What is 5g? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
5g became a hot topic in 2020. The new technology has the potential to drastically upgrade the daily lives of people on a global scale, though some are convinced it comes with environmental and health consequences. So what is 5g, really? The most recent installment of a series of technology meant to better the delivery of wireless networks, 5g could be the key to taking the world to the next level.
Curious about 5g? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is 5g?
The first question on everyone’s mind when it comes to 5g is often simply, what is 5g? What does 5g mean? Short for fifth generation, 5g is the latest cellular technology designed to increase the effectiveness and speed of wireless networks. Most experts believe 5g will make mass texting more powerful for brands and the average consumer. The first generation of mobile networks launched in the 1970s, and we have continued to build upon them since.
So who invented 5g technology? Answering that question is difficult, as 5g relies on an array of applied science to function. Though one individual person can’t be credited with “inventing” 5g, China has been a leader when it comes to developing and implementing the technology.
Though 5g is the newest and arguably most effective system for connecting our wireless networks, its arrival has sparked controversy. The lack of understanding in how 5g functions has caused unfounded panic about 5g catalyzing health concerns, such as cancer and even viral diseases. As much as the general public already rely on 5g technology, many don’t understand how it works. What is 5g technology? We’ll cover this in the next section.
How does 5g work?
What can 5g do? In short, it could be a game changer for both personal and professional use. In some cases, it’s predicted that 5g could be faster than WiFi. Technically speaking, that’s 10 gigabits per second and 600 times quicker than current 4g speeds. You could also download a full-length movie in 25 seconds at that same rate. What makes 5g different is its ability to transmit large volumes of data quickly and function despite network congestion—a common problem with 4g functionality.
So how does 5g work? Millimeter wave technology is unique to 5g, and enables the lightning-quick loading time advertised by mobile carriers. It also utilizes wider bandwidth technologies like sub-6 GHz and mmWave to bring greater capacity and low latency.
The difference between previous mobile networks and 5g
What is a 5g network? When compared to the generations before, 5g simply performs better. That being said, the journey from 3g to 5g has been a slow progression—after all the first iPhone didn’t have 3g capabilities when it was released in 2007. One of the main features that sets the two generations apart are 5g speed vs 4g.
Here are the key 5g vs 4g differences:
- 5g is considerably faster than 4g
- 5g has a greater capacity than 4g
- 5g has lower latency than 4g by a significant margin
- 5g uses spectrum more efficiently than 4g
While 5g has a lot of benefits, users would have to own a device with 5g capabilities. This hasn’t necessarily been the case in the past, as first generation through 4g phones have been compatible with an array of mobile devices.
How 5g will be used
When fully available to mass audiences, 5g has a high chance of changing the consumers, businesses and cities function. You’re probably already familiar with how consumers and businesses use mass texting, but did you know cities are integrating texting in more and more ways? You can even text 911 in many places across the United States.
All of these entities will benefit from increased technological capabilities brought on by 5g, but in slightly different ways. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and near-instant access to downloads and clouds are all areas that will be improved with widespread access to 5g.
What does a 5g tower look like?
Asking yourself, “what does a 5g tower look like?” While 5g towers will be necessary to get the implementation process started, smaller access points will actually be just as essential as larger towers. Since millimeter-wave signals can be compromised by physical obstacles like trees and buildings, carriers might need to install a large quantity of smaller millimeter-wave access points. These access points would likely be around the size of a fire detector.
So what do 5g towers look like while keeping in mind the addition of smaller access points? Mobile carriers would most likely upgrade existing cell towers to outfit them with 5g-dispersing technology.
Is 5g dangerous?
With the rollout of a new technology, there is often hesitation and skepticism about the effects. Since there is a lack of information of how the technology will influence its surroundings over time, members of the public will come up with their own predictions. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic especially, there have been many negative reports about 5g — but don’t believe every coronavirus scam you hear. When it comes to 5g, theories have already emerged pegging the wireless network enhancing technology as dangerous to humans. 5g health concerns and 5g health risks, such as increasing the chance of certain cancers and spreading coronavirus, can be dangerous when blindly accepted. In fact, some members of the public have gone as far as protesting the implementation of 5g in their communities.
So is 5g dangerous? Does 5g cause cancer? Take time to read the facts and consider the opinions of professionals before jumping to any conclusions. While there is some evidence of health damages due to radiation, professionals have strong opinions about these concerns as they relate to 5g. Here are some of the most prevalent theories regarding the dangers of 5g network health concerns outlined:
5g dangers debunked
Since there are so many contrasting opinions about the dangers of 5g, it can be difficult to decipher which are even worth your attention. The alarm over 5g can be traced to a study conducted by Dr. Bill P. Curry in 2000. He claimed that human tissue damage increases with the rise in exposure to radiation.
Curry failed to recognize the protective quality of human skin, which shields organs and internal tissue from high levels of radiation—including the high level of radio waves emitted by the sun. While 5g frequency operates near the highest end of the radio wave spectrum, it still falls below that of solar radiation to which people are constantly exposed. With this knowledge, we can reasonably conclude that the likelihood of 5g causing cancers, infertility and tumors is extremely low if not completely nonexistent.
With these 5g health risks and 5g dangers debunked, the general public can consider the real facts before forming an opinion about 5g.
When will 5g be available?
Some countries like South Korea and China are leading in the race to outfit the most cities with 5g technology, improving their business texting and general consumer texting abilities. The U.S. is trailing at number three. While carriers in the U.S. have promised that Americans would see 5g in 2020, the rollout has taken more time than anticipated. While demos and pilot programs have already been deployed, it could be years until fully functioning 5g will be available to Americans. In order for 5g to be widely accessible in the United States carriers must quickly increase infrastructure and the general public must be able to purchase mobile devices with 5g capabilities.
Now you have a better understanding of 5g, how it functions and the debunking of any conspiracies surrounding the technology. Look out for the standardization of 5g as it spreads across the US and broader markets.
Common 5g questions
Still have outstanding questions about 5g? Here are answers the most common questions people are asking in 2021!
Which countries have 5g?
South Korea was the first country to use 5g on a mass scale. Here’s a list of additional countries using 5g as of January 2021.
Trinidad & Tobago
What cities have banned 5g?
Due to the ongoing debate over 5g health effects and the aesthetics of 5g towers, some jurisdictions have halted roll out of the technology pending additional research. As research is conducted, jurisdictions tend to adjust their moratoriums on the technology. For example, France, a longtime 5g laggard in Europe, announced plans to move forward with 5g in late 2020. Here is the current list (January 2021) of areas where 5g rollouts are stalled, pending additional study.
County Clare, Ireland
Roscommon Country, Ireland
Bad Wiessee, Bavaria, Germany
Santa Barbara, California
Los Altos, California