5G is the next generation of high-speed wireless internet. It surpasses 4G in speed by at least 10 times and is even faster than the internet network most people get from their cable broadband connection at home!
It’s easy to talk about how much the 5G internet will change the world, such as the more enjoyable VR and AR experiences, holographic phone calls, interconnected smart cities, etc. However, in order to understand how fast a 5G network really is, let’s read further.
5G Speed Standard
In order for a network to be considered 5G, it must comply with certain rules set by a competent authority such as 3GPP. One of the specifications is the speed for uploading (uploading) and downloading (downloading).
Downloading is when you receive information sent from a server on the internet (downloading images, applications, streaming movies and music, etc.).
There is a minimum peak download rate and a minimum peak upload speed for the so-called 5G network, which means that each 5G base station must support speeds at least this fast:
- 5G peak download speed: 20 Gb / s (gigabits per second), or 20,480 Mb / s (megabits per second)
- 5G peak upload speed: 10 Gb / s (gigabits per second), or 10,240 Mb / s (megabits per second)
Keep in mind that the velocities are identical, they just use different units of measurement. Also remember that bits are not the same as bytes (the measurement above is written in bits).
Since there are eight bits in every byte, to convert that 5G speed to megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB), you have to divide by eight. Many of the measurements in this unit are not megabits and gigabits, so it’s important to understand both.
There are the same 5G speeds but in bytes, not bits:
- 5G peak download speed: 2.5 GB / s (gigabytes per second), or 2,560 MB / s (megabytes per second)
- 5G peak upload speed: 1.25 GB / s (gigabytes per second), or 1,280 MB / s (megabytes per second)
5G also has minimum latency requirements. Latency refers to the time lapse between when the cell tower sends data and when the destination device (such as your cell phone) receives data.
5G requires a minimum latency of only 4 ms assuming ideal conditions are met, but it can drop to 1 ms for some forms of communication, particularly ultra-reliable and low latency communication (URLLC).
Urgent : In comparison, the latency on a 4G network may be around 50-100 ms, which is actually more than twice as fast as an older 3G network!
True 5G Network Speed
The measurements listed above are a reflection of 5G speeds in ideal conditions with basically no latency or interference, and only if your device is the only one using that 5G cell.
Urgent : Each 5G cell supports, at a minimum, one million devices for every square kilometer. Download and upload speed is divided equally between each device in the same cell.
In other words, mobile users may not experience peak download / upload speeds. However, you can get those speeds if you use a dedicated fixed wireless access (FWA) system where you don’t have to share bandwidth with other users.
For example, UK mobile network operator Three achieves 2 Gb / s download speeds in a fixed wireless access (FWA) environment, but Three expects casual users to withdraw only 80 to 100 Mb / s.
Then, how fast is 5G really? If you register now, internet speed what can you expect?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. Actual 5G speed depends on not only where you are when you access the network but other factors such as the hardware you use, the speed of the device deploying the network, how many other users are sharing 20+ Gb / s with you, and the type of interference. what’s at play between you and the cell tower that transmits the 5G internet network.
Verizon was one of the first companies to release 5G in the United States, so we can look at data from their actual customers to see how fast 5G is now, with today’s technology. Looking at those numbers in particular, we can see that home Verizon 5G users with FWA can go up to 300 Mb / s to 1 Gb / s. Not only does Verizon’s 5G broadband service guarantee such speeds, users are also reporting the same thing.
Beyond the statistics that can be gathered today with the 5G Live network, are the speculations made by operators. T-Mobile, for example, says 450 Mb / s is the average speed users can expect when their network launches this year. T-Mobile also stated that some 5G users might get speeds as fast as 4 Gb / s by 2024.
Several companies have measured faster 5G speeds. Japan’s NTT DOCOMO achieved more than 25 Gb / s during a 5G trial in 2018 involving a moving vehicle.
What 5G Wireless Speed Can Do for You
As I mentioned above, without examples, it can be difficult to visualize what you can do on a 5G network vs a 4G network, or any other slower connection.
Consider this: You are downloading a 3GB movie, using the 5G, 4G, 4G LTE and 3G networks. Here’s how long it takes to download a movie on different types of mobile networks (using realistic speeds, not peak speeds):
- 3G: 1 hour, 8 minutes
- 4G: 40 minutes
- 4G LTE: 27 minutes
- Gigabit LTE: 61 seconds
- 5G: 35 seconds
Note : Remember that these numbers are only averages. If your 5G connection reaches a speed of 20 Gb / s, the same movie can be saved in the blink of an eye, in just one second and you won’t have to use software like IDM anymore.
Here are some other examples of how long it will take to download different sized files on a 5G network, assuming different speeds:
- 1 Gb / s: Two seconds to download 75 JPG images (300 MB total)
- 5 Gb / s: Eight seconds to download the full two-session movie The Office (approx. 5 GB) via Netflix
- 15 Gb / s: One minute to download a 105 GB archive of your data which is online backed up
- 20 Gb / s: Under two minutes to download Avatar: Special Edition (276 GB)
Of course all your online activity is faster on a 5G internet network if it is to download large files like in the example above, really shows how fast things will get.
- If the average 3G connection is 6 Mb / s (0.75 MB / s), a 3 GB file (3,072 MB) will take more than an hour to download (3072 / 0.75 / 60).
- With an average download speed of 10 Mb / s (1.25 MB / s), a 3 GB (3,072 MB) movie can be completely downloaded in just over 40 minutes (3072 / 1.25 / 60).
- With an average download speed of 15 Mb / s (1.87 MB / s) for 4G LTE, you can download a 3 GB (3,072 MB) file in just 27 minutes (3072 / 1.87 / 60).
- With a download speed of 400 Mb / s (50 MB / s), a 3 GB (3,072 MB) file would take more than a minute to download (3072/50).
- Assuming a download speed of 700 Mb / s (87.5 MB / s), a 3 GB (3,072 MB) file can be downloaded in just 35 seconds (3072 / 87.5).
That’s the speed of the 5G internet network technology that you can get and also examples of measuring the speed of the 5G internet. Hopefully this article is useful and adds to your insight.