5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone communications standards. It is a successor to 4G and promises to be faster than previous generations while opening up new uses cases for mobile data.
The top-performing 4G, LTE networks can deliver peak download speeds of 300Mbit/s. In comparison, 5G estimates range from 1Gb/s - 10Gb/s.
For context, that will allow a 1080p HD movie to be downloaded to your smartphone in 10-40 seconds.
5G benefits from much lower latency, resulting in very little delay. This low latency will be critical for applications such as self-driving cars. A typical 4G network has a 45ms latency compared to 5G's theoretical 1ms.
A 5G network will also have greater capacity and will better cope with high demand.
5G uses new higher radio frequencies because they are less cluttered and can carry information much faster.
However, higher frequencies don't travel as far. 5G is enabled by having a larger number of smaller multiple input and output (MIMO) antennas closer together.
Operators are able to configure a single physical network in multiple virtual networks 'slices'. These 'slices' can be allocated accordingly and therefore manage the network better and delivering the appropriate resources dependent on the application.
If you've checked our 5G primer, you already know that 5G is not just a single type of network.
"Sub-6" is what you call any 5G using the bands sitting below 6GHz. In contrast, "mmWave" or 'Wide Band' uses the bands in the 26-28GHz range.
Lower band 5G allows for more coverage per tower, while higher band 5G comes with smaller coverage but faster possible speeds. That's why to fully envelope a city a carrier needs an order of magnitude more towers for mmWave than if it was using something between 3-6GHz. 5G mmWave also has a much higher signal attenuation (dropping) when passing through obstacles such as walls and windows.
While the network speeds attainable on mmWave 5G are probably the technology's poster child, most carriers worldwide have chosen to start developing their networks in the sub-6GHz range. And when we say 'most,' we mean practically everybody else but Verizon.
Phones supporting mmWave also need to fit more radio antennae so their internal design is more challenging. With the current state of things, making mmWave compatible phones means you are making them for Verizon only.
Check out our 5G deep dive here. We also test Verizon's mmWave network here.
You can find all 5G-enabled smartphones here.
2G | 3.5mm headphone jack | 3G | 4G | 5G | 802.11
A-GPS (Assisted GPS) | A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) | AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) | Accelerometer | Airplane mode | Alarm Clock | Alphanumeric | AMOLED display (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) | Analog | Android | ANT+ | Antenna | Aperture | APN (Access Point Name) | Apple AirPlay | Apple AirPlay 2 | Apple iOS | Apple iOS 10 | Apple iOS 11 | Apple iOS 12 | Apple iOS 7 | Apple iOS 8 | Apple iOS 9 | Apple Pay | aptX | Audio jack | Auto-focus | AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile)
Bada OS | Band | Bandwidth | Bar | Base Station | Battery Charging | BeiDou Navigation Satellite System | Benchmarking | Biometrics | Bit | BlackBerry OS | BlackBerry Playbook OS | Bluetooth | bps (Bits per Second) | Brand | Broadband | Browser | Byte
Calculator | Calendar | Call alerts | Calling Plan | Camera | Capacitive Touchscreen | Car Kit | Carrier | CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) | CDMA2000 | Cell | Chipset | cHTML (Compact HyperText Markup Language) | CIF (Common Intermediate Format) | Clamshell | CMOS (Complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor) | Color depth | Concatenated SMS | Connected GPS | Construction | Corning Gorilla Glass | CPU (Central Processing Unit) | Crosstalk | CSTN (Color Super Twisted Nematic) | CTIA | Custom ringtones | CyanogenMod
D-Pad (Direction Pad) | Data Disclaimer | DC-HSDPA (Dual Carrier or Dual Cell High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) | Digital Zoom | Display type | DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) | DNSe (Digital Natural Sound engine) | Downlink | DRM (Digital Rights Management) | Dual-band | Dual-Mode | Dual-SIM | DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) | Dynamic Memory
EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) | EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) | EGPRS | EGSM (Extended GSM) | Email client | Emoji | EMS (Enhanced Message Service) | eSIM | EV-DO | EV-DV | Exchangeable covers | External Antenna Jack | External Display
FCC (Federal Communications Commission) | Feature Phone | Femtocell | Firefox OS | Firmware | Fixed-focus | Flash Memory | Flight mode | Flip-down phone | FM Radio | FM Transmitter | Form factor | FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air) | FPS (Frames Per Second) | Frame Error Rate | Frequency | FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
Galileo (Global Navigation Satellite System) | GB (Gigabyte) | Gbps (Gigabits per second) | Geo-tag | GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) | GNSS Positioning | GPRS | GPS (Global Positioning System) | gpsONE | gpsOneXTRA Assistance technology | GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
H.263 | H.264 | H.265 | Half-QWERTY keyboard layout | Handwriting recognition | Haptics | HEVC | Hot Spot | Hot Swap | HSCSD (High-Speed Circuit Switched Data) | HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) | HSDPA+ (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access Plus) | HSP (Headset Profile) | HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access) | HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) | Hz (Hertz)
iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) | Image Signal Processor (ISP) | IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) | IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) | IP (Internet Protocol) | IP Ratings | IrDA (Infrared Data Association)
KB (Kilobyte) | Kbps (Kilobits per second) | Key Guard | Key Lock Switch
Land line | LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) | LED (Light-Emitting Diode) | Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) | Li-Polymer (Lithium Polymer) | LiMo OS | Linux | Location-Based Services (LBS) | Lock code | Long SMS | Long Term Evolution (LTE) | Loudspeaker
Macro | Maemo OS | Magnetometer | mAh | Mass Storage mode | MB (Megabyte) | Mbps (Megabit per second) | MeeGo OS | Megapixel | Memory card slot | Memory effect | Messaging | MHz (Megahertz) | Micro USB | microSD | microSDHC | Microsoft Exchange (Server) | MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) | MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) | Mil-Spec (MIL-STD) | MIMO | Mini-USB | miniSD | MMC | MMCmobile | MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) | Mobile games | Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) | Mobile IM (Instant Messaging) | Mobile WiMAX | Mobility DisplayPort (MyDP) | Models | Modem | Monochrome | MP3 (MPEG Layer 3) | MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) | MPEG-4 video | Multitouch input method | Music playback time (battery life) | Music Player
NAND Memory | Network capacity | Network coverage | NFC (Near Field Communication) | NiCd (Nickel Cadmium) | NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) | NOR Memory | Numeric keypad
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) | OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) | Optical Zoom | OS (Operating System) | OTA (Over-The-Air) | OTG
Packet Data | Pager | PC Sync | PCS (Personal Communications Service) | PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) | Percentile rank | Phone Book Access (PBA) | Phone Life Cycle | Phone Physical Attributes | Phonebook | PIM (Personal Information Manager/Management) | PIN code (Personal Identification Number) | Pixel | Pixel density (Pixels Per Inch) | Polyphonic ringtones | POP3 (Post Office Protocol) | Port | Predictive text input | Price | PTT (Push-To-Talk) | PUK Code (PIN UnlocK Code) | Push
QCIF (Quarter Common Intermediate Format) | Quad-band | Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) | QVGA (Quarter Video Graphics Array) | QWERTY keyboard layout
RAM (Random-Access Memory) | RBDS (Radio Broadcast Data System) | RDS (Radio Data System) | Rechargeable Battery Types | Resistive touchscreen | Resolution | Ringer ID | Ringing profiles | Ringtone | Roaming | ROM (Read-Only Memory) | RS-MMC (Reduced-Size Multi Media Card) | RSA (Rural Service Area) | RSS (Rich Site Summary) | Ruggedized (Rugged)
S60 user interface | SAP (SIM Access Profile) | SAR (Specific absorption rate) | Screen protection | SD (Secure Digital) | Secondary camera | Sensors | Side Keys | SIM | SIM lock | Single-Band | Skin | Slimport | Smart Watch | Smartphone | SMIL | SMS (Short Messaging Service) | SNS (Social network service) | Soft keys | Soft Reset | Speed Dial | Stand-by time (battery life) | Stereo Speakers | Streaming Video | Stylus | Sub-QCIF | SVGA | Symbian | SyncML
Talk time (battery life) | TCP/IP | TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) | TEST | Tethering | Text messaging (texting) | TFD (Thin Film Diode) | TFT (Thin Film Transistor) | Theme | To-Do list | Touchscreen | Trackball | Transflash | Transflective | Tri-band
UFS | UI (User Interface) | UIQ | UMA | UMTS | Unlocked phone | Upload | UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) | USB (Universal Serial Bus) | USB On-The-Go | USIM
VGA (Video Graphics Array) | Video call | Video Codec | Voice dialing | Voice mail | Voice memo | VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) | VPN (Virtual Private Network)
WAP (Wireless Application protocol) | watchOS | WCDMA(Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) | Wear OS | Wearable Technology | webOS | Wi-Fi | Windows Mobile | Windows Phone OS | Wireless email | WLAN | WMV (Windows Media Video)
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