4G vs 5G: The Dawn of Ultra-Fast Internet in the US

Read this article to understand how the arrival of 5G in the US is going to change the landscape of mobile networking. Know the changes it brings it for the consumer, the new technologies it enables and what impact will it bring for the current 4G ecosystem.

2020 is the year of ardently anticipated fifth-generation mobile telecom technology and is expected to be a game-changer in mobile networking. It will be able to get us exponentially fast download and upload speeds.
South Korea was the first country to offer 5G back in 2018 and it is fair to say that the industry has made unbelievable advances since then. The first mobile phone was made in 1973 and today they shape our lives in unimaginable ways. More and more countries will adopt the technology this year and the internet is set to drive everything in our lives.

So, where did it all begin? The year was 1983 and the US approved the 1G operations. Motorola introduced the first ever-mobile phone for the 1G Network. With the passage of time, 1G started to roll out in other countries such as the UK and Canada. Let us be honest, the service was poor and sound quality was low.

However, the advent of the second generation of mobile networks (2G) started a cultural revolution. For the first time ever, the calls were encrypted and the sound quality was much better. People were able to send text messages and multimedia messages (MMS) through their phones. This lead to the mass adoption of mobile phones by businesses and domestic consumers alike.

We did not stop there. The notion deeply embedded in the human that entails striving for more and never be content with what you have, played a vital role. We came up with 3G. This was a significant event in human history. The 3G network had increased data transferring capabilities and paved the way for seamless video conferencing and video streaming. Blackberry supported the 3G revolution with its phones that had many powerful features.

There was no stopping and we eventually developed more advanced 4G and 5G technologies.
As we know that 5G is the newest mobile networking technology and looks to replace 4G by providing a number of improvements when it comes to coverage, reliability, and speed. Are we ready for this evolution? Umm, yes. The primary reason for upgrading the network is to support the ever-increasing number of devices that demand a steady internet access. Most of them require extra bandwidth to function normally and for that, 4G simply does not cut anymore.

5G is much different from 4G as it uses new kinds of antennas and operates on a different radio frequency. The delays will be minimized and you will be able to do everything in the blink of an eye. Some people argue that 5G will affect the broadband industry but honestly, it will not. Providers like Cox and Spectrum are aiming for fiber internet and that would be enough for the residential customers. However, most of the residential customers are satisfied with Cox and Spectrum internet powered by coaxial cables with speeds up to 1 Gbps.

How does 5G work differently than 4G?

5G is a new technology and to be fair, it would not be new if it were not fundamentally different from the existing technology. Therefore, we will be comparing all the basic differences between 4G and 5G.
Not to our surprise, 5G will be using some unique radio frequencies that were otherwise absent in 4G networks. Your smartphones connect with the radio spectrum that is broken up into small bands. Each of these bands will have unique features as you go up to the higher frequencies.

4G networks were using frequencies below 6GHz. If someone time travels from the past, he or she would make a big deal out of this 6GHz. Not us. The 5G network will be using extremely high frequencies ranging from 30GHz to 300GHz. What an upgrade? Isn't it?

For a layman, the question becomes how these frequencies make a difference? Well, these high frequencies are important for a number of reasons. They have the capacity to support huge data transfers within seconds. Moreover, these high frequencies are less cluttered with our existing cellular networks that mean they are perfect for catering to the increasing bandwidth demands. Since these frequencies are highly directional, so they will fit in rightly with the other wireless signals without any interference.

Contrarily, the 4G networks were not directional as they fire data in all directions. This is not only the waste of energy and power but it is somewhat pointless to send radio waves in areas not needing internet access.

This is not it. 5G has shorter wavelengths. This means that we can finally get rid of the large antennas and the ones we will use shall be much smaller. We will be able to install more directional antennas in a single base station and this entails more coverage. One estimate states that 5G can support over 1000 devices per meter than 4G.

However, there is one catch. There has to be a clear line of sight between the antenna and the device receiving the signal. The objects, humidity, and rain easily absorb these high frequencies. Thus, they will not be able to travel far. The problem can easily be solved by strategically placing antennas in houses or positioning large ones throughout the city. Every technology has challenges in the beginning but as the technology grows, a viable solution is found.

Another difference between 4G and 5G is that the latter is smarter. The 5G networks will easily understand the type of data being requested. In case, you are using the internet for basic browsing and streaming, it will switch to low power mode. However, when you are streaming your favorite TV shows in ultra-high-definition, it will switch to high power mode.

What are the key differences between 4G and 5G?


We have already discussed that the 5G network uses a high-band spectrum. Therefore, all the big cities and urban centers will have those massive speeds and low latency but in areas where the high-band spectrum is not available, the connection will not be reliable.
In cities where 5G is deployed, it can be a little difficult to stay connected to the 5G internet. Moreover, there are a handful of 5G enabled devices available in the market. For now, your smart device will be using a mix of 4G and 5G. If you are close to the tower, your device will access the ultra-fast speeds. If you are not, your device will be using the same old 4G.


4G 5G Speed
We are all in thing for ultra-fast speeds and download speed is a highly anticipated element of this next-generation network. 5G is set to raise our expectations even more. Right now, it is seen to be 100 times faster than 4G. What could you possibly do with these speeds?

How about downloading a 2.5-hour film in less than 15 seconds? Yes, with 5G that is possible. This ultra-fast internet has obvious applications such as online gaming, 4K streaming, and downloading large files over the internet. However, there are endless possibilities people do not talk of. For example, it can be as simple as putting security cameras in a big factory and one may be able to get high-quality footage of the product in real-time.

As the 5G network operates on a high-band spectrum, it is interesting to know that these higher frequencies have the capacity to transmit much more data than 4G. Moreover, there will be a significant reduction in speeds as the weather conditions and physical objects will give these signals a hard time to pass.

However, by installing small cell sites in close proximity, we will be to tackle this issue.


Network congestion is a big problem as more and more people have access to the internet. You might have experienced a frustrating feeling in small areas crowded with many people – a stadium or an airport. We call it the spinning wheel of death causing the websites and pages to load slowly.
This is because of a phenomenon called congestion. It happens if too many people are using the network in one place or the present network infrastructure cannot cater to the mass number of devices. This results in slower download speeds and a delayed response.

Since 5G is a new technology and the purpose of new technology is to overcome the shortcomings of the previous one, it provides a solution to this congestion problem. This next-generation of networking has significantly more capacity than 4G. As a result, you will be entitled to a better connection on your phone even in the most crowded spaces. Furthermore, it will handle many more devices without any congestion.

We are 24/7 connected with the internet. Everything from our smart devices to our home appliances, we need the internet. 5G is like a freeway with more lanes for cars to drive on. Therefore, everything will be connected to the 5G network at one time without worrying about the connection or speed.

This one is for the gamers: Latency!

If you are a gamer, this is the only thing that matters to you. Who doesn't want their online games to run smoothly without any lag? Latency in simple terms is the time taken by your devices to communicate with each or with the server.

Speed is merely the time taken by your device to download a webpage or a file. Latency is the time taken by the message from your computer to reach its destination. With 4G, you should not expect low latency.

5G will be making it virtually zero!

This is going to influence the new generation of gaming. People will be able to play remotely in real-time using wireless consoles. The best part is all of them will be exactly on the same page as the others.


As of now, no major carriers in the US are charging for 5G plans yet but it could change though. AT&T announced that this new generation of network would cost the customers similar amounts as home broadband plans. For now, AT&T's only device for the consumers is Netgear's Nighthawk that will cost the customers just $70 on a monthly basis.

Verizon will cost customers $10 on top of their existing data plan for 5G. Moreover, Sprint and T-Mobile are not charging customers separately for 5G but the only requirement is to activate a 5G phone with an unlimited monthly data plan. In the case of T-Mobile, the plan is called Magenta and it costs $70/mo. for a single device.

Does that mean 4G is done?

Not really. Most of us were relying on 3G even when 4G was available. This is exactly what we think will happen with 5G. The notion that 5G is an ultimate replacement for 4G is somewhat erroneous. I would call it more as complementary technologies.

It is important to note that all the carriers are still upgrading the existing 4G networks to improve the latency and download speeds. It is projected that 5G will hit most of the big cities and only a handful of premium phones will be able to take full advantage. For the rest of us, we will have to wait a year maybe two for 5G to spread across geographical regions.

What are the 5G-enabled devices?

We have a long way to go. We are not there yet. It will probably take another couple of years for 5G to be as ubiquitous as the widely available fourth-generation network a.k.a 4G. However, it is good that we are taking baby steps into the future. The smartphone manufacturers are adopting new standards and following are the top 5G enabled devices:
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Fold 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
  • LG V50 ThinQ
  • Moto Z4 (with 5G Moto Mod)
  • Moto Z3 (with 5G Moto Mod)
  • Moto Z2 Force
  • OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
  • Huawei Mate X
  • Huawei Mate 20 X 5G

  • Oppo Reno 5G
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
  • Axon 10 Pro 5G
  • Nubia X 5G

5G's availability

T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T have rolled out 5G in 18 cities. The businesses will have access to a better version of 5G. It will be based entirely on their requirements. With the 5G devices like Galaxy Note 10+, LG V50, and OnePlus 7 Pro, customers can enjoy ultra-fast internet.

Final Verdict

This is just the beginning and not the end and we will continue to strive for higher internet speeds and connections. What is the future of the internet like? Well, standard bodies are looking at 20 Gbps speeds and zero latency. This is exciting!


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