5G is not just an improved version of 4G with higher speeds, but a huge step forward in the development of wireless networks. Let's talk about the main differences and disruptive innovations of next generation networks.
If you are planning to buy a new phone or change carrier, then you are likely to come across things like LTE and 5G – fourth and fifth generation mobile communications, respectively. And if every user of mobile devices knows about 4G, then 5G raises many questions from users. If you can't decide whether you should change your phone to a new one with support for new technology, then right now we will go through the main points 5G and LTE and tell you about their differences.
To begin with, a little digression into terminology. The letter “G” in English means “Generation”, which can be translated as “generation”. Actually, “5G – network” is an abbreviation that can be deciphered as “fifth generation mobile network”.
“LTE” stands for “Long-Term Evolution”, which means “long-term development”. This type of wireless network is often referred to as “4G LTE”. The new generation is not a complete replacement for the established 4G: both technologies will work in tandem over the next few years.
According to Els Burt, director of marketing and communications at NetComm: “The main advantage of 5G over 4G LTE is operating at a higher speed, and this is due to the fact that 5G will support a much wider range of frequencies, as well as use more advanced radio waves. One of the main differences of the new generation networks will be the colossal reduction in latency compared to 4G ”.
In simple words, with the help of 5G you will be able to download and upload data much faster than with older networks. In theory, the maximum connection speed 5G fluctuates between 1 and 10 Gbps, and a delay of 1 ms, but at the start, the average connection speed is expected to be around 50 Mbps and a delay of 10 ms.
For reference, the current average 4G speed is 15 Mbps with 50ms latency. The final speed will depend on your network coverage, the number of people connected to 5G near you, and the device you are using.
Since 5G is a kind of “hodgepodge” of new technologies and technologies of past generations, it is rather difficult to figure out how it works. Higher speeds 5G will only be available if you are within range of high frequency millimeter waves. These high frequencies have a very wide range, so they are ideal for places with a lot of people (stadiums, airports).
The fifth generation wireless network is based on “MIMO” (Multiple Input – Multiple Output) technology and “Beamforming” technology (beam forming or beam concentrating). While 4G radio towers are equipped with a 12-element antenna array, new radio equipment for 5G will be equipped with a 128-element antenna array. The problem is that high frequencies of millimeter waves are easily blocked, and using a large number of antennas can lead to various problems. Beamforming technology is used to find the optimal path for transmitting the signal to the user, thereby reducing interference and the likelihood that the signal will be blocked.
For 4G LTE to work, only a few large radio towers at large distances are enough, but for 5G you will need a large number of small towers standing close to each other. These mini-stations can be placed on streetlights or on the buildings themselves every few hundred steps in urban areas. From a logistics point of view, laying such a network will cause many problems, and it will take a lot of money and time to implement such a project.
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What about 4G LTE-A?
The fact that the unhurried laying of 5G networks has already begun does not mean that with the massive spread of the new technology, everyone will forget about 4G: both users and developers. A couple of years ago, there was a major update of 4G technology – “LTE-A” (the prefix “A” stands for “Advanced”), which made it possible to increase the possible maximum speed up to 1 Gbps, although the real speed will most likely be the same as the minimum speed y 5G. There is also one modification of this technology – “LTE-Advanced Pro”, which works even faster.
When buying a phone that supposedly “supports” 5G, users need to be careful, as some mobile operators have chosen to indicate this technology as “5G E” (5G Evolution) by placing the appropriate logos on phones that, in fact, do not support 5G. Remember that most modern smartphones, including budget ones, support 4G LTE, LTE-A and LTE-A Pro standards. You will have to spend money on a phone with support 5G, because at the moment this technology requires powerful and expensive components.
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Is it really necessary to upgrade to 5G today?
Why do you even need high speed internet? If you're going to stream in 4K, you'll need at least 25 Mbps of internet, ideally 50 Mbps. This speed can be obtained using 4G, but not everywhere. If you are not going to stream in 4K, then think carefully about the question at the beginning of the paragraph. The bottom line is that if you live in an area with good LTE coverage, then you will not immediately notice the changes by going to 5G.
“The main thing for the average user is to have a quality connection at a speed acceptable for everyday tasks,” says Els Baert. “After all, we are not talking about the novelty or status of the technology, but about the quality of the services provided. For the vast majority of casual users, 4G LTE should be enough. 5G is intended primarily for those people whose activities require the Internet at very high speeds and without any delays. ”
In the future 5G it will allow to control the car from a distance, will give an impetus to the development of VR gaming, and also accelerate the development of robotics. Of course, even more new technologies will appear, but it will take time for 5G to be able to offer the user something that could set him apart from the competition.
The first smartphones with support 5G will appear this year, and some large companies are reluctant to rush. For example, Apple announced that it is not going to release iPhone with support for 5G until 2020. Therefore, users will have a very difficult choice, either Android – a smartphone with support 5G, or iPhone with 4G LTE.
It is impossible not to agree with the popularity of the mobile Internet. The need to download movies has disappeared, so now it is much more convenient and faster to use one of the streaming services to watch a movie online, and thanks to the tandem 5G and 4G LTE, it will become even faster and more enjoyable.