- 4G and 5G are two examples of rapidly changing networks.
- Latency is the biggest difference between 5G and 4G.
- Download speed is another big difference between the 4G and 5G.
- 5G allows for the fastest download speed available today.
Internet speeds and networks have become sort of like oxygen and air: We only really notice them when something goes wrong. That being said, there is no question that technology is evolving – and with it are networking speeds.
4G and 5G are two great examples of rapidly changing network changes. Both can be easily used by an array of modern devices, such as computers and iPhones. However, there are noticeable differences in performance for both networks, with 5G being considered “next generation” level speed and the modern standard. It is not as widely available yet as 4G, but that will change over time.
4G vs. 5G: Side-by-Side Comparison
|What it is||4th Generation Broadband Cellular Technology||5th Generation Broadband Cellular Technology|
|Primary use||All internet-related activities, including internet access, video conferencing, gaming, video watching, and more||All internet-related activities, including internet access, video conferencing, gaming, video watching, and more|
|Influential developers||International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced, T-Mobile, AT&T||International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced, T-Mobile, AT&T|
|Technologies influenced||4G LTE, 5G, other networking connection speeds, Mobile devices (such as iPhone)||Other networking connection speeds, Mobile devices (such as iPhone)|
4G vs. 5G: 6 Must-Know Facts
- 5G deployment is dependant upon a variety of factors. However, thankfully, 5G can be added to existing 4G networks.
- 4G and 5G have both been the victim of conspiracy theories that hold that the networks are somehow being used for purposes of mind control or can sicken people. There is no evidence to support either of these thoughts.
- The first 4G network was deployed by the Telia company in 2009. This happened in Norway and Sweeden.
- However, the first 5G network has been debated hotly, with both U.S. and South Korea carriers claiming that they deployed the first network.
- Both 4G and 5G networks operate on different frequencies and use different frequency bands. The use of these different frequency bands has helped to spur the need for additional network infrastructure.
- 5G towers and expansion have run into opposition from some local governments in the United States, with some local governments expressing concern over the widespread deployment of 5G networks.
4G vs. 5G: Summary
Both networks can be utilized for modern communication and proved highly reliable during the COVID-19 pandemic when the demand for digital services became much more significant.
In order to meet technical definitions, 4G must have speeds of up to 100 Megabit per second (mobile access) and 1 Gigabit per second for low mobile access. It must be a sharable network and channel bandwidths of between 5–20 MHz.
To be considered 5G, network speeds must have speeds that can reach up to 4 gigabits per second. It must have an air latency – meaning delay – of between 8-12 milliseconds, and a very low error rate.
Both 4G and 5G operate on a different frequency band from each other, thus further expanding on the major differences between the two networks. Both can also be implemented on a low-band network.
As an older network, 4G has other networks that are still considered 4G but are slightly different. These include 3.95G, or 4G LTE, which is another standard for wireless communications. LTE is often associated with a slightly lower speed than the regular 4G network.
4G vs. 5G: Which is Better?
There is no comparison: 5G is better. It is not as if 4G was built faulty – 5G is simply the next evolution in internet and networking speed. The differences are substantial: 5G has higher speeds, lower latency, lower error rates, broader range, and more. All of these factors make 5G far preferable to 4G.
However, 4G is still more widely available than 5G, and many places throughout the world – even more technologically advanced areas – do not currently have 5G available. As such, 4G is still a widely used network.
Comparing latency, bandwidth, and speed
Latency is the biggest difference between 5G and 4G. 5G promises a low latency under 5 milliseconds whereas 4G latency ranges from 60 to 98 ms. This means that lower latency comes with advancements is other areas as well as faster download speeds.
Download speed is another big difference between the 4G and 5G. While 4G introduced the various types of VoIP capabilities, 5G expands on this and enhances those promises of a quick download speed. 4G’s download speeds can hit about 1 Gbps whereas 5G’s ultimate goal is to increase that at least tenfold for maximum download speeds of about 10 Gbps.
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