There’s been a whirlwind of 5G. Early in this year, 5G network service has been offered, and various handset makers around the globe have prepared selling their first 5G devices. Everyone is eager to jump on the 5G bandwagon, but several similar terms, no matter whether they are being wrongly marketed on purpose or not, have surely prevented us from embracing 5G. Now the most common similar pair: 5G and 5GHz. What is the difference?
5G: the fifth generation of cellphone networks
5G is what we hear a lot recently and it stands for the fifth generation of cellphone networks. It’s a cellular standard and is the successor to 4G LTE and 3G. 5G is designed to be much faster and have lower latency than 4G LTE. The year 2019 has witnessed the competition of famous smartphone brands and cellular carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon are all rolling out their 5G mobile networks.
When mobile devices — like our smartphone or cellular-connected laptop or tablet— are not on Wi-Fi but are still connected to the internet, they’re able to do so through a mobile network operator’s (MNO’s) data service. 5G is the latest tech that aims to provide ultrafast connections for those devices.
For now, 4G still plays the biggest role in cellular technology, but it is likely to be replaced by 5G sooner or later due to 5G’s overwhelming advantages.
5 GHz: one of the two frequency bands for Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi has two frequency bands we can use: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. 5 GHz is the newer one. Much like mobile 5G networks that are faster than 4G because they operate on higher frequencies, 5 GHz Wi-Fi is often faster than 2.4 GHz for the same reason, though on the other hand, 5 GHz has somewhat shorter range than 2.4GHz and is not so good at going through walls.
Most modern routers are dual-band routers, meaning that they operate on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. So chances are someone will use the term “5G Wi-Fi” to refer to “5GHz Wi-Fi”, and use “5G router” instead of “5G Wi-Fi router”. It is perceived at once and we all know we just say it for convenience. But things may get confusing in the near future, because our devices can be put online via both 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi and 5G.
In a word, 5G is the new cellular standard, while 5GHz is the newer frequency band of Wi-Fi. Knowing this, we can hopefully start being a little more precise to avoid any confusion as 5G spreads.