Blog skyhook logo What Makes 5G Different than 4G?

Dec 9, 2021 6:14:59 PM

What Makes 5G Different than 4G?

Posted by Isolde Decker-Lucke

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5G is the fifth generation of mobile broadband, created to provide a better cellular experience. It is also often referred as NR (New Radio). Users of 5G networks gain higher bandwidth that allows for higher upload and download speeds, and will notice lower latency, or the time it takes to communicate and connect with networks. So, how does 5G compare to previous offerings? 

How 5G is Different from 4G:

  • 5G is faster than 4G.
  • 5G cell towers are more dense compared to any previous generation. 
  • 5G operates over many different frequency bandwidths.
  • 5G frequency channels will be wider, resulting in higher bandwidth.
  • Increases location accuracy.

5G and Bandwidth

5G supports bandwidth below 3 GHz, which is where most mobile communications happen today. It may use mid bandwidths between 3 -6 GHz, as well as a new type of bandwidths that were previously never used for mobile communications, such as high bands 24-39 GHz (mmWave). These new mmWave bands allow higher bandwidth, which will result in better data rates and more connected devices. However, the higher frequencies have lower a propagation range, so it is essential to note that network densification will also play an important role in future 5G networks. In some cases, a 5G antenna tower may provide only local coverage, or as much coverage as a Wi-Fi access point provides today. In fact, many often debate whether 5G will replace Wi-Fi. 5G mmWave deployments will be most effective in delivering results in densely-populated geographic locations (like stadiums, malls, hotels) particularly those with controlled sets of devices managed by an enterprise.

Improving Z-Axis Location 

5G is predicted to provide a better z-axis resolution compared to previous networks. Currently cell towers are located on the top of buildings or high towers, but with 5G, cell towers are smaller and may look like a Wi-Fi access point. Cell towers for 5G will likely need to be deployed at different levels of high rise buildings to achieve a strong connection, and this will improve z-level accuracy for positioning systems. This increase of cell towers combined with crowd-sourced data as 5G is more widely adopted, should be able to detect floor levels and provide z-axis location to the Skyhook 3D network.
Are you interested in learning more about 5G and the changes listed above? Check out this white paper '5G and the location industry’ to find out more.