5 Benefits of 5G Network Engineers Need to Know

8 min

Studies have forecasted that the growth of 5G wireless technology could create around 22 mil...

Studies have forecasted that the growth of 5G wireless technology could create around 22 million 5G jobs worldwide by 2035. With a value of over $121 billion in 2023, the global 5G services market is clearly showing promise for passionate talent seeking to develop their careers in the market’s latest network engineering jobs. But when it comes to these modern wireless networks, how many truly understand what it is and the benefits of 5G?

Thankfully, in this guide, we’ll answer these questions as we explore what 5G is and how it works before delving into the five advantages of 5G that network engineers need to know.

This guide will explore the following:

  • What is 5G and how does it work?
  • 5 of the top benefits of 5G?

What is 5G and how does it work?

In our guide on the 10 Network Engineering Industry Trends You Need to Know, we touched on the emergence of 5G. Launched in 2019 by mobile phone organisations, 5G is the fifth instalment of wireless communication standards, following its predecessor, 4G. Deployed to enhance how people share and transfer information, 5G is revolutionising the connectivity between the Internet of Things (IoT), various devices, virtual reality (VR), machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). 

5G aims to provide upgraded data speeds, higher bandwidth, lower latency, advanced coverage, and enhanced reliability. We’ll explore these benefits of 5G later in the guide. First, for the purpose of network engineers seeking 5G jobs, let’s outline how 5G works.

  • Millimetre Waves: One difference between 4G and 5G and previous generations of wireless communication standards is that 5G uses higher radio frequencies. These frequency levels, referred to as millimetre waves (mmWaves), allow 5G to transmit larger quantities of data and information far quicker than its predecessors. 
  • MIMO Technology: Massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) is a type of technology that transfers significant amounts of data simultaneously by using numerous transmitters and receivers. 5G utilises MIMO technology for the betterment of capacity across wireless networks and signal strength. It also helps combat obstacles like blocked transmissions from physical objects such as large buildings, an issue associated with higher-frequency bands.  
  • Small Cell Sites: Another difference between 4G and 5G is that 5G deploys small cell sites instead of standalone mobile towers. These small cell sites are essentially smaller transmitters attached to buildings and other large structures that would otherwise block high-frequency transmissions. Small cell sites allow 5G wireless networks to support greater numbers of devices with advanced speeds, coverage and capacity in densely populated locations. 
  • Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM): OFDM is a key difference between 4G and 5G wireless networks. 5G leverages OFDM, a modulation format that uses high-band airwaves. These band airwaves are incompatible with 4G but allow 5G to offer lower latency for data and information transmission across different frequencies. 
  • Network Slicing: This core and customisable feature of 5G allows network engineers to segregate a physical network into several virtual networks. These virtual networks can be used for various business needs, such as ensuring specific devices receive a dedicated level of bandwidth or allocating capacity priorities to particular applications. 
  • Automation: AI and ML are becoming increasingly integrated into network engineering jobs. The same can be said for 5G jobs, as 5G utilises automation techniques to proactively manage network traffic and services. Automation, enhanced by AL and ML, supports the goals of achieving low latency and faster response times while providing seamless, efficient and optimised connected user experiences.

Now you know what 5G is and how it works, another question you may want an answer to as a network engineer is - ‘what are the benefits of 5G?’.

5 of the top benefits of 5G?

There are many benefits of 5G that you should know about if you’re considering applying for the latest network engineering jobs related to 5G. From upgraded speeds to higher bandwidth, lower latency, advanced coverage, and enhanced reliability, these advantages of 5G will continue to attract global organisations to adopt the latest generation of wireless networks and ultimately lead to a demand for talent to fill specific 5G jobs.

1. Upgraded Speeds

Compared with its predecessor, a primary difference between 4G and 5G 

in the world of network engineering, one of the main benefits of 5G is its ability to upgrade speeds. While 4G has shown maximum download speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), 5G surpasses this number with the potential to reach download speeds of 20 gigabits per second (Gbps). For context, there is potential for 5G wireless technology to achieve speeds of 100 times faster than 4G.

This stark increase in speeds can allow businesses and consumers of 5G wireless networks to download data, from lengthy documents to TV shows, in seconds rather than minutes. These time savings can speed up a company’s productivity while providing more seamless user experiences. People and organisations alike may begin to see 5G as a potential alternative for faster broadband and connectivity across their IT infrastructures.

Along with enabling large data transfers and high-definition content downloads, the upgraded speeds of 5G networks can also support various applications. From cloud-based applications to remote software activation, 5G can reduce the need for memory across internal devices.  

The speed capabilities of 5G networks vary based on several factors, including geographical location, network congestion, the type of 5G spectrum deployed, and the specific device being used.

Although the speeds of 5G are dependent on location and how the network is set up - referring back to our bullet points on how 5G works, overall, the advantages of 5G regarding upgraded speeds can open the doors for faster and more efficient connectivity for enterprises and the general population. 

2. Higher Bandwidth

Relating to our previous point, one of the main benefits of 5G is its ability to enable higher bandwidths. If you’re looking to register for the latest network engineering jobs, this is certainly one advantage you want to know. The bandwidth of 5G is divided into three frequency bands, all of which offer unique advantages. These bands include low-band, mid-band, and high-band. Below is a breakdown of each band.

  • Low-band 5G: This type of frequency offered by 5G wireless technology ranges from 600 megahertz (MHz) to 1 gigahertz (GHz). Low-band 5G will often utilise the existing network infrastructure of 4G and 3G. Despite delivering lower speeds than the two other bands, low-band 5G is still compatible with various network technologies and provides broad coverage.   
  • Mid-band 5G: Offering a balance of speed, penetration, range and capacity, mid-band 5G provides a range of 1 GHz to 6 GHz. The range delivered by mid-band 5G can cover more extensive areas, with speeds that rival traditional broadband internet providers, with speeds of 300 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
  • High-band 5G: For high-band 5G, band frequencies range from 24 to 39 GHz and stem from using the millimetre wave spectrum. Under optimal conditions, with issues regarding obstacles like buildings taken care of, this type of band can reach speeds of 10 Gbps. High-band 5G is especially valuable for densely populated locations where higher network congestion is more prevalent.

Overall, one of the most significant advantages of 5G networks is the flexibility regarding bandwidth. These varying bandwidth ranges, from low-band to mid-band to high-band, enable the seamless handling of user spikes and network traffic. Overall, it makes enhanced connectivity more feasible in busy areas like stadiums or large infrastructures.

3. Lower Latency 

The time it takes for data to transfer from one network point to another is a key part of wireless generations. Essentially, the faster, the better. With that said, the importance of low latency is next on our list of the benefits of 5G that talent seeking the market's top network engineering jobs should know. 

One main difference between 4G and 5G and its predecessors is that 5G allows for ultra-low latency. As a result, tasks like cloud interactions or file downloading can be ten times faster than 4G or even 3G networks. For context, the latency of 4G is roughly 200 milliseconds. At the same time, 5G wireless technology consistently achieves a lower latency of as low as one millisecond—surpassing the human capacity of 13 milliseconds to process data visually.

5G's ability to reach lower latency levels than previous generations of wireless networks enables users to experience seamless, responsive, and smoother interactions while using their chosen applications. Whether it's a video business call or gaming with people online, 5G enhances real-time communication while significantly reducing the chances of delays as data is sent back and forth. 

Lower latency is one of the top advantages of 5G, benefiting various technology specialisms, from smart TVs to VR and AR gaming applications. Low latencies can also support the agricultural, manufacturing, and logistics sectors relating to automated vehicles, industrial machinery, advanced connectivity, control, and seamless operations with the support of 5G wireless networks. The lower latency of 5G can also support remote surgeries in the healthcare sector.

4. Advanced Coverage

Advanced coverage is another of the main advantages of 5G technology. It is a key difference between 4G and 5G that existing and aspiring engineers looking to transition into network engineering jobs should know. This advancement in coverage stems from a combination of mid-band 5G, network densification and MIMO technology.

The mid-band 5G spectrum plays a vital part in balancing bandwidth and coverage. It offers consumers a cost-effective solution to improve services while accommodating higher data usage. Network densification supports the advancement of coverage and involves utilising various small cell sites across a specific location. This approach is particularly beneficial for increasing coverage in densely populated areas. 

We referenced MIMO technology in an earlier section of this guide. It can be used to deploy large numbers of transmitters and receivers to increase 5G's reach. As a result, people and businesses can advance their network coverage and capacity, allowing them to connect with more devices across broader geographies.

Additionally, it's forecasted that 5G technology will cover a third of the world's population by 2025, reaching 85% by 2028 and 2029. This coverage advancement will birth greater synergy between 5G wireless networks and IoT. Due to the coverage it allows, 5G should open the doors to innovation in various global sectors. 

Ultimately, the advanced coverage produced by 5G is essential for accommodating the increasing number of IoT devices used by the global population. Along with the rise of AI, smart homes and smart cities, the coverage of 5G is primed to become vital for delivering seamless connectivity worldwide. 

5. Enhanced Reliability

Our final point regarding the benefits of 5G network engineers should know is about enhanced reliability. The improved reliability of 5G wireless technology stems from the use of specialist approaches to network management and flexible modulation and coding schemes (MCS). A core difference between 4G and 5G is the utilisation of MCS, which results in low Block Error Rates (BER) ratios - the number of blocks transmitted and received in a data transmission message.

The adaptiveness of MCS deployed by network engineers in 5G jobs allows for continuous network monitoring. Tracking a network's performance with MCS ensures consistency of optimal connection speeds in real time. This constant performance monitoring means that 5G technology can shift between speed and accuracy in scenarios where a network error occurs to ensure BERs remain as close to zero as possible. As a result, 5G can help minimise downtime and provide a reliable user experience.

5G's ability to remain agile in the face of network errors ultimately makes it a reliable technology for users. Regarding performance, 5G wireless technology can maintain consistent and reliable connectivity even in locations with dense populations or high network congestion. So, no matter the area, be it urban locations or remote spaces, people and businesses can rely on 5G to deliver uninterrupted connections for their communication and data-transferring needs.  

If you're considering applying for the latest network engineering jobs or have an interview for a role coming up, check out our guide on 30 network engineer interview questions to prep you for success. Here, you’ll find valuable tips on how to prepare for your next interview.

Rounding up the benefits of 5G for network engineers

In summary, 5G wireless technology represents a transformative leap forward in global communication standards. Offering enhanced speeds, higher bandwidth, lower latency, advanced coverage, and enhanced reliability compared to its predecessors, the benefits of 5G are clear. Leveraging millimetre waves, MIMO technology, small cell sites, OFDM, network slicing, and automation, 5G networks enable seamless connectivity across various applications and devices. 

As the advantages of 5G become more well-known, people and businesses will begin to see the difference between 4G and 5G, along with its predecessors. These benefits are paving the way for innovative advancements in IoT, AI, ML and VR while creating a demand for skilled network engineers proficient in managing and optimising 5G infrastructures. 

Ultimately, as the reach and capabilities of 5G continue to grow, it promises to revolutionise how we interact with technology and shape the future of communication globally.

Power your future with the best network engineering jobs

So what are you waiting for? Now that you know the top benefits of 5G, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. If you’re looking for the top roles on the market to kickstart your career or progress your expertise in the field, look no further. With our specialist recruitment expertise, we can help pair you with the best network engineering jobs suited to your goals.

Reach out to a member of our network recruitment team today and power your future with the latest 5G jobs.