Fibre vs 5G: What are the Differences & Which is Best for Me?

Fibre & 5G: What are the Differences & Which is Best for Me?

August 31, 2023

Our helpful blog covers the differences between 5G and fibre, helping you choose what’s best for you.

What is 5G?

5G is the latest standard in mobile telecommunications, and promises to be quicker than any network we’ve seen before. It offers faster data speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity compared to 4G. This ultimately results in more reliable and efficient communication, supporting not only faster smartphone connectivity but also the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, and other emerging applications that demand high-speed, low-latency connections.

Learn more about the differences between 4G and 5G.

Benefits of 5G for users

Benefits of 5G include:

Ultimately, 5G promises faster and more reliable connections, offering huge potential for industries and supporting emerging technologies.

Drawbacks of 5G

Despite being a modern technology, there are some key drawbacks of 5G. These include:

What is fibre optic broadband?

Fibre broadband is a high-speed internet connection technology that uses optical fibres to transmit data. Fibre is a modern alternative to traditional coppered broadband technologies, offering higher data transmission speeds and more reliable connectivity. In fibre networks, vast quantities of data can be carried over long distances without suffering from the signal degradation that can occur in copper-based systems. This results in significantly faster download and upload speeds, lower latency, and overall more consistent performance. The network can reliably support bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming, gaming, and video conferencing. Fibre connections can be delivered to homes, businesses, and even more remote locations.

Benefits of fibre optic broadband

Benefits of fibre optic broadband include:

Fibre optic is a great choice for users who require fast and consistent internet connectivity for a range of activities.

Drawbacks of fibre

Drawbacks of fibre include:

What are the differences between 5G and fibre optic?

The main difference between 5G networks and fibre optic networks is that the former is based on mobile wireless communication technology, whereas the latter transmits information along a glass or plastic fibre as light pulses. There are also key differences in how each performs. Let’s go over these in more detail.


Fibre download speeds are quicker than 5G download speeds. While 5G can reach up to the scale of 20 Gbps and 10 Gbps uplink, fibre optic can reach up to 1 Petabit per second. The practical speed measured on fibre cables is around 100 Gbps.


Each 5G station has an expanse of a few hundred metres, meaning users will struggle to find a connection from any further away. On the other hand, fibre provisioned signal can reach up to 70 KMS.


5G is a lot cheaper to install and roll out, while the cost to the end-user is also considerably lower than fibre. However, the operational cost of 5G is significantly higher than fibre optic.

Response time

Fibre optic has a much quicker response time than 5G.


While fibre cables are durable, they’re not immune to damage. Faults in a fibre line are likely to impact the whole network until repairs are made. Contrastingly, 5G connects to multiple cell towers at a time, meaning that if one individual tower goes down it shouldn’t impact your connection.


5G networks utilise end-to-end encryption, while fibre is unencrypted. This makes 5G the more secure choice. 


A lower latency means data is transferred quicker. 5G has a latency of around four milliseconds, compared with fibre’s figure of one millisecond, making the latter the better choice.

Set up

As 5G is wireless, it’s simple to set up. First, you’ll need to check whether a 5G connection is available at your address; it may be that you need to purchase extra equipment to install outside your home. Setting up a fibre optic connection is a lot more complex, and you’ll require a fibre optic cable running from a junction box to the place you want the modem installed in your home.

Should I pick fibre or 5G?

When choosing whether to choose 5G or fibre, you’ll need to consider what you value most. Fibre comes out on top when it comes to speed, distance, operational cost, response time, and latency. On the other hand, 5G leads the way when it comes to installation cost, cost to end-user, reliability, security, and set up.

Fibre optic communications is the most popular solution for internet communications today; by choosing a fibre optic broadband, you’ll be joining a variety of huge organisations across the world. However, 5G does offer some great benefits, so speak to an expert and get as much information as you can about what your business needs. Contact NBC today on 0330 311 1133 to find out more – a member of our team will be happy to help.

How can NBC help?

We offer a range of superfast fibre business bundles and SoGEA fibre deals at great prices. Get yours today and benefit from increased connectivity.

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Frequently asked questions

Is 5G broadband as fast as fibre?

While fibre is generally capable of faster speeds than 5G broadband, there are areas where the opposite is true. Speeds vary from location to location, while the installation method you choose can also have an impact. Ultimately, it’s best to check with your provider and treat each case as unique for accurate insights.

Is fibre broadband 5g

Fibre and 5G are fundamentally different networks; the former transmits information along glass or plastic fibres, whereas the latter is based on wireless communication technology.

Is fibre better than 5G?

It depends what you’re after. If you’re looking for the quickest network, then you’re likely better with fibre, as wired networks can provide high speeds and unlimited bandwidth without suffering any quality issues.

However, fibre lines are generally more immune to damage, less secure, and trickier to set up than 5G. Ultimately, the best option of the two will depend on your own unique circumstances.

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