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5G networks: What you need to know

With the world abuzz about 5G, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about. Is it good, is it bad, is it dangerous? Here is everything you need to know about 5G networks.

What is 5G?

To break it down, 5G is essentially is the new generation of mobile broadband that will take over from and eventually replace 4G LTE. Cell phone broadband networks first became available in 1991 as part of the second generation (2G) of mobile phone technology. Higher speeds became available in 2001 and 2006 as part of the third (3G) and fourth (4G) generations. 5G is simply the latest generation – 10 to 100 times faster than 4G.

How will 5G change our lives?

5G will pave the way forward for our technological future. It will have a massively positive impact on the autonomous vehicle industry, which will reshape the way we drive and drastically cut down on accidents. In general 5G will allow cities to operate more efficiently due to its low latency.

Other new possibilities that 5G opens up includes things like remote-controlled heavy machinery, super-fast phones, physical therapy and stroke rehabilitation through virtual reality, smart bandages that track your healing, smarter homes, the ability to stream video without any lag, remote surgery and high-tech sensor networks that will positively impact a vast number of different industries from agriculture to manufacturing.

What are the pros of 5G?

5G allows for a smarter and more connected world. High-band spectrum 5G offers much faster download and upload speeds and will cut down the speed at which different devices communicate with one another. Latency will be as low as 1 millisecond compared with 4G’s 50 milliseconds.

5G also means a much higher level of reliability, especially when it comes to high-definition (HD) video and virtual/augmented reality. 5G will be much easier for carriers to roll out. Unlike broadband and fibre, where they would have to dig up every street to lay down lines, 5G makes it possible for fibre optic lines to be installed every few blocks in order for customers to be connected.

Even when the signal for 5G is at its weakest, it will guarantee speeds of at least 110Mbps. At its fastest, you can expect download speeds of more than 1GBps (1000Mbps).

What are the drawbacks of 5G?

The initial drawback with 5G is that it will take a number of years to roll out worldwide. You will also need to upgrade to a smartphone that is compatible with 5G networks.

Overall, the most overarching concern when it comes to 5G is its potential to be used in ways that would violate a person’s right to privacy. Safety and privacy guidelines will have to shift and evolve around the world as the smart technology 5G is developed.

Is it dangerous?

Many people are concerned that 5G will somehow be harmful to your health and cause cancer, but there is zero scientific evidence to suggest that that is the case. Many of these concerns are based on the fact that 5G is a high energy, millimetre-wave radiation.

However, these waves are non-ionizing because they have longer wavelengths and not enough energy to damage human cells. “The only established hazard of non-ionizing radiation is too much heating,” says Kenneth Foster, a professor of bioengineering at Pennsylvania State University. Foster has studied the health effects of radio waves for nearly 50 years.

One thing we are certain about is that 5G will change the world; it will change the way we communicate, the way we conduct business and the way we will access information. It is the latest generation of wireless internet and simply an evolution from older technologies.

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Written by Taryn Hill

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