5G vs. 4G
We are living in a world of technology, and each technology is being upgraded with the passage of time. Similarly, in Networking and Telecom sector, we have seen various generations like 2G, 3G, 3.5G, 4G, and 5G. However, each upgraded generation contains its benefits over the previous generation. When we discuss the difference between 5G and 4G, then we usually talk specifically about connectivity and speed parameters. Connectivity is a standard parameter to evaluate the strength, quality, and value of any generation. Further, some other parameters like speed, distance and population density, etc., also define the performance of any internet technology.
The 5G is the latest technology that is evolving in the market with its high speed and reliability, whereas 4G is used by lots of customers across the world due to its various advantages over previous generations. There are lots of service providers who provide 5G connectivity but for very small consumer markets. Many service providers are also integrating and implementing their old versions into 5G. In this topic, we will discuss various differences between 5G and 4G and the parameters that make 5G superior to 4G.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth-generation mobile network technology. 5G are digital cellular networks in which service area is covered into some small geographical area, these geographical areas called Cells. 5G networks are designed in a way that they can connect everyone and everything together. All Analog Signals are converted into a digital signal through ADAC (Analog to Digital converters) in the form of bits (0 or 1). All 5G wireless devices are communicated through radio waves in a cell with the help of a local antenna and Transceivers. These local antennas are connected with the internet and telephone network via high bandwidth (BW) optical fiber. In a 5G network, frequency is reused in other cells. A 5G network can serve a million users per square kilometer, while a 4G network can support only 100,000 users per square kilometer. 5G devices are also enabled for 4G LTE network, which means if a user is moving in such an area where 5G networks are not accessible, then the device will use a 4G LTE network.
Advantages of 5G
- Better coverage area, less traffic, and high data speed at the edge of the cell.
- Provide good efficiency in terms of energy and spectrum.
- It has multiple data transfer capacities.
- 5G technologies consume low battery in comparison to 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.
- As per security terms, 5G is more secure than the rest.
- 5G supports the Virtual Private Network (VPN).
- It has very low latency (time taken by data from origin to destination).
- 5G regulate the bandwidth requirement according to the application as some application requires low BW whereas some require High BW.
- 5G can connect more devices simultaneously than other technologies.
Disadvantages of 5G-
- 5G requires high investment in infrastructure development, and up-gradation and degradation are also costly.
- As 5G provides a high data speed, so it requires more storage capacity in smartphones and also requires huge battery power.
- There is no specific standard known for 5G till now as 4G has its VoLTE.
- Wi-Fi is cheaper and easily feasible, so Wi-Fi is already a better alternative over 5G, which requires high costs and maintenance than Wi-Fi.
- As 5G network technologies are under the working mode, so still have lots of drawbacks and will take time to be operational globally.
What is Latency in 5G
Latency is defined as the time taken by a data packet to move from one place to another or, in simple words, webpage loading time.
If latency is high, then webpage loading time will also be high, and if latency is low, then loading time for a webpage will also be low.
5G contains less latency which means 5G having fast response as well as faster load times over the internet. 5G having 1ms latency while 4G LTE having 50ms.
What is 4G?
4G is the fourth-generation mobile network technology, which is much faster than 3G. It follows the features of the previous two technologies, such as 2G and 3G. 4G is based upon whatever features 3G provides but with a much faster speed. Sometimes 4G is also known as 4G LTE, but it is technically incorrect because LTE is the single type of 4G. It is an advanced technology and adopted by the majority of mobile network service providers.
4G network ensures the users that whatever task they want to perform with any amount of data, they can maintain the stable speed approximately everywhere. The 4G wireless network is purely a data connection, which is an end-to-end protocol connection.
Advantages of 4G
- 4G networks provide flexibility and mobility.
- It is more reliable than other data services.
- With 4G networks, the downloading and uploading speeds can be much faster than the wired or 2G and 3G networks even in rural areas also.
- It works with the same mobile internet connection as our mobile phones and hence does not need a phone line.
- The 4G networks provide area coverage of more than 30 miles with overlapping network ranges, and it ensures complete connectivity all the time.
- It provides complete security, privacy, and safety, which is the issue with the Wi-Fi networks. Using 4G, users who contain sensitive information on their mobile devices can use the internet securely.
- It enables the users to choose many options.
Disadvantages of 4G
- The old devices do not support the 4G network; hence the customer is forced to buy the new device to make use of the 4G network.
- 4G technology uses various antennas and transmitters, and users would experience poor battery life of the mobile phone while using this network. So, to use the internet for a longer period, we need to have more battery power.
- In 4G, it is easier to obtain information from users illegally.
- It may be being attacked with the jamming frequencies; hence the chances of privacy breach are increased.
- 4G networks need complex hardware.
- If some areas do not yet have a 4G mobile network, then users would be forced to use 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity. And after using 3G instead of 4G network, users would still have to pay the same amount as specified by the 4G network plan. This issue can only be resolved if mobile carriers expand their network coverage to include more regions for the 4G network.
- The 4G networks have higher data prices for the users.
- 4G network needs expensive infrastructure for the operation. 4G is optimal for the data rates but not necessarily best for the voice services.
Feature differences between 4G and 5G
The first and important factor in differentiating between 4G and 5G technologies is the speed, and 5G is expected to be 100 times faster than 4G. Among all the available mobile technologies, the 4G network is the fastest, but it is slower than 5G. 4G can reach a maximum speed of 100Mbps, but in the real world, it is a maximum of 35Mbps.
The higher speed of 5G is possible because these networks are built-on super-high frequency airwaves or high-band spectrum. The higher the frequency, the more data will be transferred. The theoretical maximum speed of 5G is 20 Gbps, but in the real world, it is from 50Mbs to 3 Gbps.
If there are too many devices that are using a network from one place, then it can cause congestion. It is because the network infrastructure is not capable of handling mass devices, and hence leads to slower data speeds even with 4G networks also. This issue will be solved by the 5G technology as it is expected to have more capacity compared to 4G. It will allow connecting lots of devices to a network without any congestion.
Latency is the delay or amount of time a network takes for a device to communicate with another device or with the server. It is measured in milliseconds. The latency is very less in 4G networks, about 50ms, but in 5G networks, it is virtually zero or about 1ms only.
The 5G network with such low latency will be helpful for real-time gaming, self-driving cars, IOT applications, etc.
The 4G technology has developed to accommodate different technologies such as LWA(LTE-WLAN) to support connectivity in dense environments. The 5G technology improves this step to improve the spectral efficiency and connection quality, mainly in a dense urban environment.
- Machine Type communication
5G is designed to work with consumers as well as enterprises. It is capable of Machine-type communication that is needed by the IOT applications and other M2M-type connected devices. Whereas in 4G, IOT applications need to work with adapted 2G and 4G technologies.
5G technologies are designed in a way so that they can take benefit of cloud-based or virtual Radio Access Network (RAN), while 4G technologies are not capable of working with RAN. The radio access network technology allows enterprises and service providers to set up their own centralized network. Providers can also take the benefits of localized data centers to provide a faster and more reliable internet connection to the users.
- Device Intelligence
5G networks are comparatively more intelligent compared to 4G. 5G can identify the fixed devices and mobile devices. It identifies each device with the help of cognitive radio techniques and hence provides the most suitable delivery channel. It means in 5G, and each user will get a customized internet connection as per their device compatibility and local reception environment.
5G is expected to have more bandwidth compared to 4G. It is because 5G will use the available spectrum more efficiently compared to 4G. 4G uses a narrow slice of the available spectrum from 600 MHz to 2.5 GHz, whereas 5G is divided into three different bands. Each band contains its own range and speed. Hence different bands will be used for different use cases, businesses, and enterprises.
Comparison Chart between 4G and 5G
|4G Technology||5G Technology|
|4G stands for the fourth-generation technology.||5G stands for fifth-generation technology.|
|The maximum theoretical uploading speed of 4G technology is 500Mbps.||The maximum uploading speed of 5G technology is 1.25Gbps.|
|The maximum theoretical downloading speed of 4G is 1Gbps.||The maximum downloading speed of 5G is 2.5Gbps.|
|The latency of 4G is approximately 50ms.||The latency of 5G is approximately 1ms.|
|The 4G network is slow and less efficient when comparing with the 5G network.||5G is the fastest and most efficient mobile network.|
|4G technology is unable to differentiate between fixed and mobile devices.||5G technology is capable of identifying fixed, and mobile devices with the help of cognitive radio technique, and hence offer the most suitable delivery channel.|
As per the above discussion, we can say that although 4G is broadly used everywhere, due to higher speed and reliability, the next-generation technology is 5G. As per the expectations, 5G should be the network that provides the speed and efficiency that everyone needs.