5G technology is the 5th generation of the cellular network. This is a new global radio standard based on 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G networks. 5G technology enables a new type of network that can connect virtually anyone and anything, including machines, things, and devices.
The 5G wireless technology is designed to bring more people higher data speeds with multiple Gbps, ultra-low latency, higher reliability, massive network capacity, longer uptime, and a more consistent user experience. Better performance and improved efficiency enable new user experiences and connect new industries.
Previous generations of mobile networks and 5G?
First-generation – 1G
The 1980s: 1G delivered analogue voice.
Second-generation – 2G
The early 1990s: 2G introduced digital voice
Third generation – 3G
The early 2000s: 3G brought mobile data
Fourth-generation – 4G LTE
The 2010s: 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile broadband.
HOW DOES 5G technology work?
Most operators will initially integrate 5G networks into existing 4G networks to ensure a continuous connection.
5G network architecture that illustrates how 5G and 4G work. Central and local servers deliver faster content and lower latency applications to users.
A cellular network consists of two main factors, the “radio access network” and the “core network”.
How fast is 5G?
Based on currently available data from RootMetrics, Open Signal and other validated UK networks tests, you can expect average 5G download speeds of between 100Mbps and 200Mbps. The exact numbers vary from network to network and location to location, but the averages recorded are generally within this range.
The spike has now been recorded at 478.1 Mbps – the highest number we’ve recently seen in independent testing (conducted by RootMetrics).
For the average 4G and 3G download speeds in the table above, we used the highest average speeds for the Ofcom mobile network experience update in April 2020.
Right now, you can expect 5G to be three to six times faster than 4G on average. However, in some cases, this difference is much larger. As mentioned below, the average 5G speed recorded by RootMetrics for Vodafone in London was 181.8 Mbps, which is more than 11 times faster than the average recorded 4G speed of 15.8 Mbps.
And 5G gets faster over time, at theoretical speeds that could be hundreds of times faster than 4G, based on Ofcom’s estimate of 10-50 Gbps.
Maximum 5G speeds in the UK
While 5G is fast, the exact speed depends in part on where you are and what network you are on. However, now we have a good idea of the general speeds you can expect. Below are details of the actual maximum speeds that Tests by RootMetrics achieved with each network.
Based on currently available data from RootMetrics, Open Signal and other validated tests, you can expect average 5G download speeds between 100Mbps and 200Mbps on UK networks. The exact numbers vary from network to network and location to location, but the recorded averages are usually within this range.
The peak was recorded at 478.1 Mbps – the highest number we’ve seen recently in independent testing (conducted by RootMetrics).
For the average 4G and 3G download speeds shown in the table above, we have used the highest average speeds in Ofcom’s Mobile Network Experience Update as of April 2020.
Right now, you can assume that 5G is around 3 to 6 times faster than 4G on average. However, in some cases, this difference is much larger. As shown below, the average 5G speed recorded by RootMetrics for Vodafone in London was 181.8Mbps, which is 11 times faster than the average speed recorded on 4G of 15.8Mbps.
And 5G is expected to get faster over time, with theoretical speeds that could be hundreds of times faster than 4G based on Ofcom’s estimate of 10-50 Gbps.
What frequency is 5G?
From 1G to 5G, all cellular networks transmit information using the electromagnetic spectrum, including the radio spectrum. Several frequency bands of the radio spectrum are used for 5G, including Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband (UWB) network. The information below will tell you what frequency 5G uses and how it affects network speed and efficiency.
What frequency does 5G use?
The high band spectrum is sometimes referred to as millimeter wavelength (mmWave) in the cellular industry and allows a frequency of around 28 GHz. This is rather faster than 4G networks, which use a frequency of around 700 MHz to 2500 MHz to transmit information.
To support the features promised by 5G, including the ability to support 1 million devices per square kilometer, the FCC has tapped massive bandwidths into the high-band spectrum for 5G. This spectrum is known as the new 5G radio frequency bands.
Verizon’s recently deployed 5G UWB network uses 28 and 39 GHz mmWave frequency bands 40 times the bandwidth of a 700 MHz 4G LTE network. This will help the network in terms of latency, speed and capacity as more devices will be able to operate on this high band frequency spectrum. To give you an idea, the 4G latency is around 20-30 milliseconds. This means that information takes so long to pass between the origin and the recipient. However, 5G latency is expected to be less than ten milliseconds per day. Verizon will also deploy 5G technology in lower frequency bands, including a frequency range of 700 MHz to 2500 MHz, to cover a large area. This means that devices further away from the antennas should be able to access the network.
Mainly, 5G is expected to improve user experience, support new use cases like industrial automation, Internet of Things (IoT), etc. Smart cities and infrastructure managers can rely on the ability of 5G to handle all devices that require large amounts of data over short periods of time. These devices must be able to operate reliably and safely in high-density areas such as factories, airports and urban centers.
Will 5G replace Home Broadband?
It’s going to be a game-changer. When you get a 5G hub, you just plugin and you’ll get incredible speeds that’ll give traditional fiber and cable providers a run for their money. While others wait for appointments, engineers and fiddle with cables, you’ll be streaming 4K in one room, while your mates game in another, while you’re streaming your favourite tunes, uploading selfies and ordering take out.
What is 5G Home Broadband?
5G technology is the next step of wireless technology, and we’re building the UK’s fastest 5G network with more 5G spectrum than anyone else. That means way more data, moving way faster. Our 5G broadband is going to turbo downloads and means less lag than ever before. Even when the family’s streaming, gaming and tweeting all at the same time.
What is the radio spectrum?
To recognize how fast 5G technology is likely to be, it’s important to consider it relative to other cellular network technologies. If you think back to the physics of high school, you may remember the electromagnetic spectrum. This includes all of the different wavelengths/frequencies you may come across: gamma rays, x-rays, visible light and rays, microwaves, millimeter waves (mmWave), radio waves (including AM and FM radio), etc.
The radio spectrum covers frequencies between 3 kilohertz (kHz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). The first cellular networks, including 1G, operated at a frequency of 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. Then the 2G and 3G networks worked with additional frequency bands and frequencies around 2100 MHz, and 4G LTE technology worked with additional frequency bands and frequencies around 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 1.7 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz. Verizon’s 5G Ultra-wideband network operates at significantly higher radio frequencies than its early mobile counterparts.
5G technology, the latest generation of cellular network technology, will be the fastest of these networks. This new technology will take a huge leap forward in terms of reducing latency and speed. This speed is highly dependent on the fact that 5G uses higher radio frequencies. The maximum expected speed of 5G is 20 Gbit / s, which is 20 times faster than the maximum speeds of existing 4G networks. This is thanks to the additional frequencies and frequency bands.
How is 5G technology better than 4G technology?
There are several reasons that 5G technology will be better than 4G technology:
• 5G network is significantly faster than the 4G network
• 5G network has more capacity than the 4G network
• 5G network has significantly lower latency than the 4G network
• 5G network is a unified platform that is more capable than 4G network
• 5G network uses spectrum better than 4G network
5G is a more powerful unified platform than 4G.
While 4G LTE focused on providing much faster mobile broadband services than 3G, 5G was designed as a unified and more powerful platform that not only improves the mobile broadband experience but also takes in charge of new services such as critical communications and massive IoT. 5G can also natively support all spectral types (licensed, shared, unlicensed) and bands (low, medium, high), large range of deployment models (from traditional macrocells to hotspots) and new methods of connection (e.g. devices) – to device and multi-hop mesh)
5G uses spectrum better than 4G.
5G has also been designed to make the most of every part of the spectrum in a variety of paradigms and bands available for frequency regulation – from low bands lass 1 GHz to mid-range bands from 1 GHz to 6 GHz to high bands. Called millimeter waves (mmWave).
5G is faster than 4G.
5G can be significantly faster than 4G and offers peak data rates of up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbit / s) and average data rates of over 100 megabits per second (Mbit / s).
5G has more capacity than 4G.
5G is designed to support 100 times increase in traffic capacity and also network efficiency.
5G network has lower latency than the 4G network.
5G network has significantly lower latency to deliver more instantaneous, real-time access: a 10x decrease in end-to-end latency down to 1ms.
Where is 5G being used?
In general, 5G is used for three main types of connected services, including enhanced mobile broadband, mission-critical communications, and massive IoT. A defining function of 5G is that it is designed for forwarding compatibility – the ability to flexibly helps future services that are unknown today.
Enhanced mobile broadband
5G mobile technology not only improves our smartphones but also delivers new immersive experiences such as VR (Virtual Reality) and AR with faster and more consistent data rates, lower latency and lower cost per bit.
5G can enable new services capable of transforming industries with highly reliable, available, and low latency connections such as the remote control of critical infrastructure, vehicles and medical procedures.
5G is supposed to seamlessly connect a large number of built-in sensors in almost every area reducing data rates, performance and mobility. This offers extremely simple and inexpensive connectivity solutions.