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What is the difference between 4G and 5G?
04 Dec 2019

There has been a great deal of talk about how the introduction of 5G is going to transform the lives of individuals, produce massive benefits for business and be the launchpad into a new technological era the likes of which can only be imagined.

Our partner O2 started their roll-out of 5G back in October so we thought now would be a good time to explain something of what can be expected from the new service. In the first of two blogs today we ask What is the difference between 4G and 5G? And in a second we will pose the question 5G: Will it transform the way we work and live?

All the claims surrounding 5G are genuine and we believe this service will ultimately not only do everything expected of it but will easily exceed those expectations. However, it will take time for us all to reap the full benefits as 5G is rolled out gradually across the whole country and it’s a good idea to try and establish what the 5G accessibility, capability and timeline roll-out is in your area. 

It’s also important to mention at this point that while we go through the process of 5G becoming more accessible in different areas as availability increases, 4G will also steadily improve, meaning businesses operating in parts of the country without 5G can also enjoy the benefits of an enhanced service.

5G vs 4G

5G has been hailed as the connectivity which will completely transform the way we live and work. Here are the three key ways 5G differs from its predecessor?

  • Faster speeds
  • Better response times (lower latency)
  • Improved network capacity

Faster speeds mean you will be able to do everything you are currently doing but much quicker. The resulting increase in speed and efficiency makes it easy to see just how this will benefit business productivity.

5G will allow you to enjoy perfect video calling when you’re out and about, download a full film as you run for your train and effortlessly upload and email big files while you work on the go. It’s all about having everything you need at your fingertips to make day-to-day life as easy as possible, ensuring the smooth running of your business.

Better response times, or lower latency - the length of time it takes for a network to respond - is a real game-changer for highly sensitive jobs which involve minute inputs and real-time feedback. This will benefit things like remote surgery or a critical video conference.

In the future, 5G will have the bandwidth to comfortably handle augmented and virtual reality. This can be used to give workers the chance to train in real-life situations without putting themselves and others in danger.

Away from the workplace, it will be possible to use Virtual Reality to watch a gig as though you’re in the front row, or see a try being scored during a rugby match through someone else’s eyes. It will enhance the experience to allow maximum enjoyment from any perspective.

Improved network capacity through 5G is perfect when you’re at a packed concert, a major sporting occasion or when working remotely. It’s designed so thousands of people can stand in the same place and upload and download as much as they like.

It will mean businesses will be able to take advantage of a tailor-made network to suit demands specific to their needs and create their own private self-scaling networks without losing any quality of service.

Even if you can’t or don’t start using 5G straight away, you can still benefit and as 5G is rolled out you will notice that 4G will keep getting better. These improvements will come as O2 continues to spend £2 million a day on the network. By adding 5G to the already award-winning network, O2 will be able to deliver higher speeds, increased reliability and improve capacity where customers need it most.

When is 5G coming to you?

O2 launched its 5G network back in October, beginning with areas of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. By the end of this year, O2 is planning to bring its 5G network to parts of 20 towns and cities, before a roll-out to a total of 50 by next summer.