3G, 4G, 5G, what does the G mean? It refers to the generation of cellular network technology. Every decade, the cellular industry performs a major upgrade to its wireless infrastructure. It’s more than just how much faster it is (just because it’s a new generation doesn’t mean that it’s just “faster”). There’s a lot more that goes into it like different protocols, different specifications, and different frequencies. So let’s go ahead and learn more about 4G v/s 5G: the difference between these cellular network generations.
Let’s learn a bit about 3G first-
Even though it’s not very relevant let’s just quickly go through it. 3G is probably the first one that many people became aware of because the iPhone 3G came out. When it first came out, it was pretty darn slow, it had a speed of around 200 kilobits (kbps) per second which would be 0.2 megabits per second. However, over time the 3G technology did improve and these days 3G speed can be anywhere up like 20 megabits per second or more. 3G is pretty old news these days and people are more interested in knowing about 5G and the difference between 4G v/s 5G.
The key difference between 4G v/s 5G:
Now that we have learned a little bit about 3G, let’s go ahead and see the major breakdowns between the two networking technologies.
In most conversations about 5G, speed is often a spec that is used to differentiate it from 4G. And it makes sense as every generation of the network has been better than the previous one, in terms of speed.
5G has the potential to be 100 times faster than 4G. With 5G reaching 10 gigabits per second, it can deliver the level of performance needed for an increasingly connected society. 5G was designed to provide more capacity for social media, video streaming, and other things we are already doing today, but also for new innovative cases such as securely streaming high-quality video from an ambulance to the hospital and enabling a range of new types of smart devices and industry digitalization.
Latency is a measure of the time it takes a packet of information to travel between two points. Better performance with 5G also means a lower latency rate. Latency in 4G networks is currently about 50 milliseconds, while 5G networks are expected to shrink that to an impressive 1 millisecond.
Using 5G networks to send and receive information quickly will help develop new services and devices. Particularly connected cars and vehicle-to-vehicle information (aka V2X), virtual-reality gaming, remote surgical operations, and translation software.
Even after a decade of 4G, there are still remote and rural areas around the world that have poor 4G coverage. 5G is just getting started, and so its coverage is essentially non-existent outside of a handful of major cities. 4G will offer essential support to the 5G networks and act as a bridge between the major cities.
5G will take several years to reach a level of coverage similar to 4G, and it will have different implementations (high-, medium-, and low-band 5G), each with its own speed and bandwidth. Currently, 5G can be found in total of about 100 cities in the U.S. Even among those 100 cities, coverage is limited and only offers solid performance in some parts of the town.
What kind of devices can 5G v/s 4G connect?
4G was a great leap forward, allowing people to stream music and video on the go. 5G is designed to connect many more types of devices than smartphones. While 4G provided a one-size-fits-all kind of connectivity, where every device got the same service, technology takes it to a new level.
For a smart watch that runs on a small battery, 5G can provide a connection that consumes very little energy. For an industrial robot, 5G can provide an extremely stable and fast connection. This is important as in the future, we’ll see different types of connected devices. And most of them will require connections with different levels of performance and characteristics.
Different capabilities of 4G v/s 5G networks:
While 4G networks were mostly designed for phones, 5G networks were designed for much more flexible use. It replacing the need for many special-purpose networks. They can even function as many separate networks – all at the same time.
This cool 5G technology is called “network slicing”. Slices of the network can be tailored for a specific purpose and act as its own independent network. Each slice can optimize the characteristics that are needed for a specific service without wasting resources on things it doesn’t need. It’s the smart 5G Core that makes slicing possible, which also guarantees the connection and performance that each slice was set up to deliver.
I hope this article was helpful and knowledgeable. If it was then do let us know in the comments down below. Feel free to tell us what else would you like to read about. Also, if you’re interested in similar articles, then here are a few recommendations for you guys.
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