It doesn’t feel like long ago that we all relied on 3G internet on our smartphones. Now, if we’re “only” connected to 3G, it feels unbearably slow. We’ve all become accustomed to the fast speeds of 4G, but now 5G is just around the corner.

What does 5G mean for us as smartphone users? And how does it differ from the networks that came before it? We answer these questions to help you understand the difference between 3G, 4G, and 5G networks.

Do you remember these types of mobile phones?

3G vs. 4G networks

We first gained access to 3G connections in 2001, allowing us to use our phones for more than just calls and messages. This opened avenues for browsing the web, sending emails, and sharing media on the go. The speed of a 3G network must meet at least 200 kbps (kilobits per second) to be classified as such.

In 2009, we saw the advent of the next generation in smartphone technology; 4G-enabled devices and 4G networks. However, the networks themselves were not very widespread at this point, so we were mostly still accessing 3G networks until the technology developed further.

As you can guess, 4G was basically a faster version of 3G. A 4G connection ranges from 100 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second. The difference between a kilobit and a gigabit is massive, so this equated to incredible speeds, although most networks do not reach this upper limit. Another difference between 3G and 4G is supposed to be greater security and reliability of connection.

4G allowed mobile applications to become more complex while still being usable on the average smartphone. We could play mobile games, video call our friends, shop online, stream our favourite TV show, and much more, without getting annoyed at our slow internet connection.

4G mobile network tower

Introducing 5G networks

Now we’ve all got used to 4G networks, we can expect the next generation of mobile networks to be introduced as early as next year. As you might expect, 5G will be an even faster and more reliable version of the 4G network. Since it has not yet been released, nothing is known for certain about 5G, but it is expected to reach speeds of between 1-10 Gbps. It could even reach a maximum speed of 100 Gbps according to some sources. 5G is expected to surpass the internet speeds of our home broadband connections.

These impressive speeds will make communications, downloads, and uploads almost instant. No more waiting for a movie to buffer or for a conference call to connect. 5G will also make connecting your smartphone to the Internet of Things much easier and more viable. This will mean you can easily connect to other electronic and smart devices that you own, such as your TV, home security system, or your car.

With the speed and reliability expected of 5G networks, they could replace fixed systems altogether, meaning landlines and home broadband could become a thing of the past. It will also be extremely beneficial to companies with remote workers, making this option more practical and perhaps more common.

Will 5G networks deliver the speeds promised?

Are you looking forward to the advent of 5G networks? Make sure you’re always connected in the meantime with pocket WiFi from Tep Wireless.