What is 5G and How Does It Compare to 4G?

Every couple of years, the world calls for faster internet. Today, everything is connected wirelessly, and the world is constantly calling out for faultless internet with enough bandwidth to facilitate the multitude of devices we have connected wirelessly.

Up until now, 3G and 4G have facilitated a relatively stable mobile internet connection. However, by 2020, American IT researches, Gartner, predict 20.8 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. With this level of saturation, that is a vast increase in the number of devices fighting for a superfast connection. 5G is imperative for the future of internet connected devices and we could be seeing it as soon as 2020.

What is 5G?

Back in the early 1990s mobile wireless technology was 1G and when text messages could be passed between two mobiles, this was 2G. Like the ‘generations’ of iPhones, the G in 5G stands for ‘generation’ and basically is an indication of the progression through the years to what is available today.

For many years, 3G wireless for mobile phones was allowing users to make phone calls, send text messages, and browse the internet. This also meant that apps such as BBM (Blackberry Messenger) and Whatsapp could be used, although not to their fullest extent. Today, many of us have 4G enabled smartphones and whilst we could do everything that we could do with 3G, it is faster, more reliable, and gives us the option to download and upload large files seamlessly.

Shortly after the introduction of 4G capability came 4G LTE. As users, many of us were unaware that this evolution had occurred. The original 4G ran on WiMax and, essentially, it is like describing the difference between HD movies, and Blu-Ray movies. Both formats produce the same quality, but HD DVDs are the standard for everybody. Thus, LTE is the 4G standard for everybody, and it has made 4G wireless even faster and more reliable.

In its simplest terms, 5G is a step up for 4G LTE. 5G allows smartphone users to use all the features they desire but, due to another increase in speed, it allows for the likes of 3D video and Ultra HD content. It is being dubbed the ultimate mobile internet upgrade; like trading in a hatchback for a four-wheel drive.

How Does 5G Work?

To understand 5G, we need to go back to basics. Mobile phones are essentially evolved walky-talkies. When we communicate from handset to handset, information is converted into an electric signal and bounces from the nearest mobile tower to the other mobile phone across a network.

As we have progressed from 1G to 4G, new wireless technologies have traditionally been possible because of elevating the radio frequency on which it runs. For example, 4G frequency bands run up to 20 MHz. It is predicted that 5G will run up to a frequency of approximately 6GHz. Mobile phone wireless has always occupied higher frequencies because they are rarely used and allow for the transport of data and quicker speeds. However, the higher frequency signals are not as widespread as lower frequencies, so signal boosters will be put in place nationwide when 5G becomes the norm.

Will 5G Be Noticeably Better than 4G?

The upgrade from a 3G to a 4G wireless connection was welcome, but many of us were left underwhelmed. Granted, the faster speeds were tangible but the evolution from 4G to 5G claims to be impressive.

Currently, 4G LTE speeds top out at roughly one gigabit per second. For example, downloading an HD film would take about one hour in optimal conditions. The problem with 4G is that very few users get to feel its full force as the connection is often interrupted by other connected devices, buildings, microwaves, and suchlike.

5G is rumoured to increase download speeds by 10, taking transfer speeds to 10 gigabits per second. This would enable HD films to be downloaded in a matter of seconds. Latency will also be dramatically reduced and it will ensure wireless broadband has the capacity it needs to provide a seamless service to the countless devices connected.

When Can I Upgrade to 5G?

In America, there are some states that are already testing 5G. Both AT&T and Verizon have been carrying out trials but most experts are suggesting that it won’t be available worldwide until 2020 at the earliest.

However, due to the multitude of devices connecting via 4G, the world is going to be in need of super reliable and fast internet sooner rather than later. 5G will allow for a seamless service, not only boasting incredible speeds, but low latency and high capacity.

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