1614383899 5g vs 4g key differences between networks

5G vs. 4G: Key Differences Between Networks Explained

Despite the ongoing epidemic and the recently released rumors about the dangers of the fifth generation, the fifth generation of mobile networking is here and is becoming more prominent day by day. With remote working in 2020 and growth in 2021, the rollout of 5G network coverage may come quickly, as we are expecting more activities to happen online. Already, all three major carriers have rolled out their nationwide network and are ready to expand and improve them over the next few years.

Can live 5 In the end Change the way we use technology. But is it really worth upgrading your 4G phone? It’s time to find out what you need to know about 5G technology and see if it really is everything it should be.

5G vs 4G: Speed

We have seen how fast 5G is before, but not a specific speed we can expect. Instead, think of 5G as offering a speed limit, and the actual speed you get will depend on which network you are connecting to, how busy it is, what device you are using. , And some other factors. This table gives you a rough idea of ​​the maximum speed of each generation of cell network technology and the average speed in the real world:

The generation2g3g3G HSPA +4g4G LTE-A5g
Max speed0.3Mbps7.2 mbps42Mbps150Mbps300Mbps-1Gbps1-10Gbps
Average speed0.1Mbps1.5Mbps5Mbps10Mbps15Mbps-50Mbps50Mbps and above

Perhaps the above average speed row is more important than the maximum speed column – considering the fact that the maximum speed here is theoretical, and you’ll probably never hit those download speeds.

The topic is also complicated by the variety of different technologies that are used in each generation, the geographical differences in coverage, and the fact that the technology continues to evolve and improve over time. For example, 4G has greatly improved its lifespan with the development of LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and then LTE-A (Long-Term Evolution Advanced). You can theoretically get up to 1 Gbps with the development of the latest 4G LTE-A, which supplies 5G. The average speed you get in the real world will inevitably be very low.

To put that speed in some kind of context, 1Gbps (gigabits per second) is 1,000Mbps (megabits per second). Misleading, megabits differ from megabytes – megabytes (MB) have 8 megabytes (MB). So, 1Gbps is converted to 125MB per second. An MP3 file can be 5 MB, while a TV episode can be 350 MB, and a Blu-ray film will be 15 GB (15,000 MB) or more. If you actually have a 1Gbps connection, you can potentially download a Full HD Blu-ray quality movie in two minutes.

If you actually have a 1Gbps connection, you can potentially download a Full HD Blu-ray quality movie in two minutes.

While 4G is still improving, what you are getting is actually somewhere between 10Mbps and 50Mbps. If we look at Netflix‘s recommendations for streaming speed, it recommends 25 Mbps for ultra HD quality. All you need is 5Mbps for HD. With 5G the goal is to hit 50Mbps as an average minimum – however, the speed is still minimal, and the average sits around 57Mbps according to Speedcheck. It is always good to have a fast speed, but it is not really a big attraction with 5G because 4G speeds are already very good. What’s 4G is not that great with latency.

5G vs 4G: latency

Latency is the time it takes to upload your device’s data and reach its target. It measures the time it takes for the data to move from source to destination in milliseconds (ms). This is very important for applications such as gaming, where response time can have an impact on results. It can also prove to be important for self-driving cars if data is being transmitted to the cloud, and quick decisions can trigger a response in real time to break through or avoid an obstacle.

With 4G networks, you are seeing an average latency of about 50ms. Which can drop to 1ms with 5G technology. Just to give some context, it takes at least 10ms for an image seen by the human eye to be processed by the brain. Low latency is important for real-time responses in machines or cars, and may also make cloud gaming possible. Gamers can play through their phones on remote phones, as Google’s services such as Stadia and Blade’s Shadow are suggesting. 1ms latency is what you can expect, as is possible in near-perfect scenarios. The average latency you can expect at 5G will likely be around 10ms.

Improving latency may prove to be the real driver of 5G adoption, but there are many challenges ahead.

5G vs 4G: Coverage

Verizon 5g node
Verizon 5G node. Julian Chokkattu /

It has taken years for the 4G network to spread worldwide, and still many rural areas rely on 3G networks. Even where there is 4G coverage, speeds vary quite widely. We expect a full rollout of the 5G network to take some time; However, all three major carriers have made some very big progress in 5G coverage in the last few months. All three major carriers now offer “nationwide” networks based on sub-6 spectrum, and are set to build those networks with other spectrum and broader coverage next year.

For the non-irrigated, 5G is designed with a full array of different radio frequencies. Sub-6 refers to frequencies under 6GHz, and these waves can typically travel long distances but may not support ultra-high download speeds. At the other end of the spectrum is the mmWave, which provides huge download speeds, but cannot go far or distinguish obstacles.

Initially, Verizon employed mmWave for its 5G network, and as such you can actually connect to Verizon 5G in certain areas of certain cities. Thankfully, the company now uses Sub-6 for its nationwide network, which is somewhat T-Mobile from the beginning.

Other differences between 5G and 4G

Samsung galaxy s10 5g hands-on
Julian Chokkattu /

To take advantage of 5G, we do not need only carriers to install network equipment. We also need to buy devices such as the Motorola Edge Plus (exclusive to Verizon), which are capable of supporting 5G. If you have picked up one of the latest 5G handsets, you can enjoy 5G speeds depending on where you live. But if your phone is older, then you need to consider an upgrade for these faster speeds. The first batch of 5G smartphones are here, and some great options are already available, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G or OnePlus 8 Pro. It is also worth noting that 5G is likely to be much more demanding in terms of power, and therefore battery life, which is already an issue for many, may be even worse.

5G does not mean 4G

Many of us still rely on 3G when 4G is not available, and the same will happen with 5G. The idea that 5G is a direct replacement for 4G is incorrect. In fact, it is a complementary technique. With two people working in concert, we should be able to be good or at least decent wherever we are.

It is also important to remember that carriers continue to upgrade 4G networks, and that both download speed and latency can be further improved. Even though carriers are spending more time and resources on 5G networks, 4G networks will continue to improve.

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