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  • Writer's pictureBen Lake

Geek Speak: 5G vs. 5GHz

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

These two terms are so similar looking that many people incorrectly assume they are the same. Not true! While they both are related to wireless communications, they mean different things. Let’s start with “5GHz”. Pronounced “five gigahertz”, this is a measure of the frequency of a radio wave (remember your high school physics class?). We commonly hear 5GHz used in the context of Wi-Fi, as it is one of the two primary frequencies used by this technology – 2.4GHz being the other. Now for “5G” – pronounced “five gee”. This simply stands for “5th Generation” and refers to the technology used by the latest mobile devices. 5G is actually an umbrella term for a bunch of different frequencies (none of which are 5GHz). Which frequencies your fancy new 5G smartphone uses depend on your carrier and where you live. One final point of confusion: some 5GHz Wi-Fi networks append the suffix "-5G" to the network name; in this context it's simply an abbreviation of 5GHz. The easiest way to remember which term to use is to use 5G when talking about cell phones and 5GHz in the context of Wi-Fi.

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