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More on “What is the difference between the new 5G mobile data and the Wifi 5G transmissions”:

Following on from our July Newsletter:

Firstly to recap that with Mobile – 5G the G stands for Generation – so 5G is the 5th Generation of Mobile data transmission technology.

Whereas with the 5G referred to in Wifi systems the G stands for Gigahertz which further refers to a radio freqency band that is way up the scale. Most of us know about or have heard of 2.4Gigahertz as this frequency was used for all the cordless phones, and it was also the first main Wifi frequency range that all manufacturers agreed upon using so it became universal.

But because of that and the fact that there were only 12 channels allocated within the 2.4Ghz range it soon became crowded with everyone using it so interference became an issue. The next range agreed upon was 5.8Ghz and this range has been used widely and is in all new modem routers and Wifi Access points and will be for some time.  It has been abbreviated by many to simply 5G, which is where the confusion started with 5G Mobile and 5G Wifi.

The similarities are specifically as follows:

  • Both are used to transmit data wireless
  • Both use high frequencies
  • Both transfer data at a much higher rate than the earlier system.

That’ s where the similarities end.

The main differences are:

  • They use completely different frequency ranges.
  • The technical method of how they deliver the data stream is very different.
  • The number of devices they can talk to is vastly different – with home Wifi it is up to 100 or so whereas 5G mobile is able to talk to 1,000s of devices at once.
  • 5G is a commercial carrier product with regulated frequencies and huge license fees.
  • Wifi 5.8Ghz is unlicensed and unregulated and can be used for home and office and commercial without fees

What frequencies and why?:

It is all about speed, speed, speed, speed and more speed! It’s also a bit about what frequencies are available and how well they travel and integrating with current technology but mainly it is about more speed!

Higher frequencies means the signals vibrate at a higher rate and the waves travel at a higher speed so the data that is superimposed on the signal also travels faster.

Back to Wifi for a moment, 2.4Ghz is still included in many of the 5.8GHz modems and access points and this is for 2 reasons. 

  • There are quite a lot of mobile devices ( phones, laptops, cameras, Wifi doorbells, etc) that still use 2.4Ghz so it is still needed.
  • The range of 2.4Ghz is better as it travels further than higher frequencies.

With both frequencies in the one device you get the best of both.

With 4G and 4G plus, the main frequencies are around 700Megahertz and this has a great range or distance of travel and can get through some barriers such as trees and buildings, better than the higher frequencies. And with some clever technology it makes up with volume and reliability what it lacks in speed (in comparison to 5G )

In Australia for 5G we are mainly going to be using 3.5Ghz for transmission but also the new mmWave band, which is around 26GHz, which has the highest speeds but shortest range (which is not ideal for a large country like Australia).

I do hope that this has helped fill in some blanks.

Phil White, Manager

For more info on this subject there is a good article on Whistleout