How 5g Networks Work

5G offers more options, in terms of airwaves, than 4G . More than that, it opens up radio waves that did not work with 4G technology. But did you know that 5G can run on any frequency? This brings us to three classifications: Low, Medium, and High.


5G speeds are directly related to how wide the channels are available and how many are available. With 4G, up to seven 20MHz channels can be combined to use a total of 140MHz of spectrum . However, most of the time, phones use 60MHz or less.

With current low and mid band 5G phones , you can combine two 100MHz channels, for 200MHz use, and add three more 20GHz 4G channels on top of that . In high band 5G, up to eight 100MHz channels can be used.


This classification works at frequencies below 2 GHz . These are the oldest television and cellular frequencies. They travel great distances, but there are no very wide channels available, and many of those channels are being used for 4G. So low band 5G is slow. So right now, it acts and feels like 4G. These low band channels have a width from 5MHz to 20MHz. They are not more spacious than 4G.


The middle band is in the 2-10GHz range. That covers most current Wi-Fi and cellular frequencies, as well as slightly higher frequencies. These networks have a range of approximately 800 meters. In most countries, these are the networks that carry the majority of 5G traffic.


The 5G high band , or millimeter wave, is what’s really new in this technology. So far, it’s mainly about radio waves in the 20-100 GHz range . These waves have never been used before for consumer applications; they are very short range. However, the speeds are very fast, up to 800MHz at a time.

Let’s understand how it works

Like other cellular networks, 5G networks use a system that divides into sectors and sends encoded data, via radio waves. Each site needs to be connected to a network, either through a wired or wireless network connection.

Also, they use an encoding called OFDM. It is very similar to the encoding used by 4G LTE. However, the air interface is designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE.

Using the same airwaves as 4G, the 5G radio system can achieve speeds up to 30% faster, thanks to more efficient coding. In essence, it has been designed to use channels much larger than 4G. While most 4G channels are 20MHz, tied up to 140MHz at a time, 5G channels can be up to 100MHz , using up to 800MHz at a time. This also implies that larger air wave blocks are required, than those available for 4G.

In summary, the goal of 5G is to offer much higher speeds, in addition to higher capacity per sector, with lower latency than 4G.