what does g in 5g mean: Everything You Need to Know

When discussing wireless networks, one may wonder, “what does g in 5g mean?” The “G” in 5G stands for generation. 

There are five generations of cellular networks, including 1G, 2G, 3 G, 4G, and 5G. Each number before the G denotes the generation, with 5G being the latest in the list.

 Moreover, each generation has a distinct infrastructure with varying specifications and capabilities for placing calls, sending text messages, and transferring data. 

5G promises to connect everything and everyone digitally. All you need is a compatible device.

Brief History of Mobile Network Generation

As we move into the 5G era, understanding the previous mobile network generations can help us make the most of this new technology. As stated, there are five generations of cellular networks. 

1G was the first generation of mobile networks. This cellular technology relied on analog radio systems for communication. 

However, it could only support voice calls. While it is now considered obsolete, it paved the way for other generations. 

2G is the second generation of mobile networks. It relied on digital signals, allowing users to send text messages and place calls. It also supports picture messaging and MMS. 

As denoted by its name, 3G is the third generation of cellular networks. While many users now consider it slow, it greatly transformed the mobile internet.

 In addition to video calling, 3G technology allows users to play online games, stream videos, browse the web, and send emails. 

4G is an upgrade of the revolutionary 3G network. This fourth-generation wireless standard is five times faster than its predecessor. Besides, it has lower latency and higher voice quality. 

5G is the best entrant in the mobile network space, boating massive network capacity with exceptional data transfer rates.

 It is also 10-20 times faster than 4G and supports various devices besides mobile phones. 

What Does 5G Mean?

As indicated, 5G is the fifth generation of cellular wireless networks. It uses New Radio technology based on Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing for signal transmission. 

Some users, especially those close to the station, report speeds of up to 10 Gbps. With more stations being established, this network can reach up to 20 Gbps in the future. It also has a latency of 1 millisecond, making it one of the fastest wireless networks ever. 

The connection speed can be five times faster than Starlink. However, the speed is affected by the distance of the device from the station so it can be very low in areas far from the station. Apart from speed, this new standard also improves network capacity and scalability. 

With the emergence of 5G, operators can provide essential services like augmented reality (AR), remote healthcare monitoring, and virtual reality gaming. Moreover, 5G is the backbone of applications like smart cities, self-driving cars, and IoT setups

Smart city and 5G communication network 

Smart city and 5G communication network 

How Does 5G Work?

5G works based on the same technology as 4G-LTE. However, it has more optimized technological tweaks for enhanced reliability.

It uses Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing to transmit signals quickly across various channels without interference. It is more flexible due to its ability to employ broad bandwidth technologies such as 6 GHz and mmWave

Types of 5G Networks

Based on deployment modes, we can describe 5G as either standalone (SA) or non-standalone (NSA). 5G SA is an end-to-end 5G network built from scratch. It has separate equipment and dedicated network functions. 

In contrast, 5G NSA pairs 5G New Radio technology with an existing 4G-LTE network. It essentially combines 5G radio access and a 4G network core. 

5G standalone is the ultimate 5G network since it uses dedicated resources. It doesn’t depend on an LTE EPC. On the other hand, 5G non-standalone is entirely dependent on an existing 4G network EPC. 

Deploying 5G is a substantial investment. For this reason, most network providers prefer to use their existing 4G architecture for 5G deployment. This step is a stop-gap measure before transitioning to an end-to-end 5 G standalone model. 

Types of 5 G Bands

5G frequency bands can be categorized into low, mid, and high spectrum bands, each with varying specifications and capabilities.  

The lowest frequency band is 1 GHz. It has the slowest transmission speeds but offers broader 5 G coverage. 

The low-band spectrum allows operators to serve hundreds of thousands of device users across a vast area with a single base station or broadcasting tower.

 This makes it a great option in remote areas. However, you should not expect more than 50 Mbps speed. 

The high-frequency 5 G band or mmWave functions at 24 GHz or higher. It offers exceptionally breakneck speeds but has limited coverage.

 It provides excellent 5 G connectivity within a targeted area, particularly in densely populated locations. 

High-band frequency provides speeds exceeding 1 Gbps. When optimized, it can reach as high as 10 Gbps. 

Moreover, it has ultra-low latency, making it ideal for relaying safety insights and transmitting large data volumes. 

Lastly, the mid-band spectrum provides a balance of both worlds. It operates at between 1.7 GHz and 2.5 GHz. It offers optimized speeds and coverage across vast areas. 

Mid-band 5G speeds range between 100 and 900 Mbps. Thanks to its reliability, mid-band 5G accounts for over 60% of the current 5G subscriptions. 

Typically, applications include smart cities, business parks, and college campuses. 

Telecommunication tower with 5G cellular network antenna

Telecommunication tower with 5 G cellular network antenna

The Top Benefits of 5 G Technology

5G technology is no longer the future but a reality. The technology already offers numerous benefits for individual users and businesses. Here are the top advantages of 5 G.


5G connections are exceptionally fast, reaching up to 10 Gbps with the potential to improve. 

However, the speed you get will depend on your location and distance from the station. 

Data Caps

The 5 G data cap policy seems to be implemented on a network provider basis. However, most providers hardly throttle data when you are on this network. You may only experience slight interruptions during network congestion. 


Another benefit of 5 G technology is its reliability. 5 G performs exceptionally well in bad weather, unlike satellite internet options that might experience reception issues in heavy rain or snow. 


The global uptake and coverage of 5 G have skyrocketed, with subscribers reaching over 1 billion as of 2022. As more people join the network, operators have no choice but to increase the coverage across most areas. 

What Does 5G Stand for in WiFi?

The 5 G in WiFi differs entirely from the 5G icon people see on their devices. 5 G in WiFi denotes the frequency band a WiFi router uses to transmit data signals. 

WiFi routers use two distinct frequency bands to transmit data to connected devices: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. When set to 5 GHz, the router may display 5 G to indicate its current frequency band. 

A black modern WiFi router for 5G

A black modern WiFi router for 5 G

Final Thought

The G in 5G simply means generation. Five generations of mobile networks exist, with 5 G being the fifth and latest. 

Though it is still a new technology, 5 G has transformed how individuals and businesses communicate, access the internet, and share data. 

It can transmit more data and information than most internet service providers, making it preferred for industrial and commercial purposes. 

Even individual users will enjoy streaming data at breakneck speed.