What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

Hi, Habr! I study radio engineering. Recently, many friends have asked me why to switch to 5G technology and what is the difference between 4G and 5G. Therefore, today I present to your attention a translation of an article on this topic.

5G is a mobile network that replaces 4G, with improved rates of transmission, network coverage and reliability.

Modernization of the existing network was needed because the number of devices requiring an Internet connection is constantly growing. In order to function properly, many devices need network bandwidth, with which 4G can no longer cope.

5G works on other antennas and frequencies, gives Internet access to more devices, minimizes data transfer delays and provides ultra-fast speed.

5G works differently than 4G

The new mobile network would not be new if it did not fundamentally differ from the existing ones. One of the fundamental differences is that 5G works in a different radio frequency range in order to achieve goals that 4G cannot cope with.

The radio spectrum is divided into bands, the characteristics of which change with increasing frequency. 4G operates at frequencies below 6 GHz, while 5G uses extremely high frequencies in the range from 30 GHz to 300 GHz.

High frequencies are good for many reasons, one of the most important is that they are capable of providing high network capacity and high transmission speeds. The high-frequency bands are not yet overloaded with the existing cellular communication and will be able to meet the increasing network bandwidth requirements in the future. In addition, the transmission of signals at extremely high frequencies is characterized by a clear directivity, so radio signals in this range can be transmitted in parallel with the operation of other wireless devices, without causing interference.

In turn, the 4G towers emit a signal in all directions, sometimes wasting energy and power for radiating radio waves to areas where a connection is not required.

5G transmits data at shorter wavelengths, which means that the antennas can be much smaller than those currently used, and at the same time provide more precise adjustment of the directivity. Since one base station can accommodate more directional antennas, 5G will support the number of connected devices per meter by 1000 more than 4G.

This means that when 5G networks become widely available, data will be transmitted at extremely high speeds to more users. Transmission accuracy will increase, and delays will be minimal.

High frequencies have their drawbacks. Extremely high frequencies transmit a signal within the direct line of sight between the antenna and the receiver. Moreover, the radio waves of this range attenuate strongly when transmitting over long distances, because their energy is absorbed by hydrometeors (rain, fog, snow) and other objects.

For these reasons, the location of antennas on 5G networks should be carefully planned. Perhaps it will be small antennas in each room or building or large, located throughout the city. Maybe both of these types. Most likely, you will have to use a lot of repeaters, transmitting radio waves as far as possible to provide support for 5G at a great distance.

Another difference between 5G and 4G is that 5G networks easily adapt to different types of transmitted content and can switch to low power mode when not in use or when a device is running at low speeds and then switching to higher power. for delivery of services such as, for example, HD video streaming.

5G is much faster than 4G

Bandwidth is the amount of information that can be downloaded or downloaded over the network at a time. Theoretically, in ideal conditions, data is transmitted at peak speeds, if any devices and interference have very little effect on speed.

In terms of peak speeds, 5G is 20 times faster than 4G. This means that in the time it takes to download a piece of data on a 4G network (a movie, for example), it can be downloaded 20 times over a 5G network. If you look differently, you can download almost 10 movies before 4G downloads the first half of one!

Peak speed in 5G networks reaches at least 20 Gbit / s, and for 4G - 1 Gbit / s. Numbers refer to devices that do not move. The speed varies as you start driving, for example, in a car or train.

However, these speeds are not normal for devices on 5G networks, since many factors often affect network throughput. It is more important to look at realistic speeds or average measured throughput.

Network 5G are not used everywhere, so we can not operate on a real experience, but 5G network repeatedly tested and consistently showed a minimum download speed of 100 Mbit / s (home services work at speeds from 300 Mb / s to 1 Gb / s!)

Speed depends from many variables, but 4G networks on average show less than 10 Mbps, which makes 5G at least 10 times faster than 4G.

What can 5G do that 4G can't?

Given the differences in the work of technology, it is clear that 5G paves the way for the future of mobile devices and communications, but what does this really mean to you?

With 5G, you can still send text messages, make calls, use the Internet and stream video. In fact, nothing that you are doing on your phone on the Internet is going anywhere with the transition to 5G - services will simply be improved .

Web sites will load faster, videos that automatically launch earlier will start even faster (unfortunately?). Online games will stop slowing down, and the video in Skype or FaceTime will become smoother and more realistic.

What seems fast now when working on the Internet may seem instantaneous.

Using 5G as a home network, you can simultaneously connect to the Internet more devices without bandwidth problems. Some home Internet connections are so slow that they simply cannot cope with the technologies that are emerging day after day.

The 5G home network will allow you to connect a smartphone, a game console, smart door handles, a virtual reality headset, wireless security cameras, a tablet, a laptop - all to one router at a time.

4G does not cope with the growing number of mobile devices, while 5G opens the way for technologies based on Internet connection, such as intelligent traffic lights, wireless sensors, wearable devices and devices for communication between cars.

Vehicles that receive GPS data and navigation instructions (such as traffic alerts) require an extremely fast Internet connection — it’s unrealistic to believe that 4G will cope with these requirements.

Since the transmission speed of 5G is much higher than that of 4G, there is a possibility that data transmission will not require pre-compression. This will allow even faster access to information, because now it does not need to be unpacked before use.

When will 5G networks appear?

So far, we cannot use 5G, because for mobile operators and service providers, the technology is currently at the testing and development stage, and 5G phones have not even gained popularity yet.

The exact release date of 5G for each provider or country is not set, but most of them plan to launch 5G networks in 2019 or 2020, with the exception of some South Korean telecommunications companies.

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