4G towers fire data in multiple directions. What this means is that there is a massive waste of power and energy in the process of beaming radio waves at unwanted locations which do not even require access to the internet.

3. 5G network uses shorter wavelengths. This means that antennas can be comparatively smaller than the ones currently used and still provide accurate directional control.  Because a single base can utilize multiple directional antennas, a lot more devices can be supported by Fifth Generation connectivity in comparison to the number of devices 4G supports.

This simply justifies the fact that when the 5G network becomes available widely, it will be able to deliver superfast data to a lot more users with higher precision.

Applications of 5G network

 

4. Fifth generation networks will be smart enough to understand the type of data requested. This means that when you are surfing the internet or watching low-quality videos on your devices, the data will be rendered in low powered mode. And, when you are using HD video streaming or online video gaming, the data will be rendered in high powered mode.

5. 5G is faster than 4G. If you consider the peak speed of 4G and 5G, there is a huge difference in speed. 5G is 20 times faster than 4G. This means when the network works without any interruption, 5G speed is 20x faster than 4G.

The minimum peak download speed on a 4G network is 1Gbps while 5G connectivity is known to deliver peak download speed of 20 Gbps. This is the speed when your device has a direct connection with the tower. When you are moving around, the speed may not be the same.

6. While the current 4G network has failed to help the IOT live up to its full potential, Fifth Generation networks are capable of enabling IOT work at its best. Be it a smart vehicle to vehicle communication, smart traffic lights, smart home devices or any other modern technology, with a 5G network there are endless possibilities waiting to be explored.

Which is the better network – 5G vs 4G LTE?

5G is clearly better than 4G LTE in every way.

However, it will be unrealistic to expect 5G services to deliver full potential in terms of speed, latency, and coverage immediately. Telecom operators are still working towards improving 4th-gen LTE coverage. The rolling out of fifth generation services may still take some time. Most networks are still in development and some are looking for a launch by the end of 2020.

Will 5G work on 4G phones?

No, 5G will not work on 4G Phones. In order to make the most of 5th Generation technology and to enjoy it’s speed, you will need a new phone that supports this technology. This does not mean that your 4G phone will stop working. 4G phones will work perfectly fine. With all the people switching to 5th Generation, the 4G network is likely to get less crowded and allow you to enjoy higher speeds.

5G phone

Is 5G a stronger signal than 4G?

No, 4G is a stronger signal. But in terms of data carrying capacity over shorter distances, 5g is stronger. The way both networks function is not entirely similar. Since 5th Generation uses a shorter wavelength (millimeter waves) as compared to 4G, 5G network can carry a lot of data over a shorter distance. However, it can only carry this data at 2% of the range 4G network carries it at.

The range of 4G network is approximately 10 miles, and the range of fifth generation network is 1000 feet. This difference is stark. In order for this 5th generation of cell phone communications to work, a lot of antennas and towers would have to be built and these would have to be everywhere. The 5G network is also extremely susceptible to interference. Even a lamppost or a tree is capable of blocking 5G signals. So while the 5G signal is stronger in terms of data speed, 4G signals are stronger in terms of carrying data over a larger distance and without interference.

What does Fifth Generation mean for me?

5G will mean unprecedented data speeds. With the introduction of this technology, the need for Wifi may be rendered obsolete. To put things into context, with 5G, Internet speeds could be as high as 20 GBPS. 4G speeds can generally go as high as 45 MBPS. Reaching speeds of 1 GBPS on 4G technology is only considered theoretically possible. Even at 1 GBPS, 4G at its peak only offers data speeds that are considered to be on the lower end of the spectrum in comparison to 5G.

5G download speedSo this means ultra fast download speed. Downloading a Netflix movie will take a couple of minutes at most. Lags and buffering will be completely eliminated by the 5th Generation, thus improving video streaming and gaming experiences. Latency will be at its lowest, allowing a stronger, more reliable connection, thus opening up a plethora of possibilities.

5G technology will also finally help in realizing the potential of IoT devices. This means self driving cars, power saving lamp posts, drone deliveries, traffic managing signals and real-time automated parking assistants are all expected to be a part of our daily lives. Fifth generation will lead to an extremely connected world. A world that is much faster than it can be imagined.

When was it introduced in the USA?

When was 5G introduced in USA? Verizon introduced 5G technology in the USA, in April 2019. The technology was piloted in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. Verizon subsequently launched this 5th generation  technology in Denver, Washington, New York and 30 other major American cities.

Why is 5G Dangerous?

5G is not dangerous for your health.

5G, 4G and all other preceding networks emit a radio frequency radiation. However, this radiation is non-ionizing. Apart from creating warmth, non-ionizing radiation is harmless for all intents and purposes. When it is said that radiation can be a health hazard, causing burns, cancer and other genetic damage, it is addressed to Ionizing radiation that is caused by nuclear energy.

RF Radiation for decades has been used in TV, Radio and other networks and due to its non-ionizing nature, it is not dangerous at all. Fifth generation network is absolutely safe for your health.

Which countries have banned Fifth Generation technology?

No country has banned the deployment of 5G technology. Brussels in Belgium has halted the roll out of the 5th Generation technology to study its effects. However, the rest of Belgium and European Union are in the process of either launching or expanding their 5G network.

What is the bandwidth of 5th generation mobile technology?

5G is reported to have at least ten times the bandwidth as compared to 4G technology. The theoretical top speed possible for 4G is 100 MBPS. 5G technology theoretically promises a top speed of 10 GBPS, which is a 10x improvement.

For the unversed, this would mean a 2 hour movie would take under 5 seconds to download on 5G. The same movie would take 6-8 minutes on 4G and more than 24 hours on 3G.

Is it good for streaming? – 5G vs 4G

Most Optimal Network for Streaming

Fifth generation will be the most optimal network for streaming. Downloading movies will be a matter of seconds, with ultra low latency and no issue in buffering. You can not only stream movies and sports without lag, but you can also view them in 4K+ quality. 5th Generation communication technology is also considered to be the go-to technology for VR and Augmented Reality, as fifth generation’s speed works without any restrictions on quality and file size.

5G streaming

Can it stream 4K?

With the super high speeds and stable connection that 5th generation of cellular mobile communications delivers, yes it’s possible. 5G will soon be the go to technology for streaming in 4k from the comfort of your living room. In fact, 5G will not only be able to stream 4k, but also 8k technology, and even while you’re travelling. This is due to the decongestion of the network on 5G technology, thus eliminating any latency and buffering issues you would face otherwise while streaming on 4th Generation.

See also: Is 5G Better for Streaming Video and Music?

What are the applications for 5th Generation technology?

IoT

5G technology with its great speed and reliability will have many applications. 5G technology will allow IoT (Internet of Things) devices to communicate with each other, paving the way for autonomous inventions (self-driving cars), drone deliveries, smart car parking and traffic lights that manage traffic. 5G is also going to help the medical industry make great inroads in technology. Remote controlled robotic surgeries are also being made possible with 5G technology. VR & Augmented Reality in entertainment and gaming is another path breaking application of 5G communications technology.

Why are people talking about 6G already?

All the talks about 6G technology are taking place because the developments with fifth generation technology are already very successful and creating sixth generation technology means building on what fifth generation already offers.

Cellular technology has to keep evolving to keep up with the needs of the ever changing world. While 5G is only just getting launched across the world. The discussion about developing 6G technology is already happening to interpret and operate on an even higher radio frequency than 5th-gen technology. Developing sixth-gen technology would help in a much higher computing power, which will help in making improvements in a lot of sectors. For example, 6G would play a big part in improving public safety.

4G vs 5G vs 6G Network Comparison

6G with its predicted 1 TBPS speeds would be ideal for threat detection, health monitoring, facial and behavioral recognition, and air pollution and gas toxicity measurements. Research and development of 6G technology will start in 2020, and the earliest commercial deployment is expected in 2030.

Does it use more battery life?

No, 5G does not need more battery or power than 4G network. Using 5G may seem like your battery life is draining out faster. This is due to the limited coverage of 5G service areas. As fifth generation network coverage increases, the switching between signals would drop drastically thus conserving your battery life. A super fast, low latency network would allow the data to be processed on the network and not the device. This would allow a larger conservation of power (as high as 90%) on 5G network as compared to fourth generation.

How can I improve My 4G, LTE, or 5G signal?

To improve your 4G or LTE signals, it’s imperative to check the condition of your phone. Ensure the software on your phone is updated, and services like WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC are turned off as they can eat into your bandwidth. Restart your phone’s connection by turning on airplane mode and turning it off, as it will enable your phone to reconnect to a strong cell phone signal. If you are still struggling with a poor 4G or LTE signal, reset your network settings or manually select your network operator.

phone signalSometimes, it is not your phone but your location that causes poor connectivity. If you are in a location with poor signal, move up a floor or to a higher ground, as buildings and trees can obstruct signals. And being at a higher ground allows you to connect to a cell phone tower with a stronger signal. Going to a window or stepping outside can also help you get a stronger signal from the cell tower, as the signal is unlikely to be blocked by the walls of your building/house, and you will be able to receive a direct signal from the cell tower. If poor signal is a common occurrence and the problem is not your phone, switch to a carrier that offers better connectivity in the area you reside.

This 5th generation of mobile communications works best with no obstruction. So locating the 5G tower and positioning yourself in the line of sight with the tower is guaranteed to improve your 5G signal. Even the furniture in your room can disrupt your 5G signal. Apps like Opensignal help in locating your nearest 5G signal. If you are using a high-band, you can mostly see the tower, so position yourself accordingly.

If you have the first wave of 5G phones, it is quite likely you have an old modem. These old modems are not compatible with different 5G signals and can be very restrictive. Upgrade to a phone with a newer modem, like the Oneplus 7T pro 5G.

Pick your network carrier wisely. While Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, all offer fifth generation technology, base your decision on the city you live in and which carrier has the strongest presence. Also, 5G is new technology, so being patient is key as setting up towers is a time consuming process. So the patient you are, the better your 5G experience will be.

Who has the most 5G coverage?

T-Mobile

T-Mobile launched a nationwide roll out of the 5G network in December 2019, and has the most expansive and inclusive network in the USA. T-Mobile’s 5G network is said to cover 60% of Americans, higher than all other American network carriers.

What type of radiation does 5G emit?

Low Frequency RF Signals

The radio waves used in this 5th generation of cellular mobile communications technology are low frequency. These are low frequency RF signals and they emit a non-ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation is on the opposite end of the electromagnetic spectrum, as opposed to ionizing radiation sources like UV Rays, X-Rays and Gamma Rays. Ionizing radiation can certainly cause genetic damage, burns and cancers. But non-ionizing radiation isn’t strong enough to heat your body, damage your cells or weaken your immune system in any way.

5G Radiation

RF signals have been used in radio and television broadcasts, along with former network technologies like 2G, 3G and 4G. They all emit a harmless non-ionizing radiation and 5G is no different.

Will 5th Generation technology be necessary for self driving cars?

Yes. Self-driving cars are the future. This would help greatly reduce human error that leads to about 80% of all accidents. But for self-driving cars to become a reality, a very intensive investment would have to be made for these autonomous vehicles to interpret traffic and infrastructure. Great speed and low latency is the key to making self driving cars a reality, as only then would a V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle communication) between vehicles come into effect. Which would then allow cars to share information about route and speed. A widespread availability of fifth generation technology is critical to develop and launch self-driving cars.

Is it the future of the connected cars?

Yes, 5G is the future of connected cars. While autonomous, self-drive cars are still some years away. Connected cars have made a foray into our daily lives. 5G technology can improve connected cars in optimizing and maintaining their performance. It can also enhance navigation systems and improve the safety, convenience, comfort and entertainment of its passengers.

Connected Cars and 5G network

5G technology with its reliability, great speeds and low latency allows cars to interact with other cars. The technology also enables cars to interact with other devices, be it at home, workplace or cloud systems to create a great driving experience. 5G technology is also the future when it comes to enabling remote driving. Prototypes for these have already been tested.