Cellular technology has evolved in the recent past. The fourth-generation wireless technology (4G) changed the lives of many mobile phone users. It offered lower latency and faster speeds than LTE mobile networks. Several countries started testing the fifth generation technology (5G) in 2019. But, many people have a murky understanding of the differences between the fourth and fifth-generation technologies. Here is a detailed comparison between 4G and 5G cellular networks.
Latency is the time that devices take to communicate with a server or with each other. Milliseconds are used as measuring units for latency. They accumulate when an individual receives or sends large amounts of data such as video. The fourth-generation network has lower latency than LTE networks. But 5G will reduce it to less than 10 milliseconds. It will be useful in real-time gaming as players from all over the world can use internet-connected gadgets while playing the same game.
Self-driving vehicles need close to zero latency to send location signals to computers in the cloud. Computers will process the information and guide the cars on how they should respond based on the current environment.
At times, your smartphone might take long to load when you open a play a video or open a web page. The “spinning wheel of death” frustrates many people especially when they are in airports, concerts, or stadiums. Also, your phone might fail to load a page if many devices are using the same network around you. Network infrastructure should cope with a large number of gadgets to avoid long lag time and slow data speeds.
The fifth-generation cellular technology is expected to provide an uninterrupted mobile connection in congested places. Its capacity is higher than that of 4G. Thus, it will enable network infrastructure to connect to a huge number of devices. Also, the network will offer increased bandwidth.
Speed is a major concern for many mobile phone users. Recent reports show that 5G is close to 100 times faster than the fourth-generation network. Such speeds can allow you to download a two-hour movie in 10 seconds. Normally, you would take seven minutes to download it using 4G. Rapid connection speeds have a wide range of applications. They help consumers download mobile apps and stream movies.
Some manufacturers have stated that 5G will help them install video cameras in their factories. They will use the footage to assess product quality before they sell products to consumers.
Many fifth-generation networks are built on high-frequency airwaves. They are also referred to as the high-band spectrum. The frequencies transmit more data and faster than 4G. Even so, signals that travel on high-frequency airwaves are often blocked by lampposts, windows, and walls. 5G network developers are installing tiny cell sites on towers, walls and light poles to solve this challenge. Carriers need to deploy the fifth-generation network in different cities for it to work.
When the fourth-generation network was first launched, it offered lower latency and faster speeds than LTE networks. Several countries including China, South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States started testing the fifth-generation technology in 2019. Hutchison, HKT, and CMHK launched 5G tariff plans and services to the public on April 1, 2020. The two mobile technologies vary in capacity, speed, and latency.