5G Impact on Battery Life
Updated: Oct 12
5G will bring lots of new technological advancements and speeder connections using a smartphone. It is well accepted in the Telecoms community that new advancements in technology like with 4G previously, will have lots of new advantages but the one area that always seems to suffer is the Battery life. This report will explore the benefits in terms of speeds and the impact on Battery performance taking into account the network set-up.
Before we start you can see below a short video on 5G technology and how it compares with previous-generation technologies. An Overview of some of the key aspects of 5G can be seen in the video below:
At ViserMark using viSer test automation technology, we are in a position to assess and analyse many network and device Key Performance Indicators like:
Data Performance (Web browsing, file transfer, streaming)
Network Access (Network coverage and performance)
All testing was performed using with viSer in UK and France.
5G NSA and Main Challenges
We have started a study several weeks ago on 5G NSA (Non-Standalone) in UK and France using the Live network in specific areas. The study will continue over the next months, but we can release some of the preliminary findings. NSA 5G is a solution where 5G is supported by the existing 4G infrastructure.
We need to urge some caution at this stage to accurately measure the impact of the 5G in Battery life we have many variables that can affect the test results.
Testing is performed on a Live network and therefore we are comparing a very mature technology 4G to a new technology 5G which is not yet fully comparable, but this can still give us some early indications.
Before we get into the analysis of the results let us first list some of the challenges:
Testing is performed on a Live network. 4G signal strength was very good -80dbm whereas 5G signal strength was weaker but still good at -99dbm.
The first phase of testing has been performed on early 5G devices where the chipset technology was not fully optimised. We are expecting to see better performance with the latest chipsets and devices.
We have experienced some network instability with services sometimes bouncing between 4G and 5G.
Summary of First Observations and Findings:
5G deployments are still in the early phase. In 2021 we are expecting to see it more mainstream with further implementations. According to a GSA Report, 38 countries had 5G networks as of August 2020. The infographic below gives an overview of current deployments.
We have noticed during our testing that performance can change a lot depending on location and operator. You may even do not see any real difference between 5G and 4G and this was a case in some test locations in France.
Undoubtedly one of the key benefits of 5G is the data transfer either downlink or uplink speed. 5G promises device speeds around 10 times faster than 4G. From the testing, we have performed in two locations we have observed a maximum speed of around twice more than we saw on 4G. In the graph below you can see peak download throughput was 87.75 MB/s for 4G and 201 MB/s for the 5G. More interesting, the average downlink throughput is 3 times faster on 5G than on 4G.
5G speeds are continuously improving and we will be seeing even better performance as the technology matures. According to Qualcomm 5G is designed to deliver peak data rates to up to 20Gbps.
So, with the data speeds, we have observed in the specific location if you want to download a 2 hour 4K film (14GB) in 4G it will take you roughly 22 minutes and 50 seconds based on the average score above. If you are looking to download the same film in 5G NSA this will take you 9 minutes 56 seconds in the 5G NSA network. When the 5G technology reaches its peak data rates the same film will be downloaded in an astonishing 6 seconds!!
In the second location the testing was performed we did not achieve the same results of increased 5G performance. The performance was only marginally higher, and it can be seen by the graph below and in one instance 4G performed better.
The download speed is very appealing for some and below we can see what the impact on the battery will be. From the testing we have performed we had just over the double increase in the data speed on 5G and this is accelerating the battery drain. The extra power drain is compensated by shorter data transfers.
From the graph, we can see the 4G (Black colour) provides a more linear gradual discharge of the battery whereas 5G (Blue colour) a higher discharge rate.
We can also see that Battery temperature is also impacted. The graph in Black represents the 5G NSA network whereas the graph on Blue the 4G. This clearly shows the handset has to work harder when downloading content and reaching higher speeds.
These results represent some of the initial observations and our team is working on additional tests to provide you more information on different brands of devices, chipsets and Network Operators.
Further results will be shared in the coming months with performance on specific devices, chipsets, and Network Operators.