While we still use 4G Networks, and they are going to stay and work along with 5G Networks in tandem, 5G is the buzzword now. So what's that unique thing you can do with 5G that you cannot on 4G? As of now, it is somewhat difficult to give a specific use case from a consumer perspective. But there are differences between 4G and 5G and how exactly 5G can change the connected lives and experiences which we will learn through this story.
Who Created 5G Technology?
The 5G technology was developed in cooperation between many different companies and organizations across the globe, through the 3GPP organization. This means companies across the world with expertise in many fields and technologies came together to build it. This Global standardization and compatibility will ensure that a mobile device manufactured in India can be used while you are travelling to any other country on a different cellular Network.
5G is the Solution:
Wireless broadband, streaming, gaming and heavy data consumption became feasible with 4G. Thanks to 4G Networks. But 5G adds more capacity and speed. There's a limit to how much information radio waves carry depending on the frequency band and technology used. If a large number of users get connected to a specific cell site, for someone the experience may be better, and someone experiences a degraded network. 5G solves this problem, as 5G adds more capacity for a large number of devices to get connected simultaneously. Hence, the consumer network experience improves. 5G was designed to provide more capacity, enabling a range of new types of smart devices and industry digitalization with innovative use cases.
Efficient Battery Utilization
Do You know that Network technology also plays a vital role in the battery consumption of our devices? As 5G Networks take care of the IoT use cases, those tiny devices with little battery capacity stay connected on 5G Networks for longer durations. A 5G Network antenna uses a relatively small amount of power (less than 1 W up to a few hundred watts) depending upon the type.
5G Radio Frequencies:
5G Networks work on High-band (26 GHz), Mid-band (3300 MHz) and Low-band (<1 GHz) frequencies. In India, spectrum in 5G bands is successfully auctioned, and telcos purchased what they deem good for business use cases and complement the existing spectrum. However, 5G can also be deployed on other bands in which 4G is currently in use. The 5G and 4G Networks can also dynamically share spectrum based on the usage scenario.
5G Can connect More Devices:
4G Networks got us the taste of speeds but to take it to next level, 5G is needed. We must have already experienced congested networks in highly dense areas on 4G networks. The video buffering and lag are a result of the congested networks on 4G. The core purpose of 5G Networks is to solve this problem. 5G Networks intelligently transmit to each device with much precision, enabling the Networks to handle as largely as 1 million devices per square kilometre.
5G is Designed Not just for Smartphones
With 4G or lower generation Networks, it's only the mobile devices which got significant importance, something like one-size fits all kind of connectivity. But 5G focuses on connecting everything and everyone on the wireless networks. From smart devices to Industrial Robots, 5G Networks can cater to every use case.
5G: More than a Network
We have always emphasised how 5G is more of an experience to end customers. While 4G Networks made cloud services accessible to end customers and businesses, 5G Networks have processing power built-in. The 5G network can act as a distributed data centre that performs processing tasks. For smart devices which use AR, VR, smart glasses, and gaming use cases - Edge computing can immensely help bring the power of processing closer to the user, thereby reducing the load on mobile devices and enhancing performance and saving battery.
5G Networks can act as many separate Networks simultaneously. Thanks to 5G Technology called Network Slicing. Sometimes, you need priority for specific use cases like medical, industrial, gaming etc. 5G Network slicing can prioritise the functionality in Networks and facilitate the required network experience. As a result, you will get a flawless experience while playing games or doing high data-consuming activities. Such a feature is not present in 4G.
Latency measures the time taken to transfer a packet of data between two given points. Currently, 4G has a latency of 50 milliseconds. 5G offers a better latency of around 1 ms. Such a low latency facilitates a great streaming experience.
Millimetre waves (26 GHz) offer less coverage when compared to the other 5G Bands (700 MHz and 3300 MHz) and hence need extensive infrastructure deployments. Whatever theoretical coverage numbers we discuss, the practical scenario will always be different when it comes to wireless networks in real-life use cases. In such cases, small cell deployments can be of some help to extend coverage.
- 5G Low band spectrum offers blanket coverage - 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz
- 5G mid-band spectrum provides coverage and capacity - 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz
- 5G high-band spectrum delivers super-fast speeds over short distances - 26 GHz
Spectrum in the 1 GHz - 6 GHz range is a mid-band spectrum and is considered ideal for 5G because it can carry plenty of data while also travelling notable distances, thereby delivering capacity and coverage. The millimetre wave spectrum is limited because signals can’t travel very far.
However, let's not completely discount the wonders that 4G has unlocked for us in terms of mobile connectivity and broadband. The digital world was significantly increased and made indispensable to every area of our life throughout the 4G internet age. India is witnessing very fast 5G rollouts that put our 5G networks on Global Maps and scale.
You can check the Spectrum Holdings and 5G Rollout timeline of India at India Spectrum Holding Timeline 2022.