One of the most discussed topics in the telecom industry globally is the emergence of 5G wireless networks. Despite several speculations, not many truly understand it. Although 5G hopes to bring numerous benefits, many still think the 4g technology is better. Hence, this guide aims to do justice to this debate of 5g vs. 4g. Relax and enjoy.
The Key technology
I am aware you can’t wait to get down to the difference between the 4g and 5g technology. However, to foster a better understanding of the difference, it’s best we start from scratch. So, what are the key technologies used in 4g and 5g.
Unlike 2g and 3g systems which makes use of CDMA, TDMA and FDMA, 4g makes use of OFDMA and other new technology (Single Carrier FDMA, Interleaved FDMA, and Multi-carrier CDMA) as channels access schemes.
5g is a remarkable invention for the wireless communications niche. The aim of this technology is to provide an internet connection that is at least 40 times faster than the 4g LTE. It makes use of a number of spectrum bands such as millimetre wave (mmWave) radio spectrum which can move large volume of data to a short distance. Also, 5g has a network functions virtualization (NFV) which is a network architecture concept which depends on IT technology to virtualize all classes of network node functions that connects and improve communication services.
Terms used in 5G Architecture.
Since this guide is about the difference between 5g and 4g we will only list the terms frequently used in 5g architecture . They include:
- Network slicing
- RAN virtualization,
- Cloud Ran
- Voice over NGN
- Front hauling
- Spectrum efficiency
- New radio
4G vs. 5G (What the experts think)
5g being the latest network technology is expected to expand mobile network capacity just as 4g did with 3g. According to tech pundits, both 4g and 5g are great network technology, but what separates the two is connectivity. The company explained that connectivity is the standard metric for measuring the quality, strength, and value of the internet. Hence, some experts predicted that there would be a significant shift in terms of the speed between 5g and 4g.
Besides connectivity, what makes a network technology superb is its travel speed, distance, and population since they determine how devices interact with the network. However, many experts predict that the 5g network would be more efficient in these aspects as it hopes to bring about better speed, mobility, energy, and range of service.
Likewise, the experts predict that 5g would be more efficient since it hopes to consume less power. 5g can also connect millions of people living in highly populated cities without any speed issues. With this kind of speed, we can now stay connected while traveling faster than ever.
5G vs. 4G: Major differences
When looking at the differences between 5g and 4g, it all boils down to three significant factors which are:
Now, let’s quickly examine where 5g and 4g stand in terms of the three points above.
Speed (4G vs 5G)
Speed is one of the essential features of the next-generation network. 5g speed is predicted to be about 100 times quicker than 4g. With the kind of speed 5g promises, you can download a two-hour movie within 10 seconds (such task would take seven minutes on 4g). Hence, you don’t have to panic if you want to quickly download a movie right before the plane takes off.
When the speed of a network is insanely fast, consumers would be delighted to stream movies online and download huge apps with ease. This speed is possible in 5g because it is built on super-high-frequency airwaves, which can also be called a high-band spectrum.
However, the downside of this is that signals traveling on a high-band spectrum can’t go very far and find it challenging to penetrate windows, walls, and other hard surfaces. Hence, there would be a problem of connectivity when you want to take your tiny device around to keep working as you walk down the street or out of a subway station.
Do you remember that annoyance you feel when you are in the midst of a crowd or audience such as a concert or sports stadium only for the network to fail when you want to load a webpage or watch an Instagram video? Yikes right!
Well, this happens when too many devices are using the network in one place. The network would have a hard time to serve such a large number of devices; hence, this slows down the data and download speed.
However, with 5g, such problems can be eradicated. The next-generation network hopes to provide way more capacity than 4g. Hence, you not only enjoy a better connection, but you can quickly tell your friends you are live in the stadium for a big game. You can also connect as many devices as you want to the network.
According to experts, the 5g network is just like a new-and-improved freeway, which has more lanes, so more cars can drive on. With such improvement comes increased bandwidth for the “internet of things” era such as connected toothbrushes, street lamps, household appliances, and so on.
The difference between the speed and latency of a network is small but significant. Speed is the time it takes for your device to load a webpage or download contents online. On the other hand, latency has to do with the time it takes devices to communicate with one another or the server that’s sending them information. Latency has to do with the time frame between when you send a text to your friend and when your friend receives the new message.
Although latency is measured in milliseconds, that time can be delayed when you are sending a massive packet of information such as videos. The latency of 4g is good but hopes to get even better with 5g.
The downside of 5G!!
You need to understand that the super speeds and capacity, as well as the low latency of 5g, depend on a high-band spectrum. As stated earlier, such a range often has little coverage, which is terrible. Even cities that have deployed the use of 5g still find connecting to the network at long-range problematic – leading to little coverage of 5g. Also, 5g devices are expensive and limited in supply.
There will always be a possibility of mixing both 4g and 5g even after 5g-enabled devices may have been widely adopted. For instance, when you are close to a 5g tower, you can access the super-peed network. However, when you’re far from it, you can always go back to using the 4g.
What about Health hazards?
It is normal to be anxious about the health hazard and possible dangers associated with the use of the 5g network compared to 4g. 5g technology might create concerns because of its millimeter-wave technology and high-frequency radio waves. Some experts believe the effect of the millimeter-wave signals of 5g might be more dangerous than 4g, especially when it is to be situated close to its users. However, nothing yet connects cancer and other severe diseases to network technology. Hence, there may be no cause for alarm.
Let’s not forget that 4g didn’t replace 3g, so it’s evident 5g didn’t come to replace 4g. 4g would provide vital support to 5g networks and also act as the bridge between major cities. 4g will also continue to provide support in less populated regions. Hence, both technology may end up working together in the long run.
Tell us what do you think of 4G vs 5G comparison. If you want to add some points in the post, please do feedback it to us.