5G vs 4G: An unbiased analysis

How is 5G different from 4G? 

Director of Solutions Engineering Rusty Jackson has been researching and developing efficient communication solutions for the last 40 years. His valuable knowledge of technology is exactly what we're talking about when we say Hyperion is home to industry-leading experts.    

Amongst the active – and sometimes heated – 5G vs 4G debate, Rusty hopes to be a strong, well-informed voice of reason and resource for our readers. 

What is 5G? 

5G, the 5th generation mobile network, is sweeping the nation. Known as the wireline replacement of the future, 5G is expected to shape the telecom industry in a dramatic way. Currently, the general public is used to 4G (5G’s predecessor) speeds and language like LTE. So, how is 5G different from 4G, and what do you need to know? Let’s dive in. 

5G speed vs 4G speed 

Since 5G is still in various development stages, many 4G speeds can be similar to 5G performance in the network’s current form. Since 5G is mostly prevalent in larger, metropolitan areas, 4G speeds can be more reliable and quicker in good conditions when 5G signals aren’t available. As carriers and providers continue to build out the higher frequencies of 5G, the network will only become more powerful eventually beating out 4G in the race for who’s fastest. 

The concept of frequencies brings us to the next question you might have. 

4G vs 5G frequency 

5G frequencies can be summed up into approximately 3 frequency categories: low, middle and high. Low frequencies (600/700Mhz) are what carriers have widely deployed across America today. These low frequencies have lower speeds (that compare closely with 4Gs highest speeds) but higher penetration qualities and longer reach. Middle (or mid) frequencies (2.5-6Ghz) are in the early stages of carrier deployment. Mid frequencies are the sweet spot for 5G with higher speeds, reasonable structure penetration and distance capabilities. 

High 5G frequencies are often referred to as millimeter wave. With 24Ghz and above, the millimeter wave will eventually change the way telecoms provide service with much faster speeds and improved connectivity. High 5G frequencies will challenge the DSL and cable providers’ current infrastructure. Unfortunately, high frequencies are just now being rolled out and full deployments may take years to mature. 

Will 4G phones work on 5G? 

The short answer is: Yes, of course! Even as 5G becomes more widely accepted and available, the two networks will work hand in hand. Most new phones have modules in them that are 5G capable. Many carriers call these devices “4G & future proof.” 

The IoT router community’s story differs from that of mobile devices (phones). Many routers are developed for 4G modules but can swap out the 4G module for a 5G module at any time when customer is ready for upgrade. Another approach is the development of adapters – smaller devices with RF modules that plug into ethernet ports and grab the 5G experience once inserted. 5G embedded router from OEMs are coming as well but are in early stages of development. Once here, the routers will have both 4G and 5G modules built in. 

5G vs 4G misconceptions 

To summarize, I’ll confront the five most discussed misconceptions about 5G vs 4G. 

4G is going away 

False! 4G will still operate and remain a successful network for years to come. 

New devices will only work on 5G 

Not even close. New devices are 4G future proof and work on 4G and 5G networks. 

4G speeds aren’t fast enough 

Depends on where you are located and what you’re doing. For most use cases, 4G speeds are more than capable of accomplishing your end goal. 

All carriers have the same 5G 

The top carriers are in vastly different phases of development. (Remember there are approximately 3 categories of frequencies at play.) 

I need 5G 

With new technology comes with a price tag. Here at Hyperion, we make sure to lay the facts out plainly for you. Often times, 4G is still an affordable and successful solution for our clients’ present requirements. 

Learn more 

Want to have a conversation about which network is right for your business? 
Contact us today so Hyperion can help you find the best connectivity, at the best price. 
We promise we’ll skip the marketing buzz and cut straight to the facts. 

  Click here if you're interested in partnering with a true mobility master agent.