What is the Difference Between 4G and 5G

What is the Difference Between 4G and 5G

August 29, 2019 6 By Marvin

This topic has become more and more popular recently. Even though it is a popular topic, most people have no idea what is the difference between 4G and 5G. If this is you, you’re clearly not alone, and its nothing to be ashamed of. Unless you are a Tech obsessed blogger like myself, you are not expected to know what the difference is. Never fear, Mobile Marv is here.

At the end of last year, I wrote an article titled What is 5G Internet?. That article ran through how the cellular network generations have evolved over the years. In today’s article, I will be doing a direct comparison between 4G and 5G.

What Does it All Mean?

As mentioned in the article above, Cellular Networks over the years have periodically been getting better. If the improvement is drastic, it becomes a new generation. We currently have 4G or 4th Generation Cellular Networks, this network was a big bump up in speed and bandwidth from 3G, and night and day compared to 2G. I’m guessing that most of my readers don’t remember having a 2G connection, and to be honest neither can I.

Generally speaking, every jump to the new generation has seen the previous generation become redundant. When 5G becomes available to all consumers it will be better than 4G in almost every area. Obviously there will be a cross over where both 4G and 5G are available simultaneously, and that is the current state of the 5G rollout.


5G Speeds vs 4G Speeds

In theory, networks have promised speeds of up to 100 Gigabits per second, which is insanely fast compared to most Fiber Broadband speeds (In Australia Mainly). To put it in perspective, 4G only ever promised up to 1 Gigabit per second. That is a whopping 100 times increase in speed….in theory. In reality, speeds are more than likely to sit around the 1 – 2 Gigabits per second on 5G. Much like 4Gs real-world speed sitting well below the 50 Megabits per second mark. That being said, 1 Gbps is still 20 times faster than anything 4G can achieve.

I’m sure with time the networks will get regulated to display the real-world numbers, but until then, I got your back.

5G Latency vs 4G Latency

Firstly, what is Latency? Oxford Dictionary definition Latency in computing as – the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer. In plain English, when I physically click my mouse, how long does it take for the computer to realize I have clicked the mouse and to make it happen on my screen.

Latency exists whenever we interact with any form of technology, you may or may not have noticed it before, but it is there. It is measured in milliseconds or ms for short. Latency is more noticeable when interacting with a network remotely, IE Computer, Phone, or Tablet. It’s what gamers rage about when playing multiplayer games and complain about “Lag”.

4G latency is 20-30 milliseconds versus 5G latency which will be less than 10 milliseconds. 5G respond essentially 2-3 times faster than 4G. Every millisecond counts. Now you may think that this is no big deal and the time difference is minuscule, but wait until I discuss the real-world applications in the next section.

Real-World Application

With the increased speed and reduction in latency, we will finally be able to implement the Internet of Things or IoT. What is the Internet of Things? the definition of IoT in the Oxford Dictionary is – the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. The IoT has been at the forefront of most technology manufacturers in recent years. Manufacturers have started to build in the ability of devices to talk with other devices and interact. Allowing you to step into your house after work and the entire house will react and predict what you need and when you need it. Putting it plain and simple, everything that could be connected to the internet that currently isn’t will be.

We rely on our Smart Phones more than ever and anything we do on Smart Phones right now, we will be able to do faster, a lot faster. Stream 4K content without any buffering. Download episodes of your favorite shows from Netflix in seconds. Clearer and lag-free video chat. Augmented Reality in phones will also become mainstream.


Another area that will see a massive leap forward will be Autonomous Cars. Your autonomous car will have the ability to communicate with other autonomous cars instantly. 5G will allow your car to make better decisions and read real-world data more efficiently.

The Medical and Educational field will receive a much-needed technology leap. Medical robots will become relevant and viable options to perform life-saving operations by doctors located remotely. 5G will make classrooms smarter, Augmented and Virtual Reality in the classroom will become a thing, and allow teachers and students to interact with knowledge in unique ways. If you live in a remote location you will have access to instant video feeds and flexible learning anywhere.

What I have mentioned above is only the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to 5G, things that weren’t possible due to the data and latency constraints of 4G will become the norm.

How do I Prepare for 5G?

With so much excitement on the horizon, do I need to do anything to prepare for 5G? the answer is yes. Unlike previous generation leaps, 5G will require new hardware. If you have a brand new iPhone X guess what, it will not work with 5G. This is the only negative that comes with trying to adopt 5G in the cross over years.

By the end of 2020 most countries have committed to having 5G at scale. Currently, certain networks have started to roll out 5G in fixed small locations, but like all technology, once the benefits are experienced it will rapidly accelerate.

The idea is to have people switch onto the network when they purchase or upgrade to a new phone in 2020. After 5G is at scale you will have a variety of options you can choose from. If you don’t care to use 5G, your current phone will still work on 4G.

If you would like to be on the bleeding edge of this tech, there are only really a few options. The Samsung S10 5G and the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G would be the 2 best right now


OnePlus 7 Pro 5G


Samsung Galaxy S10 5G


Hopefully, by reading this article you have been filled in on what is the difference between 4G and 5G. It will still be a few years till 5G is at scale, but until then I aim to be one of the early adopters and will keep you up to date on the happenings in the 5G space.

If you like this article or have learned something new today, feel free to comment below and share it with all your friends. Any questions, let me know.