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What’s all the fuss? Isn’t 5G just a faster version of 4G?

While Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G are commonly recognized terms thanks to the constant advertising by all the telecom carriers (yes, including Verizon), it is worth establishing the foundation of these technologies.

Practice Leader - Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities

Technology and Business development

5G, Drones, Private 5G, Private Networks, Connected machines, Warehouse

Practice Leader - Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities

Technology and Business development

Practice Leader - Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities

Contributor (+1)

Technology and Business development

The first generation of mobile technology, 1G, was about voice and being able to make a call from virtually anywhere. 2G not only added a messaging layer that is the basis of today’s texting features, but also made it global so that phones can be used in multiple geographies. 3G added data services on top of the voice technology and provided the core network speeds necessary to launch smartphones. LTE, originally launched in December 2010, is the fourth generation (4G) of cellular technologies. It is the first truly wide area wireless data network technology and is widely credited as the network development that enabled an explosion of mobile internet access. It also launched the app-economy among and between consumers and businesses, creating a new group of platform businesses like Uber and Airbnb. With its high data transfer rates, 4G offered video with minimal buffering and enabled the rise of so many of the connected devices, services and platforms that have become part of our everyday lives. 4G LTE’s ability to maximize the power of smartphones for business users extended computer concepts to remote workers, providing them access to many of the tools previously requiring laptops and wired connections. And it is not going away anytime soon. While 5G is getting a lot of the hype, the carriers and their partners like Ericsson have continued to develop capacity, reach and coverage on their 4G networks.   

5G, or fifth generation wireless, is the new standard for wireless communications. It was first released in 2017 and is the current global standard for wireless wide area networks. 5G builds on the solid foundation of 4G an—drum roll, please!—for the first time, enables wireless technology to deliver speed, performance, latency, security and reliability comparable to what has been traditionally the domain of wired communications. This is one of the biggest reasons why Ericsson and Verizon believe 5G is a game changer for businesses.

Business woman engineer working on checking status


Yet there is widespread confusion about 5G and its various incarnations—Nationwide 5G, Ultrawideband, Mid-band, Fixed 5G, Home 5G and so on.  Many business leaders are also uncertain about what private 5G offers compared with public 5G, and whether they are essentially the same. Though many people are aware of 5G in the consumer world, they are often not sure how that translates to their business.

A public 5G network offers consumers a high-performance network that provides several gigabits per second speed, enabling advanced data communication applications such as real-time video streaming, multi-player gaming and Augmented reality (AR) experiences. Consider 5G in the consumer world to be “public 5G.” These 5G networks are open to the mass consumer market and are managed by a mobile network provider such as Verizon. 

For enterprise customers, 5G offers the opportunity to deploy a discrete private wireless network, one that is independent of the public cellular network and one that can be fully integrated into the customer’s own network environment. Private 5G runs on dedicated customer equipment with exclusive assigned bandwidth, ensuring that its performance, reliability and security are not dependent on the public network. One of the key differentiators of Private 4G/5G is that all devices attached to this private cellular network are not associated with individual data plans and monthly recurring device costs, meaning that as organizations add devices, there is no incremental charge.

While Public 5G offers many new security elements, Private 5G also offers significant additional cybersecurity benefits. Since these networks are being used exclusively in an area that is physically controlled and secured by both the customer and mobile network provider, an organization can create additional levels of protection. For instance, all 5G data is encrypted at twice the levels of already highly secure 4G LTE.

Public and Private networks

Network table

To put a fine point on it, the pervasive deep coverage required by the enterprise environment can only be achieved with dedicated cells, based on a radio design that meets the specific needs of the organization. With a private 5G network, enterprises can not only optimize the radio network for their environment and applications, but also utilize the entire network’s resources for themselves. The resources are not shared with anyone else. Enterprises can design and configure the network according to their own requirements and needs.

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