What Are 4G and 5G? Do I Need Them?

What are 4G and 5G?

Your business needs dependable internet service to be productive and keep customers happy, but what’s less clear is which wireless technology is best. 5G (the fifth generation of mobile wireless communications technology) has been making headlines in recent years due to its fast speeds and increased capacity.


If you’ve ever wondered, “Do I need 5G?” you’re not alone. In this article, you’ll learn what are 4G and 5G networks, what benefits they offer and how to find the right connection for your business. Let’s get started!

4G vs. 5G Technology Comparison

The G in 3G, 4G and 5G stands for “generation.” These terms refer to wireless internet technology, with each generation improving speed and reliability. 5G technology is the latest generation, however, 4G is currently the most widely used technology in most countries.

Here are key differences between 4G and 5G technology to help you understand how they stack up against each other. 

Speed

4G can reach top speeds of up to 100 Mbps (megabit per second), but real-world speeds are generally 35 Mbps. 5G has the potential to be 100 times faster than 4G, with a top theoretical speed of 20 Gbps (gigabit per second) and real-world speeds from 50 Mbps to 3 Gbps, depending on the bandwidth.

Latency

Latency measures the time it takes for a packet of data to travel between two points. In 4G networks, latency is about 50 milliseconds whereas 5G networks are expected to have a latency of 1 millisecond.

Coverage

There’s much more 4G coverage around the world because 5G is new. Outside of a handful of major cities, 5G coverage is nonexistent. It will take some time for 5G to reach similar coverage of 4G, which can be widely found across the United States. Check out this coverage map for information in your area.

Bandwidth

5G is expected to have greater bandwidth (i.e. capacity) than 4G because it will use available spectrum more efficiently. 4G uses a small slice of available spectrum, from 600 MHz to 2.5 GHz. 5G has three different bands (high, medium and low-band 5G), with each having its own frequency range and speed. This allows for a wider variety of applications and uses.

Advantages of 5G for Businesses

5G will have a significant impact on businesses, particularly their operations. There are several advantages of upgrading to 5G, which can help your company stay ahead of the curve.

Faster Connection Speeds

With businesses transferring more data than ever, having faster connection speeds is a lifesaver. 5G technology is able to move significant amounts of data without causing any disruptive network issues.  

Higher Capacity

Networks have limits to the number of devices and data transmission they can handle. 5G has a much higher capacity than 4G: It’s estimated that 5G will support up to 1 million connected devices per .38 square miles while 4G supports around 2,000 connected devices per .38 square miles.

Lower Latency

Lower latency will allow your business to seamlessly stream high-resolution media (e.g. video, audio, images) at any given time, enhancing communication experiences with both customers and remote employees. Additionally, it will help companies expand their use of innovative technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) or 3D.

Considerations for Staying with 4G

Although 5G offers major benefits, there are some reasons why companies might not want to upgrade just yet. Here are three considerations to determine if your business should stay with 4G for the time being.  

Most Connectivity

Since 4G has been around longer, it provides much more network coverage than 5G. It will take time for 5G to reach 4G coverage levels. Depending on where you’re located, it could be a while before it reaches your area.

Budget Constraints

With any emerging technology, new hardware will be more expensive. Not every business will have the funds to upgrade its hardware. If upgrading to 5G is on your horizon, make sure that your business budgets for it.

Limited Training Resources

To ensure your teams make the most of the new 5G technology, you’ll need to provide training. Like budgeting, it’s important to account for the time and resources needed to educate your employees.

Find the Right Connection for Your Business

5G offers many benefits such as faster speeds, lower latency and higher capacity, but that doesn’t mean that it’s unanimously the best choice for businesses. There are multiple factors to consider, which is why partnering with a telecommunications leader will give you peace of mind that your business has reliable high-speed internet service. 


Book a consultation today to explore our business solutions that deliver clear and fast network connections every time.

James Smith

As President and Chief Connector, James loves solving complex communication problems to help businesses transform, optimize, grow and succeed. One of his favorite parts of the job is being able to smooth the pathways for clients to communicate clearly and effortlessly. On this blog he shares telecommunications industry news and the latest trends.

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