5G technology is the acronym for the fifth generation cellular standard. The mobile network itself was fundamentally developed back in the 50s of the last century, when the first two-way radio communication devices were tested. Each subsequent generation of the network, including 5G, continues to use radio waves for communication and data transmission.
5G technology is the direct successor to the current 4G standard. The new standard was designed to support many more client devices per unit area. Even the fastest 4G network cannot handle as many devices as 5G. The point is that we are talking about a million receivers per square kilometer. This means you can easily surf the Internet in stadiums, call distant relatives from a crowded square on New Year’s Eve, or run a robotic factory with wireless transceivers at every turn.
5G also means higher bandwidth – up to 20 gigabits per second. This is 60 times more than current 4G networks, and 20 times more than gigabyte optical fibers, which are very popular today as data backbones.
Is 5G technology a different kind of wave than 4G, 3G, 2G?
In the case of 5G networks, we are talking mainly about centimeter and millimeter waves (range from 3 to 300 GHz, currently 700 MHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz are supposed to be used). However, they are still radio waves whose safety for human health under controlled conditions (within current standards) has been validated by WHO and hundreds, if not thousands, of studies conducted since their discovery in the 19th century. Remember the I m Feeling curious feature on Google?
Centimeter and millimeter-wave waves have been used in communication for many years. Until now, mainly in the military and scientific centers, as these wavelengths are also great for use in radars and radio telescopes that observe air and space. This is still non-ionizing radiation, which, passing through the human body, does not introduce any pathological changes into it.
What will we use 5G for?
The first change that consumers will feel is a banal increase in wireless Internet bandwidth on cellular networks. Secondly, we have already mentioned the use of more devices at the same time that can communicate with each other and with other remote networks.
The commercial sector will also be able to take full advantage of the new network. Low latency and high speed while increasing network bandwidth will allow, for example, virtual reality glasses and smart devices to work in production halls with thousands of employees at the same time.
5G will also be useful in cases where sensor systems need to be used, for example, in the agricultural sector. They will be able to monitor the condition of the substrate on an ongoing basis, such as the presence of pests or the occurrence of diseases and the use of pesticides at a specific point, rather than for entire fields. The days of autonomous cars that will move around the streets are also getting much closer to us. And the more sensors and sensors they use, the safer their work will be. And all of this data needs to be transferred over fast and reliable mobile networks.
Medicine after all. A delay of 1 millisecond will allow doctors of the near future to perform complex and accurate operations remotely, using robots. The doctor will be able to operate on patients on the other side of the world in almost real time.
Do you need 5G networks at home?
Of course, most of you will say that now they are not needed, and there are still very few smartphones, laptops or other devices with 5G support on the market. But problems can (and already do) arise for people who live in very dense buildings with a lot of devices connected to the network. Wi-Fi range is catastrophically overloaded, almost every city dweller faces this phenomenon. In the case of a dense residential area of multi-storey blocks, where each apartment has a dozen smart and IoT devices, 5G will be the optimal solution to ensure the smooth and high-speed operation of such an infrastructure.
How do I use 5G technology ?
To use all the possibilities of the new generation mobile network, we need to get a device that supports this standard, and, of course, be within the reach of the base station.
The first smartphones equipped with 5G technology modems are already on the market, including in the mid-range. Nevertheless, it is possible that the new communication standard will only become popular in a few years. Experts believe that this period could take up to five years.
The international trade organization of mobile operators GSMA estimates that by 2025, only half of mobile phones will use the new 5G network, while the rest will work with old technologies – 4G and 3G.
Who is responsible for introducing 5G?
The 5G standard is being commissioned by various organizations, but it must comply with the International Telecommunication Union limits created for this standard. The International Telecommunication Union (formerly the International Telegraph Union) unites 193 countries.
One of the technologies that will be used in 5G networks is NR, a new data transmission standard created by 3GPP. The same organization is responsible for a similar technology for 4G networks called LTE. There is a high probability that NR will be widely used around the world. The 3GPP organization has seven so-called organizational members from Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, India and the United States.
Is 5G technology harmful to health?
The impact of 5G on health is a highly controversial topic that provokes more emotion and speculation than scientific facts. Let’s try to approach this issue with a clear head and dot the i’s.
It should be borne in mind that the term “electromagnetic radiation” is used for the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves. This category includes radio waves, microwaves, visible light and carcinogenic ultraviolet rays, X-rays, alpha rays, gamma waves, etc. With a further increase in the frequency of radio waves, in the case of the development of subsequent cellular standards, we will finally reach … the visible frequency of infrared light, which is completely harmless to humans and always surrounds us. Infrared light is radiation with a frequency of up to 430,000 GHz or 430 THz.
The radiation power is also highly dependent on many factors. Take, for example, microwaves, the frequency of which intersects with radio waves. Microwaves in our homes usually run on the same 2.4 GHz frequency as Wi-Fi routers, for example. But the sources differ greatly in power. In microwave ovens, this figure can reach 700-1000 W, and in routers – only 0.1 W.
In addition, the waves in microwaves are concentrated in one point, and in the case of phones, routers or telecommunication masts, they spread everywhere. This is where the fear of routers that was present a few years ago comes from. In addition, it is worth knowing how microwave ovens work, which heats food by setting water molecules in motion. There is no more complex “magic”. However, if someone installs a 1000W telecommunications mast and stays in close proximity for a long time, they may be hurt.
This is why power limits are applied to telecommunications equipment, which are adjusted depending on the current state of the industry. The decision to raise the standards of permissible electromagnetic radiation in Ukraine in the field of radio waves up to 100 times caused great controversy. The standard applied until that time dates back to the eighties of the 20th century and is a direct consequence of the solutions used in the USSR. However, it should be understood that the current power increase applies to base stations and not, for example, telephones or home network devices.
And here we go back to the previous point about signal strength. A 10-watt telecommunications mast must focus all beams in one place to achieve a 1% microwave efficiency at a distance of several centimeters. Waves traveling in all directions are not hazardous to human health. Even if they are constantly located at a distance from a kilometer to several meters from the tower. These types of masts will not heat up your body.
Moreover, increasing the power of base stations allows us to reduce the power of client devices in our homes, hands, and pockets, with the result that overall 5G will reduce human exposure to electromagnetic radiation. In other words, then routers and other repeaters will practically disappear from our apartments and houses.
The WHO classifies radio waves as a factor whose influence on the development of cancer cannot be completely ruled out, but current research does not confirm this. Therefore, we cannot say that 5G (and all other radio waves) are COMPLETELY safe for health in all conditions. On the other hand, for example, the WHO believes that eating dangerous foods is even more dangerous. But we continue to eat junk food, despite all the warnings.
There are also reports of “electrosensitive” people who experience discomfort or even pain when exposed to electromagnetic waves of different frequencies. In many discussions about the development of wireless technologies, they are one of the arguments in favor of stopping further development. But similar arguments have already been made more than once by opponents of the introduction of 3G and 4G technologies.
Studies have shown, however, that there is no direct link between exposure to base station radiation and the well-being of people who identify as “electrosensitive”. They often instill pain and discomfort themselves. Double-blind studies showed that they did not complain of discomfort or headaches, on the contrary – they said they felt good when exposed to electromagnetic waves. Only two out of several dozen people who considered themselves “sensitive to electromagnetism” showed the described symptoms when they were actually exposed to radiation. In this case, they were still advised to consult a doctor, as well as to carry out a number of appropriate medical tests.
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