4G vs 5G: The differences between the two mobile networks

iPhone at Home Screen

Gaming on the go is one of the most significant sectors within the gaming industry. Mobile gaming has become incredibly lucrative in the form of microtransactions, time boosters, and simply paid-for games that are becoming more attractive as their level of sophistication is almost at the level of full-fat console or PC releases.

Revenue in mobile gaming in 2017 was almost $57 billion, and it’s only grown since then, especially in the West as Nintendo has made further inroads into mobile gaming with a spate of new titles that have proven to be very popular.

The rise has come at a good time, too, as video gaming on the go has taken the same evolution as console and PC gaming, where faster internet has become more and more essential.

And now, 5G has arrived, and it’s quickly becoming an essential part of every mobile user’s day. The difference between 4G and 5G is almost night day, and any gamer who lives in a city that supports the technology can benefit from its improvements.

But what exactly are the improvements, and is there is anything that you need to be cautious?

Speed Comparison

Let’s look at what 5G provides over 4G. First of all, speed. With 4G, theoretically, you can reach speeds of up to 300Mbps (megabits per second). Still, in reality, due to several different factors including latency (the lag between your phone and the 4G mast that your phone is connected to) and the amount of load on the service (the number of people using 4G), speeds tend to top out at around 50 Mbps on most major networks. These factors allow you to download a five minute HD video in a few minutes.

5G is a big step up in the speed department. Theoretical speeds, in ideal conditions, would allow 5G to reach speeds as high as 10 Gbps (Gigabit per second), and over 20 fold increase in speeds over the theoretical highest for 4G. As the technology is still settling in, it’s unclear what the standard is yet, but speeds have been reported at 300Mbps on 5G, which would allow downloading of the same five minute HD video to complete in seconds rather than minutes. If it can get close to that theoretical high, full movies in HD would take a matter of seconds.

The quality of the connection is also a step up. Connections can be affected by the signal coming from the source too, which typically will affect the amount of latency that you can receive. With 5G, the quality of the connection should also improve, with less lag when compared with a connection to 4G.

However, there are issues to be cautious. While the technology is undoubtedly a step up in the performance of its predecessor, there are still question marks over the security of the technology, with many within the tech industry believing that customer data security could be at risk with it.

Is it worth the upgrade?

But with the advancement of technology that has become essential for everyday life, the quality of the connect has become ever more critical, and security issues will typically be ironed out. So the main question for you as a phone owner is, “Do I need 5G now?”.

Well, if you tend to game more often at home within your Wi-Fi network with the occasional game away, then your 4G will be fine to be able to play. However, if you are more likely to play on the go, spending much of your time playing games away from your home or public Wi-Fi network, then 5G might well be worth investing in now.

It’s also worth noting that most cell phone providers will have plans that require you to sign up to take advantage of their 5G network. If you currently have a 4G plan but have upgraded to a 5G enabled phone, then your phone will continue to use 4G until you upgrade with your handset provider to receive 5G.

The process may be as simple as contacting your provider and asking to add it to your plan as an additional extra. Still, as the technology has been rolled out slowly and providers will not want to overload their network while the foundations are yet being established, you may find that they will charge a premium for it.

Either way, gaming has become more accessible than ever. If you are a mobile gamer that values your connection to the mobile network and you live in a major city, 5G might be worth your time. Otherwise, for now, 4G should keep you going until 5G becomes the new standard. Just make sure to stay within a Wi-Fi spot if you want to use a large amount of data. You might be surprised at how quickly it disappears after a few shows on Netflix!