Many of us may be wondering to know, what is 5G and what is the key difference with 4G. We have been hearing about it for years, both because of the technological revolution that it entails and because of the typical fears that it arouses among those who do not understand it. But after several years in which it seemed that it was not going to arrive, it seems that 5G will definitely begin to take its first steps in 2019, and both operators and mobile manufacturers ( Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi or LG among others) are doing your first announcements related to your implantation.
But there are still those who do not quite understand what all this 5G is, not even some presidents of great powers, so we are going to explain what exactly 5G is, what promises the industry brings with this new standard, and what differences it has with the current 4G LTE network.
What is 5G
5G is the fifth generation of wireless communication technologies and standards, the Internet that devices such as your mobile phone use to allow you to connect to the network anywhere. Therefore, you do not have to think of this term as something new, since it is still a development or evolution of the current 4G / LTE.
The idea behind this development is to allow you to make a phone call, write as before, and above all, browse the Internet at a much higher speed than the current one, all while allowing more devices to be connecting at the same time. Do you remember how the speed you had a few years ago on your home WiFi was much slower than it is now? Well, this is something similar, but with mobile connections.
In fact, since you are making use of your memory, you may still realize how much your connection improved when you started to change your mobile’s 3G connectivity to take advantage of 4G, you started to be able to navigate at much more powerful speeds that allow you see current websites without problems, as this is a new evolutionary leap.
This fifth generation of wireless communications is the one that is going to try to make viewing a website on a mobile phone like opening any other file, with a speed so fast that we should be able to load Ultra HD videos or 3D models almost without blinking. The official standard has already been approved, and it promises to be between 10 and 20 times faster than current mobile connections.
You will see that in this explanation I am always talking about promises, and that is because it is a network that has not yet been deployed. The standard exists, the first mobiles to support it have already been presented, and operators such as Vodafone have already announced that they will begin to deploy it. But currently you can’t use it yet, so it remains to be seen if those speed predictions actually hold up from the start or if they still take a while to arrive.
What we are sure of is that on paper, 5G is an almost essential technology to survive the electromagnetic bottleneck that exists in large urban agglomerations today. With more and more connected devices, greater capacity is required and allow even more to connect to, for example, support an always-connected ecosystem of smart cars or the increasingly developed Internet of Things.
Difference between 5G and 4G
In this table you will see the main differences between 4G, 4G + or LTE, and 5G. The speed of the new standard will be much faster, so you can download content almost without realizing it. These are theoretical data, so depending on the operator you could see lower or higher speeds.
If you were attentive to our follow-up to Xiaomi’s presentation at MWC 2019, you will see that at one point they promised that their first 5G mobile could reach speed peaks of more than 2 gigabytes per second, which would mean being able to upload or download a video of 15 seconds in Full HD in just 1 second. But it is also said that the final peaks of the technology could be up to 20 Gbps (gigabytes per second).
But more important still is the decrease in latency. Latency is the time it takes to transfer a data packet within the network, the time it takes for an action to arrive from the moment you perform it until it is consumed. Currently there are already very low latencies, but 5G promises to lower them to between 1 and 2 milliseconds.
This means that interactions with the Internet or the cloud will be almost instantaneous. Added to the download speeds, this will mean that if you click on a photo that you have in the cloud, it would take the same time to open it on your mobile than if you already had it in its memory. An instant interaction experience that could also revolutionize mobile applications.
In any case, and as we have said before, 5G has not yet been implemented. This means that we can theorize or comment on what benefits it can bring, but that we will not definitely know until it is definitively implemented and it begins to be exploited. At the moment we have already seen demonstrations such as tele-assisted surgeries in real time, in which the surgeon performs the interventions from miles away.
A good summary of what the jump from 4G to 5G means was given us a few months ago by the chip manufacturer Qualcomm. For them, 4G served to connect people between them, and 5G is a new leap that will allow “connecting people with everything that surrounds us“, promoting not only communications, but other sectors such as automotive, medicine, health or households.