What's the difference between 4G and 5G? (Topic)

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What's the difference between 4G and 5G?


4G networks were launched in 2010 and have continued to expand their coverage since then. By the end of 2018 (namely in October), developed countries plan to begin large-scale testing of fifth-generation networks.

The commercial launch of 5G is expected to take place in 2019/2020. Will this bring any major changes? Let's figure it out.


At the time of 4G launch, the maximum channel width was 20 MHz. This provided a maximum download speed of 150 Mbps. Then the bandwidth increased and 4G evolved into 4G +. In some cases, with the use of the most modern equipment, there has been an increase in speed up to 400 Mbps or more.

The goal of 5G is to achieve stable data transfers at even higher speeds - several gigabits. By comparison, 1 Gbps equals 1000 Mbps, which is about a hundred times faster than 4G, which averages 10 Mbps.

At the moment, such high upload / download speeds may not be particularly useful, but as demand for 4K and VR video content increases, so will the requirements for networks. In addition, the ultra-fast connection will reduce the amount of time the smartphone spends transmitting and receiving information, which in practice will reduce the battery consumption when using the mobile Internet.


Another important 5G feature is the reduced ping (or latency). Ping is the amount of time it takes to send one packet of data over the network. Reducing ping results in early downloads. In everyday internet use, this feature is more important than super-fast speed.

4G networks have significant improvements in this regard compared to 3G. A 2014 study by Ofcom found that the average latency on European 4G Internet networks was 53.1 milliseconds, while on 3G networks the ping was already 63.5 milliseconds.

Since 5G networks are designed with autonomous backhaul in mind, it's safe to say that ping will drop even further with the advent of 5G. This, in turn, will provide users with a faster Internet connection.


4G operates in the 800-2600 MHz range. The coverage area can be up to 10 square kilometers from a single mast in data transmission conditions on flat terrain at the lowest frequencies. The problem with 5G networks is that 5G carriers will operate at significantly higher frequencies, such as 3400 MHz.

One of the properties of electromagnetic waves is that the higher the frequency of the wave, the more it loses strength with increasing distance. In simple terms, this means that as you move away from the mast, the Internet signal becomes weaker, and then completely disappears. In the case of 5G, this implies reduced coverage (compared to 4G) and the need to build a large number of new masts. It may happen that the next generation network becomes exclusive to urban centers or people living in the immediate vicinity of the masts.

In conclusion, we can say that with the new generation of mobile communications, there will be big changes in the areas of network services and the Internet of things. The increased bandwidth will allow the construction of numerous residential and industrial areas equipped with IoT sensors. However, in the next few years, 5G will not completely replace 4G, simply because existing mobile devices do not support data transmission over fifth generation networks.

The Topic of Article: What's the difference between 4G and 5G?.
Author: Jake Pinkman