Everywhere you turn, companies are singing the praises of 5G technology and how it will “revolutionize” everything pretty much everything we use that’s connected to the internet. If you’re not sure about what the difference is between 4G and 5G, though, you’re not alone.

What is 5G?

In short, the G stands for generation, so 5G is the collective term for the fifth generation of mobile network technology. At it’s most basic, 5G promises much faster speeds, but it requires a lot more equipment to do that. 4G LTE, the service that Softcom provides, relies upon relatively few large towers that are positioned miles apart. This is what allows us to bring stable, high-speed internet access to rural and remote regions.

To get 5G service requires a larger number of small towers placed much closer together. These mini 5G base stations are rolling out in high-population urban areas and may be placed on top of streetlights or on sides or rooftops of buildings every few hundred feet. For example, an area with 4G with 12 towers would have to switch to about 100 mini towers to upgrade to 5G. This is what allows the signal to be stronger and get to homes and businesses quicker for faster speeds.

Is 5G really better than 4G LTE?

Don’t be too quick to jump on the 5G bandwagon. The truth is that if you have good 4G LTE coverage now, you have more than enough to function at a high capacity for home, work, gaming or anything you do online.

The average smart phone and internet user needs a high-quality connection with a decent speed to get everything they want, and that’s exactly what 4G LTE provides. All the hype tries to make you think you need 5G RIGHT NOW, but unless you live in a densely populated area it’s going to be some time before you have access. And even then, unless you’re working on projects that involve driverless cars, next-gen robots, or artificial intelligence with extreme bandwidth needs, you really don’t need it.

To emphasize this point, Apple isn’t planning on offering 5G enable phones until later in 2020, and Androids aren’t too quick on rolling them out either.

5G sounds great, but do we really need it? No so much, especially for everyday use. Here’s a few more reasons not to get too invested in 5G mania just yet:

  • Cell phone performance won’t change for most of us, 4G LTE is more than enough.
  • Streaming doesn’t really need it either. For instance, Netflix high quality streaming really only needs about 5mbps download speeds, while most carriers including Softcom already provide more than enough for high resolution HD viewing.
  • Internet use won’t change. The average home and business internet user probably won’t notice a difference as 4G LTE is more than fast enough for video calls, downloads, or browsing the web.
  • If you live in rural areas, 5G that’s rolling out in urban areas won’t affect you anyway, as the new mini towers have a much shorter signal range.

It will be interesting to see how the technology grows for 5G over time, but for now it’s just something to watch.

If things like 4G, 5G and data speed numbers confuse you, we’ve put together a quick user guide to help you understand what they mean, and what you need for how you use the internet. Check it out in this article: What Internet Speed Do I Need?

As technologies like 5G emerge and progress, you can be assured that here at Softcom we are committed to updating and adapting our network to meet the needs of our community for the best speed and connection they can get. Personal experience and commitment to our community are the foundation of our company, and expansion and improvement is a constant at Softcom. We are continually reinvesting back into the company so that we can deliver the best quality service for safe, speedy and secure online access to the world and all it offers.