It operates similar to 4G in the eyes of the customers but the technology is a tad bit different. 5G health concerns have arised as the general population thinks that the electromagnetic field (EMF) of 5G causes health issues. On the otherhand, we’ve all started to hear the ads claiming 5G technology to be the next leap forward in mobile communication. It’s the fifth generation of mobile network which uses radio frequencies to carry information through the air.

How 5G Technology Works

5G networks use higher radio frequencies which have not yet been utilized till recently due to licensing issues by the government. These higher bands are known as millimeter waves (mm Wave). The architecture of such mobile networks have two components: Radio access network and the Core network. You can think of mobile networks as systems that include small cells, towers which help the users with their devices to connect with the core network.

Since the mm waves have a very short connection range, these mobile networks should be of larger quantity to expand the range of the 5G system. On the other hand, the core network is the backbone helping in the management of the mobile voice, data and internet. Its feature packed with additional features like virtualization, network slicing and cloud based services.

Features of 5G Technology

Network slicing is a feature which allows the network to be segmented into different virtual networks depending upon the application. This allows the operators to deliver the right slice of network depending upon the usage or importance. For instance, a mission critical system might have a separated slice than a home user watching a YouTube video on the web. As with the other cellular networks, 5G networks use sites divided into sectors where encoded data is sent through radio waves. These sites must be connected to the core network/ backbone. OFDM encoding is used here, which allows for encoding of the data on multiple carrier frequencies.

5G Health Concerns

Knowing if there are actual health concerns are harder due to the infancy of the technology. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), the lack of research done on the topic has led to inconclusive evidence. Mostly, the EMF is said to cause issues such as tissue heating, cancer, loss of cognitive functions.These are the claims made in order to oppose the installation of the radio access networks on the areas by the locals. Newer false claims have been made such as allegations of COVID 19 vaccines containing 5G microchips. Even headaches, migraines have been linked to the installation of towers.

How is it better than 4G?

When getting into comparison with its counterparts, 5G is tested to have a capability of operation far exceeding the standard 4G. It’s 100 times faster as it can deliver up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) peak data rates and 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) average data rates. The operation can happen with latency as small as 1 millisecond. In comparison to standards such as LTE-A, it’s still 30 times faster. This latency comes into play when you consider the importance of low latency in mission critical tasks. Internet of Things (IOT) applications will also largely benefit from the low latency provided by 5G.

Problems Related With 5G

As discussed above, 5G does have some compromises in the tech end along with the 5G health concerns mentioned. The major one is that the signals are easily blocked when there’s a physical object in between the user device and the radio access network. This can be mitigated by using multiple input and output antennas to boost the signals.

Similarly, since the technology is relatively new there will be a larger upfront cost during the implementation. This is valid for all the new technologies. When the mass upgrading is done by the mobile carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, the technology will be even widely adapted causing it’s cost to decrease with time. Wide acceptance of 5G technology should also be done which is a gradual progress. The false allegations will finally be dissolved about the 5G health concerns.

Source:

https://www.pcmag.com/news/what-is-5g

https://www.healthline.com/health/is-5g-harmful#does-it-affect-health

Image:  Jay Mullings

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