Technology is moving on at phenomenal rate, there are always new ways of doing things and new technology and communications constantly coming to market. If you have stumbled across the terms “5G” and “5Ghz”, wondered what they are and if they were the same thing read on for all the information you require.
I admit that it can be confusing similar terms and abbreviations that are out there, but 5G and 5Ghz are in fact two completely different things. 5Ghz is a frequency that is used by some WIFI systems and 5G, simply means the fifth generation. It’s even more confusing when many routers display their 5Ghz WIFI as “5G”. This might be on the SSID broadcast or on an LED light on the router itself. Either way this can be very confusing to people who are not familiar with the terms and technology.
It helps to understand what hertz and the 'Giga' prefix mean to understand what 5Ghz means. Radio-waves are transmitted through the air constantly rotating from a negative charge to a positive charge and back again. The is called a sinusoidal wave or a sine wave and is most commonly known in Alternating Current(AC) that is used for mains electricity. The amount of times the sine wave completes this process in a second is referred to a Hertz(Hz) which simply means cycles per second.
Next, we come to the 'Giga' prefix, 'Giga' means one billion or 10 to the power of 9.This means that Giga-hertz (GHz) means a billion cycles per second and 5Ghz would equal 5 billion hertz. For your reference for WIFI, TV aerial, satellite, telecoms it’s also helpful to be familiar with the 'mega' and 'kilo' prefixes also as these are commonly used and referred to also. Kilo means one thousand (10 to the power of 3) and Mega means one million (10 to the power of 6).
The vast majority of WIFI systems operate in the 2.4Ghz range, over time however to accommodate more and more wireless devices and faster connection speeds the 5Ghz range was introduced for this also. Both 2.4Ghz operate in the open spectrum, this means that anyone is free to make technology that can broadcast in this range. A lot of the spectrum has been sold off to the telecoms companies for use of their services like 3G, 4G etc. It is illegal to broadcast in these frequencies without a licence, so this is what the open spectrum is reserved for. In fact, if you tried broadcasting or receiving transmissions in the 395 Mhz range you could land yourself in a lot of trouble as this part of the spectrum is reserved for TETRA which is used by the emergency services.
You will notice that some routers are branded “dual-band” or“Tri-band”, this is letting you know that the router operates in both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency ranges. Most dual-band routers will broadcast two separate WIFI connections for you to log into, some don’t but this usually has the same password but at the end of the WIFI SSID (This is your WIFI name) often you will see ‘-5G’ at the end or something similar. This shouldn’t be confused as the fifth generation and means 5Ghz.
5Ghz has some advantages over 2.4Ghz in the sense that it can provide faster connection speeds. This is because higher frequencies can carry more data. The downside of 5Ghz WIFI is that in being a higher frequency it doesn’t pass so well through objects and walls meaning that it’s not ideal for whole-house coverage in your property. It is better for short-range WIFI though.
If you’re familiar with 3G, 4G already you will know that the ‘G’ simply means Generation. For example, 3G use frequencies 900Mhz & 2100Mhz in the UK and 4G use 800Mhz, 1800Mhx & 2600Mhz with the 800Mhz being that frequency range that was previously used for terrestrial TV services. Still to this day 4G interference can cause loss of TV signal and pixelating.
3G, 4G and 5G are all wireless telecommunications standards with improvements on speed and performance as time has gone on. For instance, 3G first brought in mobile data but the speed inferior to 4G. 5G offers further improvements on this and also supports device to device communications. It is said that 5G will provide the framework for driverless cars and the Internet of Things which will see everyday items likes fridge freezers, toasters, washing machines etc connect to the internet.
I guess this depends on how you are defining 5G, there are several opinions on the service about. If you’re defining 5G purely as something that you will be able to connect your 5G phone to, then no. (At least that’s what I think) If you’re defining 5G as what technology that it will eventually support then, for example, The Internet of Things(IoT) then the answer is yes. As this will use all frequencies.
5G will be using a huge volume of frequencies, essentially anything 600Mhz up. The first 5G phones will use 3.4Ghz, but the 2.3Ghz has also recently been auctioned off so it’s likely that this will become a 5G and also. There is currently underway at the time of writing this a 700Mhz clearance of digital TV services that is definitely going to be used for 5G, dubbed the “coverage layer” for its ability to get a signal inside buildings. It is likley that we will see 5G interference on TV signals in the 700Mhz range like we can see 4G interference in the 800Mhz range. In fact, a lot of new aerials are coming onto the market which rejects these frequencies. The real controversy with 5G is the mm-wave technology that will be used which initially will be 24.25-27.5Ghz. This will support very fast connection speeds but also will not travel very far. This means that transmitters will need to be installed every couple hundred metres or so, often on street furniture. Knowing what I know about radio-waves and the effect that these have on wireless signals, even at low frequencies. I cannot see how many of the urban trees will survive the service at the frequencies that they intend to broadcast on. This is one of the reasons why I am not looking forward to the technology. It’s also very likely that even higher frequency bands are likely to be opened up too.
To confuse things even more so, some 5G gateways and portable routers could use 5Ghz WIFI for you to connect to. You may be familiar with portable 3G/4G routers which can be carried about and connect to the telecommunications network. This then provides you with a WIFI network that you can connect your wireless devices to which will operate in the WIFI frequencies (2.4Ghz, 5Ghz). A lot of mobile phones/ tablets also have this facility where the phone can be set up as a mobile hot spot and other wireless devices can connect to that and use the data from that device. Sure enough, the first 5G versions of these will appear on the market very soon. This could qualify as using 5G with 5Ghz.
If you have any questions about 5G or 5Ghz WIFI please post them in the Blog Comments section below this and I will do my best to answer these for you. It’s helpful to know that bandwidth is also measured in hertz also so it’s possible that someone could say “5Ghz” and not necessarily be referring to a frequency. Also, not entirely the same the amount of data that is used or you have in your allowance is typically measured in Giga-bytes so you could also see the term 5GB which could lead you down a bit of a rabbit hole. I can’t tell if all of these similar terms are designed to be very similar and confusing because if they are, they have done a very good job in doing so.
short answer no 5ghz and 5g are total different concepts