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5G vs 4G mobile networks 

Mobile | 14 June 2022

There’s been much talk about the rollout of the new 5G mobile network and how it will eclipse its 4G predecessor. Australia’s major telcos have even started offering 5G plans and products with a view to expanding the new 5G network across the country. But what are the differences between 5G vs 4G? What does this new generation of mobile technology and mobile networks do that the old ones don’t and how does that affect download speeds? And for that matter, what are 4G and 5G anyway? In this blog, we’re going to answer all that, and more. 

What are 5G and 4G mobile networks? 

4G and 5G refer to the fourth and fifth generations of mobile network technology. Since the inception of the very first – 1G – mobile network, each successive generation has signified a major development in functionality. In other words, every new generation has meant that our mobile devices enjoy faster speeds, lower latency, greater bandwidth, and just all-round better performance. 

The 3G to fourth generation jump, for example, took us from merely being able to readily access the internet on our smartphones, to being able to enjoy far more intensive online activity like HD video streaming thanks to the innovations of the mobile network. When it comes to yours truly, MATE uses a mix of 3G and 4G to provide network coverage to over 23 million Australians. 

What’s the difference – 5G vs 4G?

Faster Speeds 

Perhaps the biggest perk of the new 5G network that Aussies are most excited about is its lightning-fast speed. In theory, 5G is said to be able to hit speeds 20x faster than its predecessor. But as far as real-life goes, the Australian 5G network is only just getting out of the starting blocks. Even so, the results look promising! Average 5G speeds across major cities have clocked highs of 1Gbps. That’s a mighty improvement over the previously recorded 4G peak of 47.3Mbps. 

Lower Latency 

Closely related to internet speed is latency – the amount of time it takes for your mobile device to send information and receive a response. Like when you click ‘Add to Cart’ when shopping online, latency is the measure of how long it takes for an item to be digitally added to your cart. Currently, the 4G network holds a latency response time of around 30 milliseconds. The 5G network has reportedly cut that down to around 5 milliseconds, with predictions it could even go as low as 1 millisecond! This means users will experience minimal delay when they tap on their mobile phones when you compare 5G vs 4G.

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Greater Bandwidth to Connected Devices

Bandwidth is a measure of how much data can be transmitted over a network in a given amount of time. The more bandwidth you have, the more data that can pass through. Understandably, this plays a role in how many devices can be connected to a network before things get messy. You might have experienced the effects of inadequate bandwidth in your household when everyone is trying to use the internet at once – with only so much bandwidth to go around, delayed load times are inevitable. This is essentially what’s happening with the 4G network, with so many connected devices and not enough network capacity, internet speeds are slowing down. 5G looks to solve this issue by broadening its bandwidth via network slicing to accommodate as many as one million devices per square km!

What are the benefits of 5G? 

Between the 5G’s faster internet speeds, greater bandwidth and better latency, users can look forward to really taking advantage of their unlimited data in the coming years. From seamless 4K video calls and being able to download a 2-hour movie in 10 seconds to completely transforming our health and education sectors, 5G is set to offer an exceptional high-performance experience, no matter what your online needs.


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