The Ultimate Guide to 5G - Virtual First

The Ultimate Guide to 5G

Ultimate guide to 5G


Choosing the right solution for your business can be a daunting task. Our ultimate guide to 5G covers the main aspects of 5G.

At this time of rapid digital change, it’s hard to know where to begin. Add to that the complexity of getting to grips with a constant stream of new acronyms, mobile jargon, and business buzzwords. Exhausting.

Keeping up with the latest trends is a sure-fire way to offer optimum customer experience. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about TikTok – we’re talking about 5G.

Our 5G jargon buster is here to break down the terminology, helping you make an informed decision before you invest in this game-changing technology.

5G (in a nutshell)

We can’t kick off our 5G jargon blog without mentioning the newest network itself.

5G is the fifth-generation technology for broadband mobile networks. It has already been deployed in over 300 locations in the UK, and the rollout continues. It has been predicted that 5G will have more than 1.8 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025.

5G offers greater bandwidth capability, higher download speeds and many more benefits than its predecessor – it’s the perfect step-up from 4G. You can find out more about the differences between 4G and 5G in our handy blog.

Guide to 5G Capacity

An example of 5G jargon that is known by more than just one name – capacity is often also referred to as ‘device density’. Put simply, it is the amount of traffic the network can handle at any one time.

Think about your teams working throughout the day on your business network: numerous people using their devices for voice and video calls, data transfers and collaboration – all at the same time. The more capacity, the more devices the network can handle concurrently and the better the service across your business’s multiple devices.

With 5G, you can use more devices concurrently than ever before. Great news for remote workers – 5G’s higher capacity capabilities mean your friends and family’s streaming services won’t impact the work you’re doing from your home office.

Guide to 5G Latency

Ever been sat on a train, desperately trying to send a time-sensitive work email but the dodgy Wi-Fi connection keeps dropping it into your outbox? Or wanted to throw your phone across the room because you couldn’t load the page to join the queue for those Adele tickets in time? We feel your pain. Welcome to the world of latency.

Latency is a delay that takes place between action and response – just like the time it takes between you flipping a light switch and the light coming on. High latency means a lagging service or even loss of connection in some instances. It’s evident on those calls where you can hear your colleague, but their mouth isn’t moving in time with the words.

With 5G, latency levels are at their lowest. The delay between sending and receiving information on a device can be reduced from 200 milliseconds to under one millisecond. That means more time conversing with customers and colleagues, and less awkward frozen poses on a screen.

Guide to 5G Frequency

Measuring frequency means measuring the speed at which data is transmitted and received between devices connected to your wireless network.

In the UK alone, there are a total of 9 different frequencies used to deliver 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G mobile services. 2G, 3G and 4G services operate on low-band and mid-band spectrum (lower frequency). To deliver 5G’s faster data speeds and capacity, it operates on a high-band spectrum.

Put numerically, 5G operates at frequencies of about 28GHz and 39GHz, compared to 4G networks which use around 200MHz – 2500Mhz frequency to transfer information.

The level of frequency required also depends on location and use case. Let’s look at high-frequency spectrum and low-frequency spectrum, for example.

High-frequency has shorter wavelengths, which means faster speeds, but shorter distances. On the other hand, low-frequency has longer wavelengths – so it can travel further, but at lower speeds. Lower frequencies also penetrate buildings better, which means that for example, your indoor coverage will be better on these frequencies than on a higher one.

Device dense areas that require more speed and bandwidth will be better served by a high-frequency spectrum, while rural areas will be better off on a lower frequency as a wider area can be reached through these. For 5G to function at the best of its capabilities, a higher frequency (and higher bandwidth) is preferred.

Guide to 5G Spectrum

A spectrum relates to the radio frequencies allocated for communication over airwaves. These are crucial for businesses with mobile staff.

Different bands of frequency can be created to serve different purposes, such as coverage and capacity bands.

5G requires more spectrum than 4G to deliver widespread coverage, faster speeds, connect more people and support a wider range of use cases. Enhanced video and audio quality will become the norm, improving virtual conferencing for remote workers.

It will allow employees to truly work from anywhere, be it the middle of the high street during Black Friday or from your local park at peak summertime. The connection will be just as strong and speedy due to the additional spectrums 5G runs through.

Guide to 5G Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given period of time. When your employees converse with your customers, they require higher amounts of data to present work, communicate plans, secure sales and maintain professionalism.

The amount of bandwidth that a business needs can depend on the size of the company, the number of employees or the types of software used. A 5G network can handle more data, allowing multiple devices to perform at their highest capacity and enabling your colleagues to collaborate seamlessly.

You might’ve experienced your browser crashing if you’ve given it too many tasks to do at once. 5G’s higher bandwidth can prevent crashes as your network won’t be as easily overloaded with requests. Running multiple applications won’t cause processes to slow down as they may do on a 4G network. 5G bandwidth delivers the level of business operation needed for our increasingly connected society.

Guide to 5G The Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things can facilitate how we shop, how that shop might keep track of its inventory, or even how a car can intelligently identify and convey a technical issue back to its manufacturer.

It’s a network of objects (mobile phones, computers, even a smart lightbulb) that are connected via the internet. These devices load and share data with each other to improve efficiency, productivity, and the service the device offers. It started off with just a few select devices, which is as far as 4G could push the technology.

The introduction of 5G will transform IoT technology, enabling it to potentially power the infrastructure of an entire smart city. The new network provides faster, more stable and more secure connectivity, allowing users to adopt the technology on a much broader scale.

This increase in speed and stability means devices will be able to communicate with each other and share data faster than ever before.

The IoT can enhance many aspects of our lives without us even knowing. It can improve public transport, feed into environmental initiatives, and vastly improve the way people live and work. Once these devices are running under a 5G network, the value they offer to businesses will be exponential. The sky’s – or rather, the cloud’s – the limit!

Network Parity

If the business you buy your solutions from has network parity with their mobile network provider, whenever the provider runs an update or enhancement, this will automatically update your business’s services.

VirtualFirst Mobile, for example, has network parity with Three UK. Any customers using our mobile service will benefit from any updates as soon as Three UK implement them to their network.

Knowing that your business mobile network has parity through its provider means that your systems always stay up to date and that your solutions, and your teams, are getting the very most out of the best service on the market. That’s better speed, connectivity and coverage across voice and data services. Now that’s 5G jargon we can get behind.

Network slicing

A tricky one in the 5G jargon mix, explained easily with a classic food analogy.

Imagine your network like a huge block of solid pasta. Network slicing is the process of taking that block and creating multiple layers from it (or multiple pasta sheets) with the goal of ensuring the products or services that run on your network do so at the highest possible levels of performance. In this case, we’re making lasagne.

You’ve taken one big network and sliced it up into individual ones. All makeup part of the same block, but each can have its own function or use case. The beauty of network slicing is that it involves isolating these layers and re-directing their ‘power’ at crucial times. You could pause one layer’s power and redirect all that power to a layer that is experiencing very high levels of traffic, for example, allowing your services to function better.

Each layer can also have its own architecture, management and security settings to support its own purpose. You’re now managing your network resources efficiently. Now imagine this type of network capability with the multiple benefits of 5G powering it? It’s crucial in meeting emerging enterprise needs. You’ll just need to add sauce and cheese. Who’s hungry?


Food analogies aside we hope that by exploring this terminology in greater detail we’ve added a sprinkling of additional confidence to your decision making. One thing we can all be confident in is that, despite the level of 5G jargon, 5G performance is unrivalled. It will allow your business technology, and your people, to thrive like never before.

If you’re still not sure about the benefits of 5G or would like more information, our Gamma experts would love to hear from you. Contact us today or visit our Mobile page.