How Fast is 5G Latency?

In real world tests, 5G has a network latency of as little as 30 milliseconds. This low latency allows for seamless video streaming and online gaming on fixed wireless internet. Let’s take a closer look at what latency is, how to measure it, and how 5G latency compares to 4G LTE.

What is Latency?

Latency or “ping” is the time it takes for a request, like clicking on a link, to travel back and forth between the client (your device) and the server (the web host) on the network.

Even on wired internet connections like cable, there’s always a slight delay between when the client makes a request and when the server starts transferring online data to, for example, load a new website. During that delay, the client formulates and sends the request over the network – then the server receives the request and sends a response, which initiates a data transfer.

The network protocols involved in sending a request – i.e. the way requests are formulated, encoded, sent, and handled by the network – determine latency. Latency can also vary slightly based on a network’s available bandwidth and the size of the client’s request.

Why Does Latency Matter?

Along with download and upload speed, latency has a major effect on overall network speed. When network latency is high, a video might spend more time buffering or a game might lag. It doesn’t take much for latency to become an issue for user experience – humans notice visual delays that last more than 13 milliseconds and audio delays that last more than 1 millisecond.

Latency is more important for gamers playing games where response time is critical, like first-person and third-person shooters. Players on high latency connections will struggle in the game, since they’ll be playing with a low frame rate and sometimes even a noticeable lag.

How do You Measure Latency?

Latency is measured in milliseconds, where any number closer to zero is better. Discover your internet connection’s latency or “ping” on speedtest.net.

5G vs. 4G LTE Latency

In real world tests, 4G LTE has an average latency of between 40 and 60 milliseconds. Based on this data and more user data from 5G Ultra Wideband networks in Chicago and Minneapolis, Verizon estimates that its 5G latency is up to 20 milliseconds faster than its 4G LTE latency.

Today’s 5G networks consist of non-standalone (NSA) towers that send and receive requests using both 5G and 4G LTE technology. These towers typically connect with devices using 5G, but connect to the rest of the “core” network using 4G LTE. These towers have higher latencies than standalone (SA) towers – which carriers hope to add to their networks in the near future.

Get Fixed Wireless Internet with Low Latency

Because fixed wireless internet has low latency, it’s a good way to watch online video and play online games in rural areas without access to cable internet.

Stephen Kota

About Stephen Kota

Founder & Primary Author

Stephen enjoys photography, boating and gardening. He cares for pet Kois in his water garden.

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