5G and Fiber: What You Need To Know
January 28, 2021
You’ve likely been hearing more and more about 5G over the last couple of years. You might have seen an ad for it, heard discussions about it, or heard updates and news about it as it’s been deployed in different parts of the country. Like just about any other emerging technology of its time, 5G has sparked many questions. How does it work? Why is it better 4G? Will it replace the Internet service we use at home? In this post, we’ll discuss what we know about 5G, its technology, its strengths, and how it stacks up against other types of technology that connect us to the Internet.
How does 5G work?
Like its predecessors, 5G as a cellular network delivers data service to mobile devices using radio waves sent from cell sites. To maximize its reach, cross more obstacles, and provide a strong signal both indoors and outdoors, 5G works in three different groups of radio frequency bands:
• High band: transmits data the fastest of all three bands but uses short waves that cover a small area and can’t penetrate buildings.
• Mid band: compromises between speed and range with waves that move relatively fast while covering a relatively broad area.
• Low band: uses long waves that move slowly but have a great range and are unaffected by obstacles.
The latest generation of mobile devices including the iPhone 12, Samsung Galaxy S21, and the Google Pixel Phone 4a is the first to support 5G. The new 5G wireless devices also have 4G LTE capability, as the new networks use 4G for initially establishing the connection with the cell, as well as in locations where 5G access is not available.
How is 5G better than 4G?
With 5G reaching 10 gigabits per second (100 times faster than 4G), 5G networks can deliver the level of performance needed for an increasingly connected community. Downloading an HD film over a 4G network, for example, takes 50 minutes on average. Over a 5G network, it takes just nine.
5G also has lower latency than 4G. Latency in 4G is 200 milliseconds. The 5G latency rate is significantly lower: at just 1 millisecond. Using 5G networks to send and receive information quickly will help develop new services and devices, especially Internet of Things technology being developed for public use such as connected cars.
Another aspect of 5G that has piqued interest and raised questions is its ability to serve as a home Internet service. 5G home Internet services have been rolled out in select areas and are marketed to compete directly with wired Internet services. As both mobile and home 5G networks boast higher speeds, higher reliability, and lower latency, there has been discussion as to whether they will replace other forms of Internet service altogether. While 5G has already shown massive potential, it’s not yet in a position to replace established wireline Internet services, especially fiber.
5G vs Fiber
Cellular Internet services and home Internet services have always been seen as two separate kinds of technology that you would use side by side. To compare them directly to one another wouldn’t make much sense; they are each used differently, and excel in different areas. As a cellular service, 5G is a dramatic improvement over its predecessors. It greatly exceeds the standards set by 4G, and will accommodate the rapidly increasing rate at which we use data as it continues to be deployed. But when compared to home Internet services, specifically fiber, it’s clear that 5G does not excel in the same areas and would not be an ideal replacement for them.
5G may have low latency, but fiber’s is lower. Fiber Internet uses a glass strand where light easily passes through the strand with little to zero interruptions, which gives way to faster travel times for data. Latency in 5G can only be so low due to the nature of wireless technology, and the short coverage area used in 5G technology makes for a difficult replacement for fiber.
5G is fast, but fiber is faster. The potential speed of which fiber is capable has been found to far surpass the speeds we currently see. So far, it has been proven to be able to achieve a transmission rate of over 100 Terabits, or over 100,000 Gigabits, per second. No wireless system could come close to this. This massive potential for speed is beyond the computers and devices we connect to it. Once you have fiber, upgrading your speed is just a matter of upgrading the equipment on both ends of the fiber. This makes fiber a “future proof” investment that’s here to stay for a long time.
Something else to consider is reach. A signal transmitted over fiber can travel up to 60 miles without any signal loss, while 5G signals can reach 500 yards. And in addition to distance, interference will always affect wireless networks more than wireless ones.
Technology is constantly evolving and making advancements every day. Fiber is one technology that we know can scale to Internet users’ needs and will be used well into the future. 5G offers excellent flexibility in public areas where it is fully deployed, but it’s still very new, and its full potential has yet to be seen. What we do know is that fiber Internet delivers faster speeds and is the way to go for the most reliable service with the ability to reach incredible speeds in the near future.
It all starts with getting signed up for your own fiber Internet service. See if Tachus fiber is available in your community.