Will 5G Replace 4G?
With 5G currently rolling out across cities, you may be wondering whether 5G will replace 4G. Let’s start with the key differences between them.
- Faster Speed
When we transitioned from 2G to 3G, and then 4G, speed was the most obvious improvement. Each cellular generation has been significantly faster than the one before.
The same goes for 5G.
If we visualized 2G as a person walking, 3G would be when they ride a bicycle, 4G a car, and then 5G would be equivalent to a rocket launched into space.
So, let’s say you wanted to download 300 GB of video, it would take at least a whole day to download with a 4G network (with an average speed of 25 Mbps). But if you could connect to a 5G network (with an average speed of 200 Mbps – 400 Mbps), after watching a few episodes, all the remaining 8 seasons would be downloaded and ready to binge.
5G is nearly a hundred times faster than 4G in transmission speed. Higher speed means more data can be transmitted and received, and the difference in the amount of data allows generations of networks to perform different tasks. 2G allows for call and text encryption as well as SMS, picture messaging, and MMS. 3G enables video calling, mobile internet, and fast data browsing on a mobile device. And 4G supports incredibly fast download speeds, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and much more.
As more people get access to more mobile devices and as IoT (Internet of Things) expands, a large number of devices are expected to need cellular network support, and that’s where 5G comes in.
- Lower Latency
If your screen freezes during a video call, but you can still hear everybody talking, this is a sign of higher latency. Latency is the measure of the time it takes for a packet of information to travel between two points, which can also be understood as the response time between an action and its reaction. Another example would be when you try to hit a moving target in a game, but you see the target zip through a space like the game itself is catching up to the player’s inputs.
5G has lower latency compared to 4G. The lower the latency, the higher the speed. Meaning more activities are much more responsive and smoother, like chatting with someone over a video or playing a fast-paced MOBA game.
Reducing latency is also very critical for time-sensitive applications. In IoT, for example, the time from receiving commands and performing tasks should be as short as possible to ensure IoT devices work intelligently and smoothly. Also, with faster connections for high-speed and high-quality video, medical staff can evaluate patients in medical emergencies before they arrive at the scene. They can direct others in the scene to start appropriate treatment, saving more time and lives.
- Enhanced Capacity
4G often struggles during peak hours. When trying to use a mobile phone during a crowded event, you’ll notice that the 4G signal becomes abnormally poor with data processing slowing down to a snail’s pace. Too many devices trying to use the network in one place causes congestion. That’s because when connected to a mobile phone, the 4G radio sends radio signals over a wide area when connecting a phone, even though the signal is only needed where the phone is.
5G solves this problem.
It allows for a higher number of users to connect simultaneously. 5G radio is much more efficient since it targets each device with precision so that more devices can use the network at the same time. Estimates show that 5G connectivity can connect up to one million devices per square kilometer. This means everyone receives a better connection for their phones. So maybe you’re out in the city to watch a huge fireworks show, you’ll be able to stream live video from your phone even when there’s little to no space to stand.
- Will 5G Replace 4G?
4G has been popular for some time but it never truly overtook 3G. Some countries and regions are still mainly using 3G networks. The same can be said for 5G replacing 4G.
5G is faster, but it comes at a price. Compared with the previous generation of networks, 5G tends to attenuate when propagating over large distances, making for a smaller signal range from the base station.
In order to achieve 5G network coverage, a lot more base stations are needed. All of which require more time and money from cities. So it is by no means a simple matter to cover 5G on a large scale. It’ll certainly take some time for 5G to completely replace 4G. Especially in remote areas or under complex terrains, you may still have to rely on 4G or even 2G networks to provide basic network signals.
Each generation of cellular networks marked the beginning of a brand new use of the internet. 3G networking brought out smartphones, 4G brought us the possibility of streaming high-quality content, and 5G will be the network that connects things. 5G is expected to deliver faster speed, real-time response, and enhanced connectivity, bringing more change and giving businesses and consumers the potential to experience new, innovative technologies.
But the rise of one generation of networks does not mean the end of another. At least for the years to come, multiple cellular networks will coexist to provide the most comprehensive network services to satisfy everyone’s network needs.
- TP-Link 4G/5G Router
TP-Link provides various 4G WiFi routers with the first 5G router coming out. The first 5G whole-home WiFi 6 gateway, Deco X80-5G, incorporates the latest cutting-edge tech like 5G broadband, WiFi 6, and Mesh to bring the best network connection with extremely fast wired and wireless speeds.
Armed with 5G technology, Deco X80-5G brings ultra-fast connections and has ultra-low latency with only 1 ms. It even supports a 4G network connection for those who haven’t yet upgraded to 5G. So, whether 5G will replace 4G or not, you can still enjoy a premium network experience.
For more about TP-Link’s 4G/5G WiFi routers, refer to https://www.tp-link.com/.