4G vs 5G : What’s the difference?

girl frustration of poor mobile signal in office
girl frustration of poor mobile signal in office

The advancement of communication technology has seen us transition from 2G to 3G, then to 4G, and now 5G. As the world prepares for the next generation of mobile networks, it’s important to understand the differences between 4G and 5G and what you can expect from this next generation. In this article, we’re going to  explore the characteristics, capabilities, and potential impact of 4G and 5G networks.

Before we get too far into the topic, let’s start with a quick look at what the G stands for in communication technology. Quite simply it stands for Generation – with the G being used as an identifier for which generation we are on, starting with 2G, to 3G right up to 5G or the fifth generation (or iteration) of mobile communication technology. 

If you are interested in boosting your 4G or 5G signal, for signal boosting technology the key is the frequencies that each generation of technology operates on, for 4G the main frequency will be 800MHz, whilst 5G will operate on 2600MHz and 700MHz when it becomes available, which was the old spectrum that TV broadcasted on before the digital switch off.

The best signal boosters to buy for boosting 4G or 5G will have 4-5 bands for self install and up to 15 bands for a commercial booster installation. These bands allow you to boost either 4G or 5G at any time.

So let’s have a look at what sets 4G and 5G apart;

  1. Speed and Latency:
    One of the biggest differences between 4G and 5G is speed. While 4G networks can provide download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, 5G can deliver speeds ranging from 1-10 Gbps, which is significantly faster. The reduced latency in 5G networks enhances responsiveness, making it ideal for real-time applications like gaming and autonomous vehicles. While 4G was an incredible feat for its time, we are seeing more demand for better speeds as we move to a more digitally integrated way of life. 
  2. Capacity and Network Congestion:
    With the increasing number of connected devices and data reliant applications, network congestion has become a huge concern for both users and network providers. 5G offers a significant increase in capacity compared to 4G, because of its higher frequency spectrum and improved infrastructure. This simply means that 5G networks can handle more devices running simultaneously, reducing congestion and providing a seamless user experience.
  3. Internet of Things (IoT):
    The rise of IoT devices has increased the demand for a network that can handle massive numbers of connections and transmit data efficiently. While 4G provides IoT support, 5G is specifically designed to cater to the demands of IoT applications. With its low latency, high capacity, and energy-efficient features, 5G can facilitate the seamless connectivity required for smart homes, cities, and industries.
  4. Latency and Responsiveness:
    When we talk about latency, we are talking about the delay between sending and receiving data. 4G networks typically have a latency of around 30-50 milliseconds, whereas 5G offers an incredibly low latency of 1 millisecond. This near real-time responsiveness is essential for applications such as remote surgery, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR), where instantaneous communication is critical. Without improved latency, seen with 5G, we would not be able to integrate future technologies reliably. 
  5. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB):
    5G technology enables enhanced mobile broadband experiences with higher data rates, improved coverage, and increased network capacity. This means faster download and upload speeds, higher-quality video streaming, and smoother browsing experiences, even in built-up or densely populated areas.
  6. Network Infrastructure:
    To fully imagine the capabilities of 5G, the network infrastructure also needs to evolve. This will include the installation of small cell sites and increased deployments of fiber optic cables. While 4G networks rely primarily on macrocell towers, 5G requires a denser network of small cells to ensure broad coverage and high-speed connectivity.
  7. Battery Life:
    5G technology offers power-saving features and more efficient network signaling, leading to improved battery life for connected devices. While 4G networks can strain device batteries, 5G’s optimized energy consumption is groundbreaking, especially with the growing number of IoT devices and wearables. No more wondering if your battery will survive the train journey! 
  8. Coverage and Deployment:
    4G networks have achieved widespread coverage in many regions globally, while 5G is still in the early stages of roll-out. Initial 5G rollouts are concentrated in urban areas, with a gradual expansion in coverage over time, similar to what we experienced with fiber optic broadband. However, despite its limited coverage, 5G’s benefits are expected to be significant, and it is anticipated to expand rapidly in the coming years.

The transition from 4G to 5G brings substantial improvements in speed, latency, capacity, and responsiveness. The enhanced capabilities of 5G offer exciting possibilities for a wide range of industries and applications, from IoT devices and autonomous vehicles to augmented reality and remote healthcare. 

As 5G continues its rollout and the supporting  infrastructure expands, users can look forward to a future with faster, more reliable, and transformative connectivity. Understanding the differences between 4G and 5G is essential for individuals and businesses to grasp the full potential of the next generation of mobile networks and how they will support future technologies.

Also Read: Most Common Uses for Signal Boosters in the UK

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The Mobile Signal Solutions Team is a group of highly skilled and celfi certified professionals providing reliable communication solutions for businesses. With extensive experience in the field and a passion for staying at the forefront of technology, our team has established as an expert in the industry. In addition to our core services, we also share our expertise and industry knowledge through our blog writing. Our blog covers topics related to mobile signal solutions, technology, and best practices to help businesses stay informed and connected.