top of page

4G to 5G: The Evolution of Connectivity


4G and 5G services

Table of Contents: -

  1. What is 4g and 5G?

  2. What are the Primary Factors of 4G and 5G?

  3. What are the major things to make sure while you purchase 4G or 5G?

  4. In which area 4G coverage is better?

  5. In which area 5G coverage is better?

  6. Comparison between 4G and 5G?

  7. Conclusion

  8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is 4g and 5G?


4G (Fourth Generation) and 5G (Fifth Generation) refer to different generations of mobile network technology. Each generation has distinct technical specifications, capabilities, and potential use cases.


2. What are the Primary Factors of 4G and 5G?


The primary factors of 4G and 5G are:


1. Speed and Latency:

  • 4G: Provides speeds up to 1 Gbps for stationary users and 100 Mbps for mobile users. The typical latency for 4G is around 30-50 milliseconds.

  • 5G: Promises speeds up to 10 Gbps or even higher. It's designed to achieve latencies as low as 1 millisecond for specific applications, though typical user-experienced latencies might be in the range of 10 milliseconds.


2. Frequency Bands:

  • 4G: Operates on both lower (below 6 GHz) and some higher frequency bands (like LTE-U).

  • 5G: Uses a broader range of frequencies, including the sub-6 GHz spectrum and millimeter waves (mmWave), which are very high-frequency bands (24 GHz and above).

3. Capacity and Density:

  • 4G: Has limitations on how many devices can be efficiently supported in dense areas.

  • 5G: Designed to support a much larger number of devices, up to 1 million devices per square kilometer. This is crucial for the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) where many devices need to connect in a small area.

4. Architecture and Network Design:

  • 4G: Uses a relatively centralized architecture.

  • 5G: Utilizes a more decentralized design with edge computing capabilities, allowing data processing to occur closer to the source of the data. This decentralization helps in reducing latency and increases speed.

5. Connectivity and Reliability:

  • 4G: Offers solid connectivity but can struggle in areas with high user density or at the edge of coverage zones.

  • 5G: Aims to provide ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC), making it suitable for critical applications like autonomous vehicles and certain medical procedures.

6. Applications:

  • 4G: Primarily designed for improved mobile broadband experiences such as streaming video and music, web browsing, and social media.

  • 5G: Beyond improved mobile broadband, 5G targets new applications, including massive IoT deployments, mission-critical communications, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and other real-time applications.

7. Energy Efficiency:

  • 4G: Conventional energy consumption.

  • 5G: Designed to be more energy-efficient, which is important given the increased density of devices and base stations. However, the proliferation of more base stations might offset some of these efficiency gains.

8. Coverage:

  • 4G: Wide area coverage with sizable cells.

  • 5G: In addition to wide-area cells, 5G employs smaller cells to provide coverage, especially in urban areas and places where mm Wave frequencies are used, as these higher frequencies have a shorter range.


3. What are the major things to make sure while you purchase 4G or 5G?


The major things to make sure while you purchase 4G or 5G are: -


For 4G:


1. Coverage: Ensure that the service provider has extensive 4G coverage in your area.


2. Device Compatibility: Your device (e.g., smartphone or tablet) must be 4G LTE compatible.


3. Data Plans: 4G speeds can lead to higher data consumption. Opt for data plans that meet your usage needs without incurring extra costs.


4. Network Congestion: Even if an area has 4G coverage, the actual speeds can drop during peak times if the network is congested.


5. Tethering & Hotspot: If you intend to use your device as a hotspot, ensure your plan and provider support this without additional fees.


6. Battery Life: 4G can consume more battery, so consider this when using mobile devices and think about power-saving options.


For 5G:


1. Coverage: 5G is still being rolled out in many areas. Check if your location has 5G coverage and how consistent it is, especially since 5G frequencies (like mm Wave) have a shorter range.


2. Device Compatibility: You'll need a 5G-compatible device to take advantage of 5G speeds.


3. Infrastructure Awareness: 5G, especially mm Wave, requires more cell towers due to its shorter range. Ensure that infrastructure development is ongoing in your area if you're looking for consistent speeds.


4. Data Plans: Given the higher speeds, you might consume more data on 5G. Ensure your data plan is sufficient.


5. Cost: 5G plans might be priced higher than 4G. Consider if the price increase aligns with your usage needs and budget.


6. Applications & Use Cases: Evaluate if you really need 5G. If you're looking to support applications that require ultra-low latency or massive data transfers, then 5G is suitable. Otherwise, 4G might suffice.


7. Battery Life: Early 5G devices have shown increased battery consumption when connected to 5G networks. This is improving with newer devices, but it's still a consideration.


8. Heat Generation: Some early 5G devices have experienced heat issues due to the increased power usage. It's essential to see if newer devices or those specific to your chosen carrier have addressed these concerns.


9. Health and Safety: While there's no conclusive evidence linking 5G frequencies to health issues, it's wise to stay informed about the latest research and findings.


10. Interoperability: Ensure that your 5G device can fall back to 4G/LTE seamlessly when 5G is unavailable.


11. Network Security: With greater speeds and more devices connecting to 5G, it's essential to be aware of security. Ensure that your device, as well as any IoT devices you might connect, have robust security measures in place.


4. In which area 4G coverage is better?


The coverage of 4G largely depends on various factors such as the country, region, urban vs. rural areas, and the presence of infrastructure investments by the network providers.


1. Urban Areas: In general, 4G coverage is better and more consistent in urban and metropolitan areas across the globe. Cities usually have a higher density of cell towers and infrastructure, ensuring better signal strength and connectivity. For this reason, major cities in countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, India, China, and many European nations have robust 4G coverage.


2. Developed Countries: Countries with mature and well-invested telecommunications infrastructure, like the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and many Western European nations, tend to have more widespread 4G coverage.


3. Areas with High Population Density: Places with higher populations typically get prioritized for infrastructure upgrades. Therefore, 4G coverage is generally better in densely populated areas, as providers aim to reach the maximum number of users with their services.


4. Major Transportation Routes: Many service providers ensure good 4G coverage along major highways, railways, and other transportation routes, even if these cut through less-populated areas.


5. Tourist Destinations: Popular tourist destinations, even if they are remote, often have better 4G coverage due to the high influx of visitors requiring mobile connectivity.


5. In which area 5G coverage is better?


The deployment and coverage of 5G are dynamically evolving, with service providers around the world continuously rolling out 5G networks. Generally, the areas with better 5G coverage exhibit the following characteristics are:


1. Urban and Metropolitan Areas: Cities and major metropolitan regions typically receive priority for 5G deployments because of their high population density and the potential for a higher return on investment for telecom operators. Examples include cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and many more.


2. Developed Countries: Countries with established and advanced telecommunications infrastructures, such as the USA, South Korea, Japan, China, and many Western European nations, have been at the forefront of 5G rollouts.


3. Tech Hubs: Areas known for their technological innovation or where tech companies have a significant presence often see faster 5G deployment. For instance, cities like Silicon Valley in the USA or Shenzhen in China.


4. Sporting and Event Venues: Due to the large number of people attending events and the demand for high-speed connectivity, many stadiums, arenas, and event venues have been prioritized for 5G deployment.


5. Test and Pilot Areas: Before a full-scale rollout, service providers often select specific regions or cities to test their 5G networks. These pilot areas might experience 5G coverage earlier than others.


6. Areas with Existing Infrastructure: Deploying 5G often requires upgrades to existing telecommunications infrastructure. As a result, areas with newer or recently upgraded 4G equipment might be more likely to receive 5G upgrades sooner.


6. Comparison between 4G and 5G?


Here is a table according to 4G and 5G.

Feature

4G

​5G

​Speed

​20 Mbps to1 Gbps

​50 Mbps to 20 Gbps

​Latency

​30-50 milliseconds

~1millisecond

Capacity

​Suited for mobile devices & some IOT

​Up to 1 million devices per sq. kilometer

​Frequency Spectrum

Sub-6 GHz

Sub-6 GHz & mmWave

Bandwidth

Up to20 MHz channels (with carrier agg.)

100 MHz to800 MHz channels

Network Architecture

Large cell towers

Large towers & small cells

Connectivity Focus

Mobile devices like smartphones & tablets

Mobile devices, IOT, industry machinery

Applications

HD video, web browsing, social media, some IOT

AR, VR, autonomous vehicles, advanced IOT

Energy Efficiency

Efficient but can be improved

​More efficient per bit

Coverage

Wide in developed nations

Initially urban & metro areas, expanding

7. Conclusion

conclusion

Based on the above categories we have the final conclusion for 4G and 5G


As the successor to 4G, 5G technology promises to revolutionize the way we interact with the digital world. The sheer increase in speed, reduced latency, and enhanced capacity of 5G sets it apart from its predecessor. Where 4G made mobile internet experiences smoother and faster, 5G is poised to redefine several industries, from entertainment and gaming with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications, to autonomous driving, advanced IoT implementations, and critical real-time communications.


While 4G was primarily oriented towards enhanced mobile broadband and some IoT applications, 5G's architecture is designed for universal adaptability. Its infrastructure will cater not just to smartphones but to a vast array of devices, from industrial machinery to small sensors, creating a more interconnected and efficient ecosystem.


However, it's essential to understand that the transition won't be immediate. 4G still has a significant role to play, especially in regions where 5G deployment might be slower or in areas where 5G's high-frequency bands have limitations. 4G will work in tandem with 5G for many years, acting as a reliable fallback and ensuring that users have consistent connectivity.


In conclusion, while 4G paved the way for the mobile-first revolution and brought substantial changes to how we communicate and consume content, 5G is set to expand this horizon manifold. It will enable applications and services previously thought impossible or impractical, marking a transformative leap in the realm of wireless communication. The promise of 5G goes beyond speed; it's about reshaping industries, fostering innovation, and creating a world that's more connected and efficient than ever before.


8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

faq

Q1. Will 4G become obsolete after 5G's full rollout?

Ans. While 5G is the future, 4G will continue to exist and serve many regions and users for several years. It will act as a fallback network in many 5G areas.


Q2. Is there a significant difference in 4G and 5G latency?

Ans. Yes, 5G offers significantly lower latency, often around 1 millisecond, compared to 4G's 30-50 milliseconds.


Q3. How does 5G handle more devices compared to 4G?

Ans. 5G has a higher capacity and can support up to a million devices per square kilometer, making it ideal for IoT and smart city applications.


Q4. Will 5G replace Wi-Fi?

Ans. Not necessarily. While 5G offers high-speed internet, Wi-Fi, especially Wi-Fi 6 and newer versions, will continue to play a crucial role in local area networks, homes, and businesses.


Comments


bottom of page