What's the difference between 5G and 10G? by Chris Reece

Published on: 5/30/2019
Author: Chris Reece, Technologist, Award Solutions

Back in March, I had the opportunity to attend the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies in Denver, Colorado (https://tmt.knect365.com/cable-next-gen-strategies/). It was great conference and my first exposure to the cable industry. One of the hot topics was 10G. Since I'm in the telecom space, I’m very familiar with 5G, but not so much 10G. How do they compare? What's the difference?

5G – G is for Generation

The "G" in 5G stands for "generation." 5G is the latest generation of wireless technology being deployed right now in many parts of the world. It has been designed to support a number of characteristics like high bandwidth (up to 20 Gbps in the downlink and 10 Gbps in the uplink), low latency (as low as a 1 ms delay), and the ability to support a large number of low bandwidth devices (like IoT devices). 5G has a new core network that needs to be deployed, typically referred to as a 5G Core or 5GC for short. 5G is currently being deployed by many service providers, like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone, China Telecom, and Telstra, to name a very few. One of the services that some operators are looking at is using 5G to support a fixed wireless application to provide internet service to homes. Verizon has been offering this service since late 2018.

10G – G is for Gbps

With the promise of offering high speed internet services to the home, the cable industry wanted to have something to offer as an alternative. That's where the term 10G comes in. First, the "G" in 10G stands for "Gbps." 10G is completely different from 5G. Before we can really understand the importance of 10G, we need to look a bit at the current state of the cable industry. The vast majority of cable customers use coax, since fiber has only recently become an option. Since coax is an electric-based system, there is an inherent limitation to the amount of data that can be sent and the distance it can travel without degradation. 10G is a way to use the existing coax already in the ground at your home to allow for speeds up to 10 Gbps. On top of that, just like with 5G, it will be able to support lower latency. That's the goal. The network needed to achieve this is quite complex, but from a residential subscriber perspective, it's an easy way to increase in data speeds at home. 10G was just announced in early 2019 and trials are starting in late 2019 and 2020.

10G vs. 5G

So why should we care about 5G and 10G? With 5G, traditional wireless carriers have the opportunity to provide internet service to a residential user using a fixed wireless device. 5G can support higher bandwidth than the current coax systems. With 10G, the cable industry can offer a better service and continue to compete. I'm excited to see how both the wireless industry and the cable industry continue to evolve to support higher and higher levels of services.

About the Author

Chris Reece has spent the last 27 years working with the world’s leading service providers as they look to transform their networks. Service providers rely on his experience and expertise in areas like 5G, AI, Virtualization, and LTE to help them make critical decisions along their technology journey. Both business and technical roles appreciate Chris’ ability to bring not only the big picture view and the end-to-end impact of new technologies, but also the technical considerations and details they need to deploy, manage, and operationalize their networks. Chris has been a featured speaker at leading telecom conferences worldwide, Meetups locally, and in publications like IEEE Spectrum and DZONE.

About Award Solutions, Inc.

Award Solutions is the trusted training partner to the world's best networks. We help companies tackle new technologies by equipping their teams with knowledge and skills. Award Solutions invests heavily in technology, research, engineering, and labs to ensure our customers make the most of their resource and network investments. Award's expertise spans advanced wireless technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, 5G, Network Virtualization, 4G LTE, and more. For more info on 5G - visit https://www.awardsolutions.com/portal/resources