What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

The fourth generation of mobile connectivity started to make waves in the late 2000s. 4G made mobile internet speeds up to 500 times faster than 3G and allowed support for HD TV on mobile, high–quality video calls, and fast mobile browsing. The development of 4G was a massive feat for mobile technology, especially for the evolution of smartphones and tablets.

4G is now common throughout the world, but things are about to change again. The Internet of Things is now a real possibility and 4G will not be able to manage the huge number of connections that will be on the network. It is expected that there will be more than 20bn connected devices by 2020, all of which will require a connection with great capacity. This is where 5G comes into force.

5G has started to create a hype recently when we saw the first trials of the capabilities of the network taking place. What is more, some of the capabilities of 5G were demonstrated during the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, making the games the most exciting to date for both fans and participants.

So, what makes 5G so different from 4G?

Simply said, 5G is widely believed to be smarter, faster and more efficient than 4G. It promises mobile data speeds that far outstrip the fastest home broadband network currently available to consumers. With speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G is set to be as much as 100 times faster than 4G.

Low latency is a key differentiator between 4G and 5G. Latency is the time that passes from the moment information is sent from a device until it can be used by the receiver. Reduced latency means that you’d be able to use your mobile device connection as a replacement for your cable modem and Wi-Fi. Additionally, you’d be able to download and upload files quickly and easily, without having to worry about the network or phone suddenly crashing. You’d also be able to watch a 4K video almost straight away without having to experience any buffering time.

5G will be able to fix bandwidth issues. Currently, there are so many different devices connected to 3G and 4G networks, that they don’t have the infrastructure to cope effectively. 5G will be able to handle current devices and emerging technologies such as driverless cars and connected home products.

But it must remember that these scenarios are all still theoretical, and it will take a lot of investment by governments and mobile network operators to make them work. The security aspect of 5G also still needs to be figured out. With a greater number of users and improved services, 5G opens the door to a new level of threat. Governments and mobile operators must ensure they have the correct level of security in place before 5G can be rolled out.

Do you have any questions about the difference between 4G and 5G networks? Did we miss anything out? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting to us @JustAskGemalto.

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  • Kevin Moore

    An interesting article, I now know why Amazon Aws cloud computing is investing so much time, research and money into the io t internet of things for the smart home, smart business. It is because of the 5g technology which is introduced and will allow all these connected devices.

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  • Charles Johnson

    “The development of 4G was a massive feat for mobile technology, especially for the evolvement of smartphones and tables.”

    I must have missed the smart “table” revolution. What did 4G do to evolve the kitchen table?

    • JustAskGemalto

      Hi Charles,

      Thanks for the spot! We’ve corrected the text to amend the typo.

      Best wishes,
      JustAskGemalto