5G is fifth-generation cellular technology. It deploys speeds from 40 Mbps up to 1,100 Mbps and five milliseconds or less latency. It uses an extensive network of small cells on buildings, traffic lights, and similar structures in dense urban environments.

Small cells consist of radio equipment and antennas that blend into an urban environment. They are about the size of a pizza box or backpack. As a comparison, a typical 4G macro cell covers roughly 10 square miles, while 5G’s dense small cell structure has up to 60 small cells covering just one square mile. Finally, 4G typically has 200 to 400 users per cell, and 5G is 100 times greater at 20,000 to 40,000 users per cell.

On top of that dense structure are the far higher speed requirements for 5G, which necessitates using fiber optic cables. Fiber provides those increased speeds plus low attenuation, immunity to interference, and nearly unlimited bandwidth. 

The 5G frequency spectrum is up to 6 GHz compared to 4G at 2.5 GHz. The 5G network speed of 40 Mbps up to 1,100 Mbps is much faster than 4G, which weighs in at up to approximately 33 Mbps.