Answering some simple FAQs on 5G

Hello and welcome to another post, I am going to be answering some simple FAQs on 5G.

Now before we get into answering some simple FAQs on 5G and all that, let’s talk about 5G first. This topic is low-key trending and if you’re visit this site actively, I’d like to keep you informed, free of charge.

A bit of history…

When I was young growing up in the 90s, the only phones I ever saw in real life and on the TV (Nollywood) were landlines. Those wired telephones that had a receiver/speaker and mic as well as a cradle for dialing.

The Nigerian Telecommunications Company (NITEL) ran a postpaid service at that time and they charged heavily for it. I remember my dad talking about one of my uncles who had a landline and how he was being extorted. To know how evil NITEL were, think of IKEDC, KEDC, BEDC, IBEDC officials on steroids.

So when Econet and MTN came in 2001, even their exorbitant prices for SIMs and calls were nothing compared to what NITEL charged.

Over the years, there have been improvements. 2G became 3G, 3G became 4G, and now we finally have 5G. From G to E, to 3G to H+ and the 4G and 4G+. Some phones display LTE or LTE+. Depends.

And it’s so easy to adjust to something new, something faster, so much so that you can’t really remember what the old one was like. Out of curiosity, I tried using 2G to browse recently. 😂😂😂😂 Nobody told me to revert back to LTE fast.

So what is 5G?

5G is not the antichrist and no it didn’t cause COVID 19. WHO, China and Dr Fauci as well as their scientists in their Gain of Function Wuhan labs are best placed to answer that.

5G is the 5th generation of mobile networks that have been developed from the 1970s till now. 5G promises to do two things better than it’s predecessor…

  1. Faster network
  2. Less latency

That’s it really. It’s the same way 3G is better than 2G and the same way 4G (VoLTE) is better than 3G. I put VoLTE in brackets because typical 4G relies on 3G for calls. VoLTE is true 4G as it doesn’t rely on 3G for anything at all.

Now back to 5G.

Types of 5G

There’s are two types on 5G based on frequency and another two based on infrastructure.

Based on Frequency, we have
1. Sub 6GHz
2. mmWave

Based on infrastructure
1. NSA 5G
2. SA 5G

Based on frequency

1. Sub-6GHz

So as the name implies, the sub-6GHz 5G is a type of 5G where the network frequency is not up to 6GHz. Sub-6GHz means below 6GHz.

Sub-6GHz is the cheapest type of 5G to build and it covers a wide area. Up to 10 electric poles on a road for example.

This is the type of 5G that we have in Nigeria, India and most of the 3rd world.

Sub-6GHz 5G frequency is very fast. Faster than 4G by a country mile and it comes with more bandwidth, stronger connectivity and less latency.

Band 7 used by MTN has one of the fastest 4G frequencies at 2.6GHz. Compare that with a 5G network using 3.5GHz and above all the way up to 6GHz.

There are some 4G networks that creep into the frequency range that sub 6GHz covers like Band 42 and 48 for example that use 3.5GHz frequency.

This has led some reviewers to call sub-6GHz 5G networks as 4G LTE Pro Max.

This is because apart from the higher cell tower power, newer routing technology and better bandwidth, they mostly use the same frequencies.

2. mmWave

mmWave on the other hand refers to 5G networks with frequencies higher than 6GHz. This one is what some people refer to as true 5G. All the crazy download speeds 20Gbps are from here and they can get even faster

The problem with mmWave 5G is that it is very expensive. Another issue is that it doesn’t cover any distance. 2 electric poles max distance.

If anything obstructs the line of sight between the user and the cell tower, the download speeds will crash quickly to sub-6ghz levels.

Based on Infrastructure

1. Non Stand Alone (NSA) 5G

What is NSA 5G?

NSA is short for Non Stand Alone 5G. This is a type of 5G network that is built on a pre-existing 4G network. That’s it. This is a very cost efficient way to roll out 5G whilst minimizing expenses.

Whilst this is cheap, there is a catch. Now due to this 5G operating on an older and slower 4G infrastructure, there could be some latency here and there along the line.

Also, VoNR (voice over 5G) will not work on NSA 5G as it will have to rely on 4G for calls.

2. Stand Alone (SA) 5G

SA 5G on the other hand is a type of 5G that is built from the ground up with new 5G infrastructure. There’s no old parts or components there. The base towers, routers, receivers, cables are all 5G enabled.

SA 5G is much faster than NSA 5g and it supports VoNR as well.

The problem here is that it is super expensive, especially when an mmWave frequency is used on SA infrastructure. Prohibitively expensive. Another issue is that users may require a new SIM card.

Answering some simple FAQs on 5G

With those out of the way, let’s move on to answering some simple FAQs on 5G.

  1. What kind of 5G do we have in Nigeria? Well what we have is sub-6GHz 5G that is NSA (built on pre-existing 4G infrastructure).
  2. Is 5G much faster than 4G? Yes absolutely.
  3. Can my 4G LTE phone get 5G? No. Your 4G phone uses a network modem that can only support 4G and below.
  4. How do I get 5G? Get a 5G phone.
  5. I have a 5G phone with a 4G SIM. Can I get 5G? Yes. Phones with 4G SIMs can connect to NSA 5G networks. This is why MTN is not advertising 5G SIMs yet.
  6. Is NSA 5G only for Sub 6Ghz frequencies? No. mmWave 5G can also be built on the old 4G core but it may not deliver the speeds that it is capable of.
  7. I have a 5G phone and I cannot get 5G signal? Well ensure that your network provider has made it available in your city and that you are living close to a 5G tower or least within sight of one.
  8. I have a 5G phone and a 4G SIM but I cannot get 4G? It’s very possible that what you have is mmWave 5G on SA infrastructure. You may need a 5G SIM. Please contact your service provider for more details.

With that we’ve come to the end of this post, answering some simple FAQs on 5G.

I think 🤔 these are all the questions that I remember. If you have any, please add them to the list. I’ll answer to the best of my ability.

Thank you for reading to the end. As always, ensure to check out our links for more information