5G advantages and disadvantages

5g technology advantages and disadvantages

The mobile device uses wireless technology to communicate from one point to another. 5G technology is the next promised land in terms of cellular communication from current 2G, 3G, or 4G technologies.

It is the latest technology and it has not been fully implemented. Some part of it is still in the development stages. 

The 5G technology is characterized by high-speed connectivity, low latency, security, and huge user capacity. It will offer a speed of upward of 10 Gbps and reduce the latency of data tremendously.

History of cellular technology

The first-generation (1G) devices were analog and they were only used to make calls. It supported only the voice type of data and operated at around a 2.4Kbps data rate.

The second generation (2G) started using short message services (SMS) and voice data. They had a data rate of around 14.4Kbps and they were able to move digital data. The 2G supported internet browsing but at a very low speed. Downloading an image would take a long time.

The third-generation (3G) now increased data rate to around 3.0Mbps which was a huge jump from 2G. Downloading was now a bit fast and users could even do low-quality video streaming. Users’ experience over the Internet was improved and technology led to the uptake of mobile internet.

Currently, most users are on fourth-generation (4G) which offer high speed compared to other. It supports high-quality video conferencing, online gaming, and other relatively high-speed kinds of operation. It can go up to a high speed of about 100Mbps but it had a promise of 1Gbps.

Fifth-generation (5G) is the latest and it will replace 4G. It is still in its development stage and it is yet to be adopted by many users so far.

Advantages of 5G technology

  1. Fast speed

The technology will offer a high download speed compared to 4G technology. It is offered with a high frequency which assures high data speed. The speed can go past the 10Gbps level which means the download of big files can be downloaded in seconds

  1. Ultra-reliability

The technology will be more reliable than 4G. Since they are offering low latency at a very high speed. The technology can be used to connect industries that require reliable connections such as hospitals for virtual medicine.

  1. Low latency

Latency is the delay in instruction to move from one device to another. 5G technology reduces this delay to a very low level. This will ensure that technology can be used to connect applications that delay in time is critical.

  1. High device capacity per square area

The technology will be able to handle more devices connected at any given time compared to older technologies. It will connect almost all devices that can transmit data to be processed.

  1. Support future technologies

With speed, low latency, and high reliability of data transfer it will open to new application areas of use. The technology will be used to support technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, big data, and virtual reality among other future technologies.

Disadvantages of 5G technology

  1. Expensive to build infrastructure

The infrastructure that is required to support the technology is expensive to build. For 5G, towers will need to be near each other since the high frequency reduces the distance covered. This means more towers and equipment requirements.

  1. New device required for technology

Most likely the current smartphone you are holding now doesn’t support 5G technology. To use the technology users have to acquire a new device that has the capabilities built into the device. This means all current device becomes obsolete.

  1. Smaller coverage area hence more towers

High frequency in the spectrum means the signal cannot move long distances without boosting. This means more towers to move the signal further from the source to the destination.

  1. Security issues due to more devices connected and high-speed

More speed and a high range of frequency that can be used create security issues. If an unauthorized user gets access to a system can move large data within a very short time. 

The technology will support IoT which means more devices are connected. This means more access areas to launch an attack. Again Denial of service attack can be very brutal if it happens with a connection that is very fast like 5G.

5G frequencies band range

When cellular signals are transmitted they move over a certain frequency that is assigned to them. The lower range frequencies allow data to move further, with less resistance but at a slow pace. Older technologies used lower bands of frequencies to transmit signals. 5G technology frequencies are grouped into 2 categories:

Frequency range 1(sub-6): it ranges from 450MHz to 6GHz. The 5G shares the frequencies with 4G technologies hence some of them are already allocated for that. The 5G assigned frequencies will be used where they need to cover a long distance. 

Frequency range 2 (millimeter wave bands (mmWave)): This is the new range met specifically for 5G. Most of them are not allocated yet. They range from 24.25GHz to 52GHz. Using this band speed can go up to 20Gbps but the distance covered is short and signals can be blocked by walls.

How 5G technology is deployed?

The technology currently can be deployed using 2 methods.

Non-standalone 5G deployment

This is where the provider uses the already established LTE technology to launch 5G technology. It is a legacy system where they use the old system before moving fully to 5G-only technology.

Standalone 5G deployment

It is a type of deployment where the whole infrastructure is made for 5G technology. The deployment takes full advantage of 5G technology since it doesn’t depend on old 4G to operate. 

NB://other subcategories borrow from these two types of deployment.

Difference between 4G and 5G technologies.

Bases of comparison4G Technology5G Technology
LatencyRange between 50ms-100ms<5ms
User supportFewer users per base stationMore users can be supported per base station
Band range<6GHzSub6 (450MHz to 6GHz). mmWave (24.25GHz to 52GHz)
SpeedPromised of 1Gbps downloadPromised of 10-50Gbps
Energy useDevice connection use more energyThe device connected will use less energy

Using 5G technology in a smartphone

Most likely if you reading this content from a smartphone your phone does not support 5G technology. To use 5G you will need a new phone that has the capabilities to use the new technology.

6 Steps to check if an Android smartphone is 5G supported.

  1. Open your smartphone settings.
  2. Select the SIM card and mobile network option.
  3. Select your, service provider, to get more options.
  4. Move to your preferred network type.
  5. You will be presented with all the cellular technology that your smartphone supports.
checking 5G on smartphone settings
  1. If it supports 5G it should read 2G/3G/4G/5G. For example in the above image, the phone can only support up to 4G technology.

List of Current 5G supported phones for 2022

If you need a new smartphone to use with 5G technology the list will give a guideline of some of the phones that you can buy.

  1. Galaxy S22 Ultra
  2. Galaxy S21 FE 5G
  3. iPhone 13 Pro Max
  4. HUAWEI P40 Pro

Will 5G work on 4G phones?

No, the current 4G smartphone you have is only compatible with the 4G cellular network and below. To support a 5G cellular network you will required to replace the device.

What is the difference between 4G and 5G?

The key differences between the 4G and 5G cellular networks are speed, latency, cell density, frequency band range, and user support per base station.

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