This is a paid piece from Midco.

Simplified: With so many terms related to internet access and speeds, it can be easy to get confused. We sat down with Midco's Director of Network Architecture Eric Tijerina to break down the difference between two similar but unrelated terms: 5G and 5 Gig.

Why it matters

  • It's important to know what you're purchasing, which means a working understanding of certain tech terms can be helpful and is necessary.
  • A shortcut way to remember it that the "G" in 5G stands for "generation" and the "Gig" in 5 Gig stands for gigabits per second (i.e. the internet speed Midco offers).
  • There's also a difference between wireless technology like the tech behind your cell phone services – i.e. 5G – and connected fiber services like the ones Midco offers – i.e. 5 Gig. Though their names are similar, 5G and 5 Gig refer to completely different things.

Ok, let's break down definitions.

The term "5G" is short for fifth generation and refers to the generation of wireless technology being used.

  • Other generations have been 3G, 4G LTE (if that helps jog your memory).  
  • 5G relies on large antennas to broadcast signals to nearby receivers placed in the home.

The term "5 Gig" is short for 5 gigabits per second. It's talking about the actual capacity or throughput your network has available. It's fed through a fiber connection into your neighborhood and/or to your home.

  • 5G doesn't actually refer to the bandwidth you're getting to support your home internet usage, and it also relies on fiber connectivity ... just via nearby towers instead.

Have you heard the term 10G? That's 10 gigabits per second – commonly abbreviated "Gbps" (and also the speed Midco is working to bring to Sioux Falls in the future).

What exactly does a gigabit do for me?

Good question.

Here's a practical example:

  • Say you're watching a high-quality movie stream in 4K resolution. That probably is going to take up about 25 megabits of your bandwidth.
  • There are 1,000 megabits in one gigabit. And we're talking about five gigabits.

So, essentially, with fiber-based 5 Gig internet, you could theoretically stream 200 movies at once and still maintain that high resolution.

"Using 5 Gig network speeds is a way to future-proof your network," Tijerina said. "At that level, you do not have to worry about how many devices are connected to your network or what you want to do on them."

Keep in mind that doing activities such as live gaming, working from home with video conferencing, or downloading software updates consumes even more data at one time – and more if you're doing all of this at once.

What's the best choice for me?

Midco makes it easy! Any speed they have available – whether 1 Gig, 5 Gig or otherwise – is going to be faster and more reliable than using 5G wireless services.

Go to Midco's website, type in your address under the "Can I get Midco?" headline, and see what speeds are available to you.