What is 5G mobile phone cell plan on teal background

What is 5G?

Summary: 5G is the latest type of mobile network, and the coverage is expanding. Learn what makes 5G different than 4G LTE, how fast 5G really is, and how you’ll benefit from a faster mobile phone connection.


If you’re tuned into the tech world — or have recently considered upgrading your cell phone — you’ve probably heard of 5G. But what is it?  

Simply put, 5G is the latest evolution of wireless technology, and it’s going to bring faster downloads and lower lag times. 5G phones initially used 4G networks, and even as 5G moves to be a “standalone,” it will still require assistance from 4G. This will all be done seamlessly, giving you the best coverage wherever you are.  

When 4G was released in the 2010s, it revolutionized how we use cell phones. Now, 5G is also expected to make our mobile lives better and more efficient.  

The rollout is still in the early phases, but the progress is promising so far. While 5G is already available in most cities, coverage is rapidly expanding to less densely-populated areas. Even if 5G isn’t yet available near you, we’re breaking down everything you need to know.  

What Makes 5G Different than 4G?  

In some ways, 4G is the backbone of 5G. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without the advent of 4G, and it will be around for quite some time as 5G becomes fully enmeshed in our mobile world.  

Simply put, 5G is the latest evolution of wireless technology, and it’s going to bring faster downloads and lower lag times. 

It’s helpful to think back to the 4G evolution. While 4G phones were first created in 2010, the biggest changes from the 4G network and applications that required that technology came later (think apps like Uber and higher quality video calls, both of which appeared in 2013). According to PCMag, we can expect the biggest benefits of 5G to start showing up in 2022 and 2023 

How Does 5G Work? 

Therare three types of 5G — low-band, mid-band, and high-band. Each type serves a different purpose, and all three offer unique speeds:   

  • Low-band: can more easily blanket large areas and travel farther. This is the slowest of the 5G options, but it’s still noticeably faster than 4G.  
  • Mid-band: this is the ideal spot between speed and coverage. A limited number of cell phone carriers are currently equipped for mid-band 5G. 
  • High-band: this frequency offers the fastest speeds from 5G, but is easily obstructed by trees and buildings, making it only suitable for covering a small area. This is also called millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G.  

What is 5G timeline of mobile phone service

How Fast is 5G? 

The speed you experience will depend on the frequency you’re connected to, but even low-band 5G will be faster than 4G LTE. In areas where high-band 5G is available, the networks are expected to be at least 10 times faster than 4G — and some experts say it could eventually be 100 times faster. 

Let’s put that in perspective. According to PCMagthe increase in speed will save the average consumer 24 hours in download timeMovie download times will go from seven minutes to six seconds and large game downloads will be nearly seven hours faster.   

While this is promising, your actual speed will still depend on things like location and network traffic. As 5G becomes widely available, that coverage should be more stable  even when compared to the current networks.   

Why Do We Need 5G? 

You might feel like your mobile phone works just fine as it is — why worry about creating a whole new network? There are a few reasons for 5G, and a ton of ways it’s expected to improve our lives 

Movie download times will go from seven minutes to six seconds and large game downloads will be nearly seven hours faster.  

Perhaps most importantly, the existing 4G networks are getting congested, leading to a reduction in speed, especially during the middle of the day. Your cell phone functions on radio waves, and as we continue to consume more data every year, there are breakdowns in service. 5G is better equipped to handle thousands of devices at a time without service gaps.  

As entire cities use more smart devices (including self-driving cars), 5G will be able to handle the increase in demand. The technology opens up a ton of options, from virtually-enhanced events to be able to send messages at a crowded concert to autonomous cars reading maps and traffic patterns – and responding – in real time.  

The expansion of 5G also advances the possibilities of smart homes, virtual reality, and even remote surgeries. The capabilities of 5G networks hold a lot of promise for what is coming in the future. Just as we couldn’t have imagined the real-time tracking of ride services like Uber in 2009 when 4G was first being built, it’s difficult to say just what 5G holds in store — but it’s safe to say we’re looking forward to it.  

Even if 5G isn’t available in your neighborhood yet, you can rest assured that it will bring a better connection when it arrives. Between the time you’ll save downloading content, the new opportunities for enhanced events, and a stronger connection to what we already love, the future of mobile is looking bright.  

How Much Speed Do I Need for Online Gaming?

Summary: High-speed internet is an essential component of online gaming – you can’t conquer other players with lags and freezes! But how much speed do you actually need? We explore speed recommendations, how to adjust for your household, what to do if you’re experiencing lag times, and why you should choose an internet service provider with no data caps if you’re a gamer.


If you’re an online gamer, you know you need a reliable high-speed internet connection – especially if your opponents keep winning because you’re struggling with slow cable internet and speed asymmetryLet's dig into what “gaming-fast internet speed” really means, and what to look for in a provider.  

The Right Internet Speed for Online Gaming 

Have you ever blamed your internet connection — or, more accurately, an internet lag — for your farm’s troubles or battle losses while online gaming? We’ve been there. But if it’s happening frequently it might be time to check that you’ve got enough speed to support your gaming system.   

The internet service plan that’s right for you depends on your internet habits. What else are you doing online: work, school, video calls, streaming? How much time do you spend connected each day? How many devices are connected at once? If you’ve only got one to two devices and you’re mainly sending emails and surfing the web, you’ll be able to use a lower speed. 

But that’s not true for anyone who’s choosing a high-speed internet plan for online gaming.  

While recommended speeds vary slightly depending on your console and game type, you should be aiming for a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and an upload speed of 5 Mbps. If you have fiber internet, your download and upload speeds will match (also known as symmetrical speed). Most internet service types, including cable internet, have asymmetrical speed  where upload speeds are slower than downloads.  

However, the more devices you have connected at once, the more speed you’ll need.

Each connected device requires some of your internet plan’s bandwidth, (the maximum amount of data you can upload or download at once) so each additional device requires a speed boost.  

What does that actually mean? A speed of 25 Mbps to game might work if you’re the only one using your internet connection at time. But if you live with others, have connected smart home devices, or play with the highest graphics setting, you’ll likely want more speed. For every person in your house wholl be connected to a high-data activity at the same time (whether they’re also gaming, streaming, or video chatting), you’ll probably want to add 25 Mbps. Three people in your home, and you all tend to be online at the same time? You’ll likely want at least 75 Mbps download speed.  

Another consideration is the type of internet you have. While cable internet is widely available, it shares connections across multiple households. Not only do you need to worry about the people in your own home, but your neighbors’ data use will also affect your bandwidth. That’s why we recommend fiber internet for gamingWith the fastest available speeds, a dedicated connection, and symmetrical upload and download speeds, fiber the most reliable high-speed internet service on the market.  

How to Reduce Lag Time 

Lag times are the Achilles heel of online gaming. A ping rate, or latency, is how much time your device needs to send signals to a server and receive a response back. The lower it is, the better. An ideal ping rate is less than 50 milliseconds (shown as ms if you run a speed test), but anything less than 100 ms is average. If your ping rate is over 150 ms, you’re likely experiencing problems.  

When faced with high ping times, most games will process another player’s move first. If you’re playing a first-person game, that means your avatar could be on the ground before you even realize you’ve been hit.   

Not sure how your internet service provider measures up? Take our speed test and find out There are a few things you can try if you’re experiencing lag time issues: 

  • Move closer to your router (and make sure the signal isn’t blocked) 
  • Close any apps or windows you’re not using 
  • Disconnect any devices you’re not using from your network  
  • Restart your router 

If your connection is still leaving you in the dust, it may be time to upgrade your internet service plan.  

Why You Should Avoid Data Caps 

If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably already heard about internet data caps. To put it simply, data caps are a restriction on how much data you can send and receive online. Once you reach your monthly limit, your internet service provider can either throttle you down to lower speeds or hit you with a hefty fee. Casual internet users rarely reach these limits, but those who enjoy streaming or gaming — especially if you’re gaming with friends, using Twitch, or prefer high-definition graphics — are more likely to hit the data ceiling.  

You already know that high-speed internet is a critical piece of online gaming, so you definitely want to avoid speed throttling. Your best bet? Choose a service provider with no internet data caps 

Technical effects of working from home

Leon Hounshell Speaks with WABE's Jim Burress About Internet Demand in 2020

With so many of us working from home and moving to Zoom meetings or video calls, WABE’s host of All Things Considered, Jim Burress, wondered what the effect has been on the companies behind our internet connections.

For some insight, Burress spoke to Leon Hounshell, the chief product officer at Atlanta-based EarthLink. Burress asked Hounshell if demand on the IT infrastructure actually increased, or did it just shift?

Listen to Leon speak with Jim Burress on WABE's All Things Considered


Originally posted on WABE.org.

Android vs. iOS: Which Mobile Phone Is More Secure?

Summary: Remember the days when cybercriminals primarily focused their attacks on laptop and desktop computers? Times seem to be changing. Today, cybercriminals are targeting smartphones and tablets more often. And if this is true, then it begs the question: Which mobile operating system is more secure, Android or iOS?


It’s little surprise that, as consumers increasingly use their mobile devices for banking, connecting on social media, and making online purchases, cybercriminals are aiming their virus and malware attacks on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. The iOS and Android operating systems, then, have become tempting targets for cyber thieves eager to access the most personal information of users.

If safety is your main concern, and you want to keep your Android or iOS device free of viruses and malware, which operating system should you choose?

There's no simple answer.

Android vs. iOS: The Threat Level

In some circles, Apple’s iOS operating system has long been considered the more secure of the two operating systems. Why? Apple’s operating system is a closed system. Apple doesn’t release its source code to app developers, and the owners of iPhones and iPads can't modify the code on their phones themselves. This makes it more difficult for hackers to find vulnerabilities on iOS-powered devices.

Android devices are the opposite, relying on open-source code. This means that owners of these devices can tinker with their operating systems. Too much tinkering and owners might create a weakness in their devices’ security. Then there are manufacturers themselves. If a phone maker puts out a new device with a modification to the Android operating system and there’s a vulnerability in that code, hackers will find it.

Android is more often targeted by hackers, too, because the operating system powers so many mobile devices today. The global popularity of the Android operating system makes it a more attractive target for cybercriminals. Android devices, then, are more at risk of the malware and viruses that these criminals unleash.

But this doesn’t tell the entire story. While iOS may be considered more secure, it’s not impossible for cybercriminals to hit iPhones or iPads. The owners of both Android and iOS devices need to be aware of possible malware and viruses and be careful when downloading apps from third-party app stores. It’s safest to download apps from trusted sources, such as Google Play and the Apple App Store, which vet the apps they sell.

Then there are the social engineering attacks in which cybercriminals attempt to trick users into giving up log-in information, access to bank accounts, and other personal data. It doesn't matter what mobile operating system you are using: both iOS and Android can be equally vulnerable to these types of phishing attacks.

Android and iOS Software and Security Updates

Want to help keep your Android phone or tablet safe? Always upgrade your mobile devices to the latest version of the Android OS. Android regularly releases updates. It can be tempting to skip the installation of them, especially when life gets busy. But these updates are designed to help protect your Android devices against the latest security threats. Ignoring these updates could put your phone or tablet at risk.

Apple’s iOS updates tend to be bigger events, typically prompting iPhone and iPad users to install them as soon as they are released.

Of course, the owners of both Android and iOS devices can turn on automatic updating on their mobile devices. This way, when Android or iOS updates are released, their devices will automatically update to the latest versions of their operating systems.

Hardware Integration

Much of the security of an Android device depends on the hardware. Simply put, some manufacturers are better at making sure Android’s built-in security features work correctly.

A good example is Samsung. The Samsung Knox security solution comes pre-installed in all of the company’s phones, tablets, and wearable devices. This platform provides a more secure booting process, helping to prevent unauthorized software from loading when a user turns on a Samsung mobile device.

How To Stay Safe on Android and iOS

Many users find Android attractive because it is a more open operating system. This means, though, that you need to be more cautious. But keep in mind, you also have to be cautious with iOS.

Consider all the apps you download. Downloading a rogue app is the easiest way to infect your Android phone, tablet, or wearable device with malware or a virus. The same can be true for iOS, especially if you download an app from a third-party source. That’s why it’s important to download apps only from reputable sources.

Your best bet? For Android, stick to the Google Play store. Google Play features countless apps. You really have no reason to download Android apps from any other location. If you do venture outside Google Play, you could likely increase your chances of downloading an infected app. The same goes for iOS. It’s best to go to the Apple App Store.

Android vs. iOS: How Does Their Mobile Operating System Impact Security?

Android Operating System

Popularity: The Android operating system is hugely popular. This means that developers are constantly building new apps designed to run on the system. That’s good for users ... mostly. The problem comes when hackers create apps designed to infect your mobile devices. There is an app review process for Google Play. Unfortunately, the process is far less stringent than what developers face when adding apps to Apple’s App Store. It's easier, then, for malicious apps to sneak onto the Google Play store and easier for users to accidentally install one. One of the main issues is that the end user can go into a Android device and enable the installation of software from Unknown Sources. This means that you can install software on the Android device that does not come from the Google PlayStore. The software — or APK, as it’s called — can be downloaded and installed from a website bypassing the Google PlayStore review.

Open source: Android owners can modify the source code of their Android devices. This appeals to users who want the flexibility to change the way their mobile devices run. But it can also make Android devices vulnerable to attacks. When altering their device’s source code, users could accidentally leave an opening for cybercriminals.

Fragmented: Unlike the iOS operating system that only runs on Apple-branded products, the Android operating system runs on mobile devices manufactured by a host of companies. Some companies might provide hardware that is more secure than others. Moreover, the manufacturer of the device can use a custom ROM or base operating system that has software installed that cannot be easily removed or analyzed for malicious intent.

Apple’s iOS

More stringent controls: It’s more difficult for developers to get apps into the App Store. That’s because the review process is more stringent. Because of this, it’s less likely for a malicious app to sneak into Apple’s store.

Less flexibility: Apple doesn’t allow the owners of its devices to modify its iOS operating system or custom ROMs to be loaded on their devices. That makes the system more secure since Apple controls the complete experience. This doesn’t stop some owners from “jailbreaking” their Apple mobile devices, modifying their source code. Jailbreaking opens new capabilities on the devices — such as changing digital-assistant Siri’s voice, for instance. Be careful if you do this: Apple won’t provide support to such devices.

A less tempting target: Because the iOS operating system powers fewer mobile devices, hackers don’t target the system as often. This makes sense: Hackers and cybercriminals can ensure more victims if they focus more of their attacks on the more popular Android operating system.

For more information about protecting yourself, go to Security and Tools.


This article was previously published on Norton.com. 

© 2019 Norton LifeLock

Top Apps for 2018 and What You Need to Know

At Savvy Cyber Kids, we encourage parents and grandparents to get involved in their children’s and grandchildren’s digital lives. This means knowing what they are doing on their devices, on the platforms they engage on, and who they are ‘playing’ with – their friends, followers, and so on.

In reality, it’s hard to be involved without getting involved yourself. If you don’t know what a certain social media platform is or if you are not familiar with the games and apps that your children are playing, it’s hard for you to converse about them with your child or grandchild. And, it’s equally hard to know what might be of concern to you.

To that end, it’s interesting to look at the most popular apps in 2018:

Top Paid Apps on iOS

  1. Human Anatomy Atlas 2019: Complete 3D Human Anatomy
  2. Facetune: The Original Selfie Editor
  3. HotSchedules: Employee Scheduling App
  4. Sky Guide: View Stars Day or Night
  5. Dark Sky Weather: Up To An Hour In Advance Weather Reports
  6. Forest – Stay Focused: Screentime Moderation
  7. Afterlight 2: All-In-One Phot Editor
  8. The Wonder Weeks: Baby Development Calendar
  9. SkyView: Explore The Universe
  10. Cute CUT Pro: Full Featured Video Editor

Top Free Apps on iOS

  1. YouTube
  2. Messenger
  3. Instagram
  4. Snapchat
  5. Facebook
  6. Netflix
  7. Google Maps
  8. Gmail
  9. Remind: School Communication
  10. WhatsApp Messenger

Top Free Apps on Android

  1. Hello Stars - Game
  2. Hole.io-Game
  3. Word Link- Game
  4. Tomb of the Mask - Game
  5. Tik Tok- including musical.ly - Game
  6. Helix Jump - Game
  7. PLANK! - Game
  8. Wish - Shopping
  9. Rise Up - Game
  10. Messenger

Top Paid Apps on Android

  1. Minecraft – Game
  2. Bloons TD 6 - Game
  3. Roller Coaster - Game
  4. Pocket City - Game
  5. HotSchedules
  6. Hitman Sniper - game
  7. Fake GPS Joystick & Routes Go – Proximity Re-Writer
  8. Basic Education – Educational Game
  9. Geometry Dash – Game
  10. Nova Launcher - Customizable, Performance-Driven Home Screen

It’s great to see popular apps that are devoted to intellectual curiosity like anatomy or astronomy - even the weather.

But even with the presence of apps like human Anatomy Atlas, Sky Guide, and Sky View, the preponderance of apps that are popular are overwhelmingly devoted to social media – be it the apps themselves (like YouTube, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook) or the photo editing tools that create a social media-friendly version of reality, like Facetune and Cute CUT.

Do you know how your child or grandchild engages on social media?

It’s always worthwhile to talk to your child or grandchild about the pressures to maintain a social media presence. This can have a negative impact on the investment they put into IRL (real-life) relationships and they’re real-life responsibilities like school, extra-curricular activities, family relationships and SLEEP! Apps like Facetune and other photo editing services can send a message to your child or grandchild that they are not good enough the way they are. It’s probably worth observing how much time your child or grandchild invests in a selfie. How many photos did they take? How much time did they spend editing it? What did they edit?

These lists are also heavily weighted by a fondness for gaming. There’s a lot of talk these days about gaming addiction and, no doubt, kids can spend way too much time trying to level up within a game. It’s important for you to know which games your child is playing so that you can look at the privacy settings. You need to know who your child is playing with. Is it strangers or only people they know in real life?  You need to know how players communicate with one another within a game. Are strangers communicating with your child or grandchild as they play a game?

By looking at this list together, you can start all sorts of conversations with your child or grandchild. First, learning which one of these apps they use and then exploring how to use it.

Remember, getting involved in the digital lives of your children and grandchildren isn’t just so you can look out for potential pitfalls. It’s also about finding a new way to connect with your child or grandchild – in their virtual worlds where they are already immersed. It’s about seeing if you can find fun and joy with your child or a grandchild in their digital world.



Savvy Cyber Kids educates and empowers digital citizens, from parents and grandparents to teachers and students. Sign up for their free resources to help you navigate today’s digital world with cyber ethics.