The world of wireless technology is constantly evolving, and the introduction of 5G and 6G networks has revolutionized how we communicate. From faster speeds to lower latency, these two technologies have opened up a new realm of possibilities for consumers and businesses alike, but what exactly is the difference between 5G and 6G?

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology, succeeding 4G LTE. It was first introduced in 2019, and Verizon led the way with commercial deployment beginning in April of that year. Unlike 3G and 4G before it, 5G wasn’t simply an incremental technological advancement but a true leapfrog technology.

One of the biggest differences between 5G and its predecessors is speed. 5G offers theoretical speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, which is more than 30 times faster than the 300Mbps theoretical maximum speed of 4G LTE-Advanced. This technology also uses higher frequency bands than previous generations and is deployable in low-band, mid-band or high-band millimeter-waves from 24 GHz up to 66 GHz. This aspect allows massively faster data transfer speeds and greater bandwidth capacity.

5G use cases

This technology opened up a new world of possibilities, enabling applications such as autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things and smart cities. In addition, it is also used to deliver healthcare services remotely and vastly improve gaming experiences.

What is 6G?

6G is the sixth generation of cellular network technology that will succeed 5G. It is expected to be available by 2030 and promises even faster speeds than its predecessor. There are already reports of 206.25 gigabits per second achieved in a lab environment in China.

This new technology will use higher frequency bands than 5G, operating in the 30 to 300 GHz millimeter waves up to the 300 to 3000 GHz radiation. Additionally, it will provide better coverage and improved reliability due to its wider range of spectrum usage.

6G use cases

6G is a revolutionary technology that can enable an entirely new world — smart societies with a focus on automation. It will provide unprecedented speeds and low latency, empowering people and businesses to use it for innovative use cases such as smart homes, autonomous transportation systems and healthcare solutions.

6G will make the creation of smart homes and automated transport possible, which in turn can lead to improved living standards and environmental monitoring. It will also take virtual healthcare to a whole new level with the help of features such as holographic telepresence, AR/VR, AI and mobile edge computing.

6G technology will provide tremendous growth potential for self-driven cars and UAVs and automated manufacture. It’s set to be a harbinger of modernization that will significantly contribute towards transforming our future societies.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Network Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

Differences between 5G and 6G

Spectrum usage

The higher frequencies of 6G networks allow for much faster throughput than 5G networks. This means that 6G will be able to transmit more data in less time, allowing for a smoother user experience.

The higher frequency bands used by 6G networks also provide greater bandwidth capacity than 5G networks. This allows for more users to access the network at once, as well as more data-intensive applications such as streaming video and virtual reality.

6G will utilize spectrum from within the 30 to 3000 GHz range. This is an important step in realizing the capacity-demanding use cases of future 6G networks.


5G and 6G technology both offer faster speeds than 4G LTE, but 6G takes this to a whole new level. With its utilization of higher frequency bands on the wireless spectrum, 6G is predicted to provide theoretical maximum speeds up to 100 times faster than 5G.

6G promises to deliver revolutionizing speed capabilities that will have far-reaching implications for many industries. The anticipated ultra-rapid communications will enable instantaneous connections between any digital device, from smartphones to wearables and IoT, creating a completely connected ecosystem.

In addition, 6G’s enhanced speed will facilitate smart factories and robotics, bringing the fourth industrial revolution into full swing.

Beyond industrial use cases, 6G is set to revolutionize healthcare through remote surgery and telehealth applications, as well as propel digitization initiatives in sectors such as finance and retail.

Advancement in IoT

The introduction of 6G networks also brings with it advancements in IoT devices, such as smart home appliances and connected cars that rely on low-latency connections for optimal performance. With this new technology, users can expect an even more seamless experience when using these devices due to its ability to handle more data at once without sacrificing speed or reliability.


Latency refers to the time it takes for a signal to travel from one point to another over a network connection; this time is measured in milliseconds. Both 5G and 6G networks offer lower latency than 4G LTE, but 6G offers an even shorter response time due to its utilization of higher frequency bands on the wireless spectrum, allowing quicker transmission times between devices over a network connection.

Security threats

The security threats posed by 5G and 6G networks are both significant, but 6G networks have the potential to pose an even greater risk. This is because 6G networks will have a larger attack surface than 5G networks, as well as more complex use cases that could introduce new security vulnerabilities. Also, the increased reliance on open source software for 6G networks could create additional security risks.

To mitigate these risks, it is essential that organizations take steps to strengthen their security protocols and ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest developments in network technology. This includes implementing measures such as encryption, authentication and access control to protect against malicious actors.

Furthermore, organizations should be aware of the potential for foreign infrastructure and components to threaten national security and take appropriate measures to address this issue.

SEE: Mobile Device Security Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The bottom line

There are many differences between 5G and 6G networks. While both offer advantages over their predecessors, 6G is set to revolutionize the telecom industry with its ability to overcome the technical limits of 5G and bring about unprecedented advances in many aspects of connectivity.

6G networks are anticipated to tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges, bringing trustworthiness to systems, sustainability and efficiency through mobile technology, accelerated automation for simplifying and improving people’s lives, and limitless connectivity for meeting next-generation communication needs. 6G promises a future where technology plays an even more pivotal role in bettering humanity.

Discover more about 6G with a look at the potential use cases and the top six ways it will change things.

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Catch up on the latest tech innovations that are changing the world, including IoT, 5G, the latest about phones, security, smart cities, AI, robotics, and more. Delivered Tuesdays and Fridays