5G is out and it’s been available for quite some time now, but what exactly is it and is there a major difference from 4G? 5G (an abbreviation for fifth-generation) is a new way of connecting to the internet via mobile networking. It provides greater download speed, faster data sharing, and less congestion.
How exactly is 5G different from 4G?
One of the obvious differences between the two, is speed. 5G can be up to 100 times faster in comparison to 4G. With this kind of speed you can download 3 hours worth of films in 15 seconds, whereas with 4G this would probably take an average of 10 minutes.
The reason why 5G is so fast is because it’s built on super high frequency airwaves, known as high-band spectrum. And because of this high frequency, it can transmit a lot more data than 4G. Although the high frequency provides speed, the signals that travel on them can’t go very far. They can’t get through walls, windows or any hard surfaces. Therefore, networks who provide 5G install a bunch of small cell sites on towers and street lights.
|Average Speed||25 mbps||200-400 mbps|
If too many devices are trying to connect to the same network within the same area, this can cause congestion. The infrastructure of the network can’t handle so many devices at once. This then leads to slower data speeds and videos taking a lifetime to download.
With 5G, this problem is solved. It has a higher bandwidth limit than 4G. This means better connections for phones and the ability to connect as many devices to the network.
|Bandwidth||200 mbps||> 1 gbps|
Latency is the time it takes devices to communicate with each other or with the server that’s sending the information. For example, the time between when you send an email and when the recipient receives it. 4G already has low latency, however, with 5G it’s basically zero. There is still research being done to get the latency to about 1 – 2 milliseconds, which would be game changing. For instance, this can allow self driving cars to better communicate over the internet and send signals to the car instantaneously.
|Latency||20-30 milliseconds||< 10 milliseconds|
5G on PC
Right now 5G is mostly on smartphones, primarily because they can be used both indoors and outdoors. They can benefit both from sub-6 and mmWave 5G signals, which are mainly available in outdoor environments. But 5G can be all about PCs soon, There’s massive market research firms that are testing the compatibility of it on computers.
Nevertheless, with that being said 5G is still a ways away from being universal. In other words, it could take up to 6 – 8 years for it to catch up to the commonality of 4G’s footprint. It’s cell sites will need to be much closer together than 4G and in more places in order for it to work effectively. As of right now it’s only compatible with particular phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, LG V50 and the iPhone 12. Hopefully when more devices start offering 5G and consumers naturally upgrade to the new phones, we might see 5G cell cites in more areas.
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