When 3G was first commercially introduced 17 years ago, most cellphone users were amazed how it transformed our internet connectivity. The internet connection and data transfer has become faster than ever. All cellphones were manufactured compatible with 3G network and became a standard specs until the release of 4G(LTE) in 2009. This year we are expecting the commercial release of 5G network. But how fast is 5G internet network?
Before we answer that in a while, in order to understand how big 5G network is, let us take a look back where we started. It seems that changing of wireless network happens every almost 10 years. This just means that we can expect for the 6th generation to arrive after another decade.
Types of wireless network connectivity and their differences
Of course, 5G started from 1G, 2G, 3G, & 4G. Developers took 10 years each to fully develop and introduce these networks commercially. The number before the letter “G” means its ability to function efficiently through the wireless network. The higher the number, the faster and the better. On the other hand, “G” means “Generation”, so we can call 5G as fifth-generation cellular mobile network.
With 10 years of labor that has been spent for every wireless network research and development, we can expect big differences per each era. The first generation (1G) offered only voice services and used analog radio signals. When the 2nd generation (2G) was introduced, mobile phone users were able to send and receive messages in the form of SMS(Short Message Service) or MMS(Multimedia Message Service) or picture message.
The 3rd generation (3G) was already a breakthrough when it comes to internet speed. With 3G network, mobile phone users were able to access the internet in their mobile phones, have video calls, and access GPS services that were not available during the 2G era.
We had thought that 3G is already fast, not until 4G (LTE) was introduced which has made internet connectivity even faster. If you are using LTE for quite a while, you would feel the difference in internet connection speed and might be annoyed when you suddenly switched to 3G network.
This is because 4G is more than 4 times faster than 3G when it comes to internet connection speed. To better understand this, let us say you want to download a movie of 1GB in size. Downloading this file size through 3G network will take up to 30 minutes to complete.
On the other hand, if you use 4G (LTE), downloading time will just take 7 to 11 minutes. That’s a lot of time saved! Of course, the connection speed differs from network provider to network provider and it depends on how your providers designed their own network and how much signal you receive. However, the speed comparison ratio will be the same.
How fast is 5G?
So how fast is 5G internet network then? 5G as the name suggests is the fifth-generation wireless mobile network technology succeeding the 4G. This new generation expects to provide an internet browsing speed of 7 times faster than the 4G, ranging from 490 Mbps to 1.4 Gbps. If this would be materialized, search results from the internet would be in a lightning speed.
If you are still not convinced, which I know it is a little hard to visualize how fast is the browsing speed, let us compare 4G and 5G download speed. 5G offers a download speed of 442 Mbps as compared to 5 to 18 Mbps of 4G.
This just means that if you are downloading a movie of 1GB in size, it will just take you 18 seconds to fully download the file, as compared to 7 minutes when using 4G, and 30 minutes in case of 3G. That is really fast! On the other hand, the internet speed will still depend on your location and your network provider. Nonetheless, we can see a very promising future of the internet connectivity.
Advantages of 5G
- Faster data transmission because of high data rate which can reach up to 20Gbps (gigabits per second). This allows you to download HD videos or photos faster in seconds as mentioned above.
- With the low latency of 5G, travel of data from the sender to the receiver is expected to be 1ms (millisecond) so you can be sure that your message is received by the other end in less a second after you press that send button.
- Since 5G can handle large amount of data at the same time, it allows more devices to connect to the network without affecting the internet speed, which will eliminate network traffic that we experience oftentimes.
- Another benefit from 5G is its cost-effectiveness. If you are paying internet data per hour or minute, you can maximize that 1 hour of data to download more files or browse more internet pages. This is because with 5G, you can transfer bigger data faster, thus saving you time and money. With its considerably improved upload speed, I think many will be encouraged to use cloud storage (which are usually free for a limited capacity) since uploading will consume less time.
- Energy-saving is another feature of 5G. Transferring data requires power from your device. If your network is slow, it will take time to download files or load a page, hence consuming more power. You will notice that when the network is slow, your mobile device tends to get hot. With 5G network, you can do that in seconds allowing your device to consume less power.
Limitations of 5G
Unlike Bluetooth versions, 5G is not backward compatible (similar with the past generations). You cannot use a non-5G-compatible phone to access 5G networks. This just implies that you need to upgrade or change your phone. Starting this year, manufacturers will release 5G-compatible smartphones, so we are expecting from 2020 most smartphones will be accessing the 5G network.
What is the future of 5G?
5G wireless mobile network offers a low communication latency which enable to send message in 1millisecond. This kind of speed is applicable to tasks requiring instant response such as in robotics which will be beneficial to manufacturing firms, hospitals, and many more.
5G is still in its early phase so we are expecting more improvement within the next 10 years. By then, more and more devices will be compatible with this fifth-gen mobile network, allowing better internet user experience.
What do you think about 5G network? We would be delighted to hear your thoughts. Share them below!