There is a lot of buzz regarding 4G vs 5G. In particular, you might have come across several articles explaining the differences between the two.
However, apart from being a smartphone-related technology, there is a lot more to it. We will explore an array of facts about the two terms in this article. But first, let’s establish a firm ground and understand the basic concepts.
What Is 4G?
Broadband cellular technology is a huge niche and has evolved pretty decently in the last two decades. Essentially, 4G refers to the fourth generation of cellular service and is approximately 10 times faster than its predecessor (3G).
The basic notion behind 4G’s launch is pretty straightforward. Since data consumption is increasing at an incredible pace, the latest apps/services require a significant amount of data to be transferred within a fraction of a second. The carrier of information (aka data pipeline) needs to expand and cater to these ever-growing demands.
This is precisely why we need 4G in the first place. As of yet, it happens to be a luxury in some parts of the world. But in the next couple of years, 4G will become a necessity.
What Is LTE?
So, as we just learned, 4G is a rather generic term. However, LTE specifically deals with your smartphones and the Internet speed associated with them. The term is an abbreviation for Long-Term Evolution and it serves as the standard in the mobile phone niche.
If you love smartphones, you must have seen 4G LTE written somewhere in the specification section and that’s what we are talking about here. Just to give you a heads up, it is a bit faster than 4G.
What Is 5G?
Now that you have developed a decent sense of 4G technology, let’s talk about 5G. It is not difficult to guess that 5G is way ahead of 4G when we talk about speed and capabilities. As an ordinary end-user, you will be able to experience download speeds several times faster than your current 4G network.
But since the primary notion remains the same (i.e. it can transfer significantly more amount of data in relatively less time as compared with the previous technologies), 5G can be applied in a variety of niches, such as military communication, AR, missiles, healthcare, etc.
What about 5G LTE? Well, the answer is not that difficult as you might have thought, particularly if you have read the comparison between 4G and 4G LTE. So, from the perspective of these two LTEs, 5G is roughly 100X faster and efficient than its significant other.
4G Vs 5G Vs LTE
Of course, when we talk about download speeds and latency, 5G has no comparison, whatsoever. Since its latency is significantly lower than the rest, it makes 5G an ideal choice for the Internet of Things (IoT) industry.
Just think about 4G and 5G as data pipelines and consider a use case involving smart cars. Since there is no driver in these vehicles, where do you think the data from thousands of sensors is stored? Well, obviously in cloud databases.
It is worth noticing that in order to process such huge data sets, apply algorithms to extract useful information, and then make self-driving safer for the passengers, billions of GBs must be exchanged in a considerably short span. Now, if the 4G pipeline can transmit 1Gb per second from one end to the other, 5G can transfer at least 20Gbs at the same time. So, that’s the difference we are talking about.
Let’s talk about an everyday example such as downloading a movie. Via 4G network, a 3GB movie would only take 40 minutes to get downloaded. On the other hand, it takes a mere 35 seconds on 5G!
With increasing demand and usage, the net bandwidth of 4G and LTE is decreasing and in the long run, if data-intensive apps continue surfacing the Internet, there might not be a sound infrastructure to support them.
However, 5G is quite different in that regard. It is designed to handle 100X more load than the previous technology. If you have read the example of smart cars, you would be able to comprehend the bandwidth-related issue more realistically.
While using any Internet-dependent app, you must have experienced a delay of several seconds and in worst cases, even minutes. In the long run, this cannot continue. Some emails often get delayed and are received on the other end even a day after they were sent. These issues are quite abundant in 4G technology. But since 5G diminishes down the latency to 1 ms, the prospects are unimaginable!
For instance, the robots could take advantage of it and if we run firefighting robots on 5G, they could end up saving precious lives due to low latency. Their sensors will be able to take better inputs, transmit them at a higher rate and then the robots will be able to take actions more quickly.
When we talk about 4G vs 5G, connection density is yet another factor that is most appealing for tech geeks in the industry.
Just to clue you in, 4G facilitates merely 2000 connected devices in an area of 0.38 square miles. However, 5G is astonishingly better in this case and connects approximately 1 million devices in the same area. Therefore, the efficiency is several times greater and if we specifically focus on the IoT industry, this change is huge.
With 4G, you will experience problems like slow speed and Internet disconnectivity, particularly when there are thousands of people packed within close proximity. This drawback is quite decently addressed in 5G. Moreover, since it can facilitate 10X more connections in the same area, more devices will be able to share information with another and communicate through sensory data as well.
Research suggests that when 5G would hit its optimum swing, the world might experience a surge of roughly $2 trillion in profits. Everything would be knitted together and 5G would allow an exponential growth in our safety, efficiency, and productivity.
If you happen to be a football fan and you have ever been to a stadium full of spectators, you must have experienced some Internet issues. However, with 5G, even a million people can post Snapchat stories at once!
This is somewhat closely related to what we have just discussed above. 5G technology would offer at least two times more peak speed if compared with 4G. It can also provide a whopping spectrum efficiency of about 30 bits per second. In other words, it is like an antenna with the ability to dish out channels (or frequencies) for enhanced connectivity.
Since the US’s spectrum holdings are nearing about 719 MHz and the government is keenly looking forward to widening its spectrum, 5G might come in handy and facilitate more wireless devices across the country and ultimately, across the world as well.
I suppose you’re just an ordinary Internet user. Therefore, even if you switch from a good 4G LTE connection to 5G, there might not be some considerable differences other than faster downloads.
The reason is quite straightforward – after a tiring effort, lasting for roughly a decade, this technology does not target smartphone users only. In fact, the basic purpose is to address the factors mentioned above.
Therefore, if you are driving a smart car, you might experience a significant improvement in its ability to analyze more sensory data and take action in a shorter time. Or, if you are developing a missile, where every millisecond is critical to the sovereignty of a nation, you would certainly experience the perks of this futuristic technology.
So, it all depends on your field and the way you use the Internet, cloud, and distributed computing. The more optimization and efficiency you need per millisecond and the more data-intensive tasks you wish to perform, the greater is your requirement to switch over to 5G.
Rest assured, when the 5G goes mainstream, the world will become more globalized and most of the industries will be able to enjoy the perks of extreme connectivity and collaboration.