5G vs 4G: What’s the difference?

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The big difference between 5G and 4G

For the first time ever, 5g phone sales have surpassed 4G phone sales. We’re increasingly coming into contact with 5G. So what's different?

The main difference between 4G and 5G is speed! We're sure you don't need to be told that, but exactly how much quicker is it? Why do we need it? How much of a difference will that make to you tangibly?

Let's find out.

What exactly is 5G?

When 4G came along, it was a direct upgrade to 3G and has now completely replaced it. 5G isn't quite the same. 5G technology seeks to add another layer to the already existing 4G network, specifically around the busiest UK cities.

5G is quicker than 4G

Here’s a quick comparison of 4G vs 5G speeds:

  • 4G download speed - 25.9 Mbps

  • 5G download speed - 133.5 Mbps

(Source: Statista)

To put this into context, a full HD movie takes just 2-3 minutes on a 5G network compared to 15 minutes on a 4G network.

We can clearly see that 5G is faster – but why? It comes down to three key factors:

  1. Higher frequencies – which allows for faster data transfer speeds.

  2. Advanced technology – 5G networks utilise advanced technologies such as massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), beamforming, and small cell deployments.

  3. Low latency: 5G networks offer significantly lower latency compared to 4G.

The latency in 5G areas drops from 30-40 ms to as low as 10ms. You might notice your phone feels a lot faster doing daily tasks – such as browsing the web, opening apps, streaming and sending videos.

The near-instant connectivity makes 5G especially good for online games, and even things like augmented reality will become seamless and the latency will be imperceptible.

Are there any downsides to 5G?

It's not all better though, the trade-off from having all that speedy connectivity is reduced wireless range.

The big reason why 5G can have almost zero latency is due to the shorter wavelengths, called millimetre waves it uses. They're a lot shorter than the 4G waves, and consequently, we run into the following issue:

4G can carry data about 10 miles (16.0934 Kilometres)

5G, by comparison, has a range of 1000 feet (304.8 Metres)

That's not even 2% of 4G's range!

A significant amount of towers and antennas will be needed for 5G to cover distances, and doing so in a city like London would come with a considerable cost. This is one of the main reasons 5G hasn’t quite replaced 4G yet.

The best way to look at 5G is by seeing it as a superfast urban supplement to the 4G network. It eases congestion with its massive bandwidth and incredibly fast yet shorter range.

Areas not yet covered by 5G can still rely on the serviceably quick but much longer range of 4G. A bit like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah!

Are you ready to take advantage of 5G?

The advantages of a 5G speed are enormous – but is your business taking full advantage of it?

If your workforce is mobile and needs to be connected on the go, it might be time to start thinking about 5G connectivity.

Partnering with a trusted advisor can streamline the transition, ensuring a smoother switch and enabling you to capitalise on the advantages of 5G. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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