5G Vs. 4G: What Changed?

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. 4G to 5G: A Great Leap Forward
  2. 5G vs. 4G: A Comparison

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is a Data Centre?
5G vs 4G

Overview

The super-fast 5G networks are no longer a thing of the future. They are all set to revolutionise the mobile networking sector. This new global wireless standard follows on its counterparts’ networks in keeping with the burgeoning needs for speed and connectivity. The roll-out of 5G connectivity within the highly competitive telecommunications industry enables a seamless network to connect every device virtually, from machines and home appliances, 5G phones to IoT devices. Surveys predict that, by 2024, 5G will be connecting more than 1.5 billion smart devices!

5G will soon become a mass-market service, leading to the evolution of operator service portfolios. 5G networks are meant to deliver multi-Gbps speeds and super-low latency with more reliability and tremendous network capacity. Increased access to the 5G network can offer a more immersive user experience to all parts of the mobile phones industry value chain. This includes smart 5G phones, gadgets, and network structures.

4G to 5G: A Great Leap Forward

The evolution of mobile technology has gone through four stages in India till now, with each generation of network improvising on the last. Every new cohort of networks is focused on minimising network congestion and offering speed improvements. In this regard, 5G has been both evolutionary and revolutionary for the world.

Released in the late 2000s, 4G networks emerged as the 4th-generation broadband cellular network technology. The 4G network is 50 times faster than its 3G predecessor. 4G can support high-definition mobile TV, clear voice calls, video conferencing, and much more.

However, with the number of IoT devices increasing by leaps and bounds, existing 4G networks are hard-pressed to provide large data transfer volumes and faster speeds to meet consumer demands. The 5G networks that hit the market in 2018, employ a massive up-scaling of network technology and allow access to thousands of 5G devices. Adoption of 5G in India and other major countries across the world raises one question: beyond faster speeds and lower latency rates, what makes 5G different from 4G?

5G vs. 4G: A Comparison

There is more to 5G connectivity than just higher speeds and low latency rates. Let’s have an insight into the contrasting features.

4G Vs 5G Comparison

Speed

While 4G networks are built on LTE technology that can support a theoretical speed of 100-300Mbps, they only paved the way for HD streaming with fast download speeds. On the other hand, 5G networks are capable of speeds as high as 10-30 Gbps, with very low latency and improved reliability.

Latency Rates

Latency rate is the time taken by a signal to go from its source to the receiver and then receive a response. The latency rate in 4G networks is approximately 40 to 50 milliseconds. For 5G networks, it is only one millisecond! On top of that, with enhanced network traffic optimisation, the handling of spikes is much smoother in 5G connectivity networks than 4G. This greatly enhances the user experience.

Spectrum

The real change to be noticed with 5G connectivity is the utilisation of spectrum blocks by the network operators, which influences the data transfer speeds. 4G networks are constrained by less capacity, even while the number of users is increasing day by day. 5G will have a hundred times more capacity than 4G.

Evolution to 5G

Capacity

Estimates show that 5G connectivity can connect up to one million devices per square kilometer. This is an enormous number in comparison to 4G’s 10K-100K supported devices per square kilometer.

Application and Usage

5G devices have a robust capability to provide high-definition video streaming on mobile networks, autonomous vehicular systems, immersive gaming, and high-end Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications that enable an AI interface.

5G Adaptation: The Need of the Hour

Undoubtedly, 5G is the future of technology whose time has arrived. It has been already deployed in more than 60 countries worldwide, with faster rollouts compared to 4G. For consumers, the excitement is all about the high speeds and low latencies in 5G devices. But 5G phones and devices go beyond this to provide enhanced mobile broadband and massive IoT with mission-critical services.

STL continues to develop wireless equipment to gear up for the upcoming 5G deployments. With the launch of three innovative wireless products in the December 2020 quarter, STL aims to provide the desired back-end infrastructure with open radio access network (ORAN) deployments for 5G in India and abroad.

FAQs

What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is a Data Centre?

A datacentre, sometimes referred to as a server farm, is a centralized physical location housing compute resources (high-end servers), storage (SSD, HDD, Flash, Optical), and networking equipment (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.) for collecting, storing, processing, distributing and allowing access to large amounts of data.

Apart from the IT equipment data center also houses environment controls (airflow, humidity & temperature sensors), server racks, power supplies (backup systems, generators), and cabling systems (ethernet, copper, optical fiber). Initially, data centers were introduced to manage the large influx of service requests and store user-generated data. In contrast, it has now evolved to adopt technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data analytics.

There are four main types of data centers:

a) Enterprise data centers – Built, owned, and managed by a company for particular use-cases for their target user set. They are usually built on-site but can also be built away from the company premise.

b) Managed services data centers – Deployed, managed, and monitored by a third-party datacentre service provider for a company. The features and functionality can be accessed by the company using a managed service platform (MSP)

c) Colocation data centers – Consist of one data center owner selling space, power, and cooling to multiple enterprises and hyperscale customers in a specific location. The company focuses entirely on running the compute, storage, and networking equipment while the data centre service provider takes care of the space, power, cooling, security, and IT racks.

d) Cloud data centers- An off-site data centre provider such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud that stores the data of various enterprises. The data is fragmented and stored at various locations across the internet (i.e. datacentres across the world). This offers enhanced security, scalability, management, reliability, customization, and cost-effectiveness.

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