4G vs. 5G: Full Comparison

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
The 5G network is considered “next generation” and superior to the 4G network.

4G vs. 5G: Side-by-Side Comparison

4G5G
What it is4th Generation Broadband Cellular Technology5th Generation Broadband Cellular Technology
Primary useAll internet-related activities, including internet access, video conferencing, gaming, video watching, and moreAll internet-related activities, including internet access, video conferencing, gaming, video watching, and more
Name4G5G
Conceived20082010s
Initial release20102018
Technical committee
Influential developersInternational Mobile Telecommunications Advanced, T-Mobile, AT&TInternational Mobile Telecommunications Advanced, T-Mobile, AT&T
Open formatYesYes
Technologies influenced4G 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. 

4G vs. 5G: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is 4g?

4G is the most popular and widespread adopted type of internet network. It can be used for any type of internet communication, including phone calls, data, and more.

What is 5g?

5G is the latest and newest type of network. It has extremely high speeds and is much more reliable than 4G. Some estimates hold that it could, eventually, reach 100 times faster speeds than 4G.

Is 4g better than 5g?

No. 5G is much better than 4G across a wide array of factors, including speed, performance, range, and more. 4G is still more available and widespread than 5G at the moment, but that will change as 5G infrastructure becomes more commonplace.

What does a 4G tower look like vs 5G?

Fortunately, 5G towers tend to be smaller and less noticeable than their 4G counterparts. They are typically known as small cell towers, meaning that they are much smaller and can fit on already existing infrastructure.

What is faster — 4G or 5G?

In terms of speed, there is no comparison: 5G is significantly faster, has a wider range, and is more reliable than 4G. This is noticeable regardless of the device, and any wireless capable device, including an iPhone, computer, or video game system – will operate at faster speeds with a 5G network.

How does 5G work vs. 4G?

The deployment of each network is somewhat similar and requires the use of towers and other related infrastructure.

5G and 4G can both be implemented on a low-band, mid-band, or high-band network. However, this depends on the area in which you live, as some networks and locations are not yet implementing low-band networks.

Is 5G better than 4G?

Yes. In terms of overall performance, speed, reliability, range, and more, there is no question that 5G is preferable to 4G.

What are the disadvantages of 5G?

Most of the disadvantages of 5G are related to its deployment. Deployment of 5G is expensive and requires a major shift, as 4G devices are not built to be supportive of 5G. It can also drain batteries and be less available in rural areas, which typically have reduced access to broader infrastructure.

Will 5G work on 4G phones?

Yes. A phone does have to be 5G capable, but phones should work on them without any trouble. These phones will have noticeable performance advantages. Unfortunately, a 4G phone will not work on a 5G network.

How fast is 5g vs 4g?

4G networks will typically operate around 30 Megabits a second. 5G will operate between 60  Megabits to 1 Gigabit.

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