Add in the fact that there are already advanced forms of 4G that bolster traditional network speeds beyond what most of us are accustomed to, and you8217;ll hopefully understand why the lines appear so blurry right now.
This is made under the presumption that standard 4G can hit download speeds of around 100Mbps, while 5G in its current form could potentially hit 1000Mbps (1Gbps). Ultimately, that speed is expected to grow to 10Gbps and beyond.
At present, 4G in the UK utilises a range of congested frequencies between 800MHz and 2600GHz. Initial 5G network rollouts will utilise some of this and the slightly higher 3.4 to 3.8GHz bands. But this doesn8217;t represent 5G8217;s full speed potential.
Download speeds of 10Gbps will only occur when so-called millimetre wave (also known as mmWave) comes into play. These much higher frequencies operate between 30GHz and 300GHz, which is the space between microwave and infrared waves.
The extra bandwidth available at these frequencies will enable those predicted speeds of 10Gbps and above. However, the narrow wavelength of mmWaves will necessitate additional infrastructure in the form of lots of small emitters dotted all over street furniture and buildings, which is why we8217;re not likely to see such elevated 5G performance for a few years yet.
Related: 48 hours with the UK8217;s first 5G phone
During our tests, we managed to record 5G speeds of 120Mbps inside the shopping centre surrounding Canary Wharf station, compared to 30Mbps for 4G in the same area. That8217;s four times faster for the new network, though neither 8216;G8217; is exactly breaking down walls here.
The fastest 5G speeds we managed to get occurred on Golden Square, Soho, where we got around 410Gbps. However, it8217;s worth noting that 4G is also very strong in this location, with recorded speeds of up to 250Mbps. This means that the new network provided around a 60% speed improvement.
Even in these early days of 5G, then, it8217;s providing a healthy boost in speed over 4G. If we8217;re taking regular 4G speeds to be around the 100Mbps mark, then we8217;re already seeing the potential for a four times increase with initial 5G technology.