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What is 5G home broadband?

What is 5G home broadband?

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Last updated: 26 October 2021

5G is the latest widely used wireless network standard, and the successor to 4G. 

It is becoming more commonly rolled out by most mobile network providers in the UK, especially in urban areas, and it can offer speeds of between 100Mbps and 200Mbps, depending on your provider.

But it isn't just about speed with 5G. 5G technology offer's more capacity then 3G or 4G - meaning you are less likely to lose connection if lots of people are connecting at once nearby - but it also offers a reduction in latency compared to older wireless technologies

This means the technology is much more suitable for use at home for your home broadband connection. But does it mean you should ditch your fibre connection for a 5G one? 

How does 5G home broadband work?

5G home broadband works pretty much like how the connection in your phone does, that being that you connect to the internet through a sim card.

The main difference is that you use this sim card using a specialist 5G Wi-Fi router, one that will broadcast the internet to your devices wirelessly (rather than just to one device, your phone).

So, like how you use your smartphone to connect to the internet to surf the web or access social media, you can do this at home with a 5G broadband connection with multiple devices.

Why 5G and not 4G?

Because 5G offers significantly faster download speeds and more reliable connections than 4G. 

Whilst 4G typically can offers bandwidths of 20-40 Mbps, which is still better an ADSL connection, 5G can offer speeds of between 100-200 Mbps, which is faster than most people's home fibre connections!

In addition to this, 5G offers much lower latencies than 4G - latency is the time it takes for your device to request information from the internet and then for it to receive it, so the lower the better. 

A study by Rootmetrics in 2020 in London showed that 5G on the Three network was achieving latencies of 17ms, with Vodafone achieving 34ms, and EE achieving 45ms. 

Now compare this to a 4G connection, that usually has latencies of greater than 50ms. 

This isn't to say that 4G connections do have their place; at usave we believe that it is better to opt for a 4G connection than an ADSL connection due to the greater bandwidth. 

But when you compare 5G to 4G, it is clear that 5G offers much more reliable and faster connections (especially when it comes to if you are into online video gaming, where latency is very important). 

What is 5G?

5G is essentially the next generation of mobile data technology, boasting super high download speeds, designed to keep up not only with the increasing number of online devices, but the increasingly bandwidth heavy demands of these devices. So 5G will be building on the technology of its predecessor 4G but greatly increasing upload and download speeds allowing for the growing number of data hungry apps we are using.

When does 5G come out?

While 5G is being trialled in some areas, for the most part we won’t be expecting a rollout until around 2020. In the UK the government has pledged £740m for the development and implementation of 5G infrastructure, but has not given a specific date. Due to the UK’s relatively low ranking in terms of internet speeds and the fact that 4G is only available 53% of the time we could be waiting a little bit longer.

How much faster will 5G be?

5G will be noticeably faster than previous mobile data technologies, current 4G allows for a maximum of 1GB per second which means that you could download a HD movie in about one hour - speeds comparable to some of the best broadband deals around. In comparison 5G will be increasing the speed to around 10GB which will mean you will be able to download the same movie in around 10 seconds. The reason that it is disproportionately quicker is due to latency – that is, the delay between your request to download something and the action being delivered to your phone. 5G will bridge this gap completely meaning that as soon as your request something, the process will be underway.

Will I need a new device?

Yes. As with any new type of mobile data that is brought out new devices are required to be able to access it. They will be backwards compatible however, so if you buy a 5G phone it will still be able to tap into 3G and 4G networks when 5G is not available.

What technology does 5G use?

5G actually uses the same technology to transfer data as 4G and 3G, but utilises different frequencies to achieve high speeds. Whilst 4G uses the frequency bands up to 20 MHz, 5G can utilise frequencies of up to 6GHz. 

As a general rule of thumb, the higher the frequency the faster the connection available, but the lower the frequency the more wide an area that can be covered by each tower.


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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.