EXPLAINED: How 5G Differs from 4G

If you’ve been catching up with the news since the start of the year, you’ve undoubtedly been barraged with information about 5G, the next generation of wireless technology.

However, you probably haven’t heard or seen much of a real explanation on what benefits 5G will bring to everyday people versus the service we almost all have today.

As of now, except for a couple of locations in cities around the country, download speeds on most 5G phones won’t be noticeably different from what you get with your 4G phone today.

Should You Buy a 5G Phone?

The only reason you should buy a 5G phone today is to prepare you for what is yet to come.

5G networks will soon offer some solid improvements over today’s 4G networks, but most of those benefits are still a long way off. However, industry trends show that most people are now holding onto their phones for longer than they used to, sometimes because of how expensive the latest smartphones have become. So, whenever the time comes to replace your current phone, look at getting a 5G-capable model as a good future-proofing decision.

The speed benefits of using a 5G phone on a 5G network will soon start to become more apparent. It’s important to understand that those benefits aren’t necessarily going to be equal across devices or carriers in all locations, due to a number of factors.

There are two main types of 5G service that are typically referred to as millimeter wave – shortened to mmWave – and sub-6 GHz. This second type can be broken down into two sub-segments, normally called low-band and mid-band.

The details behind this can get pretty confusing but the bottom line is that mmWave technology can go very fast, almost about 50 times faster than standard 4G.

Building 5G Networks out Will Take Time

In addition to the types of 5G networks, it’s important to remember that like any wireless network technology, the build-out of the 5G network will differ significantly, not just what city you’re in, but what part of the city you’re in. It’s still early for 5G and, while the network carriers are working feverishly to expand their 5G footprint across the country, these developments don’t happen overnight.

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