4G vs 5G - Differences between 4G and 5G technologies - Tech | 5G, SDN/NFV & Edge Compute


Friday, November 30, 2018

4G vs 5G - Differences between 4G and 5G technologies

What are the differences between 4G and 5G technologies? Why is there so much hype around 5G? What is really the need for yet another "G", while most of us are happy with 4G speeds? This blog post makes an attempt to highlight the differences between 4G and 5G:

Image Source: www.pexels.com
(Also Read: 4G LTE vs. WiMax)

The following are some unique features of 5G, which makes 5G significantly different from 4G:
  • 5G supports upto 1 Gbps speed (vs. 30 Mbps - 400 Mbps speed supported by 4G)
  • 5G can offer 1 - 2 ms latency (when compared to 50 ms latency provided by 4G)
  • 5G infrastructure can be sliced into multiple virtual networks / network slices with different performance criteria and shared across different services / customers / partners (4G doesn't support this capability)
  • 5G requires installation of small cell towers in many locations called small cells (vs. the large towers installed for 4G services)
  • 5G use cases are focused beyond just offering a higher speed for mobile phones - such as Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality, IOT and Fixed Wireless Services. 

Criteria 4G5G
Speed300 - 400 Mbps (lab)
40 - 100 Mbps (real world)
1000 Mbps (lab)
300 - 400 Mbps (real world)
Latency50 ms1 - 2 ms
Frequency2 - 8 GHzSub 6 GHz (5G macro optimized),
3-30 GHz (5G E small cells)
30-100 GHz (5G Ultra Dense)
Use CasesEnhanced Mobile Broadband
Online Video
Online Gaming
Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
Internet of Things (IOT)
Holographic Calls
Fixed Wireless
Enhanced Mobile Broadband
Self-Driving Cars
Robotic Surgeries
Technology RolloutALL major operators around the globeVerizon (5G Home Service in Oct 2018)
Several trials going around the globe
Mobile Device AvailabilityYesNo (Trials going on. Mobile 5G planned for 2019)
Network SlicingNoYes. Supports 5G Network Slicing.
Cell TowersLarge Towers in concentrated communities Small Cells installed in almost every street corner
ArchitectureConnection OrientedService Oriented

The need for 5G is driven by some of the highly advanced 5G use cases such as AR/VR, Holographic calls and Self-Driving Cars. In addition to speed, 5G is focused on reducing the latency and scaling to several millions of connections. 

The hype around 5G is largely due to the new 5G use cases that are latency sensitive. Moreover, 5G allows operators to support Network Slicing - they can carve out a portion of their network logically to support a specific customer or a specific use case. For example, highly secure defence and public safety services will be operating on a network slice which is different from the network slice carrying Over the Top (OTT) video traffic. 


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