One of the hottest topics of discussion today is the introduction of 5G networks and how it can impact our health. Conspiracy theorists are even claiming that 5G is to blame for the current COVID 19 Pandemic. However, not many people understand this new technology and rumors of how bad it is, seem to outweigh its usefulness.
What is 5G?
5G is the natural successor of 4G, the current cell phone network we have been using since about 2009. It is called 5G because it is the fifth generation of this technology and it is expected to solve a number of limitations of the current 4G cell technology by adding new ways of using the mobile internet such as higher capacity, faster speeds, improved battery life and low latency.
5G will also provide a connection to the Internet-of-Things (IoT), which covers everything connected to the internet that “talk” to each other, such as devices with built in sensors, smartphones and wearables. It will integrate data from these devices and analyze it to share the most valuable information with applications built to address specific needs. These powerful IoT applications will focus on what information is useful and what can safely be ignored, detecting patterns, making recommendations, and detecting potential problems before they occur. A powerful cell network such as 5G is needed to run such applications successfully.
Rogers, currently the only service provider in Canada that has a 5G network (as of March 2020) claims that “with the power of 5G technology, the boldest new ideas of today – smart cities, fully automated cars, real-time robotics, truly connected homes, and so much more – will be fully realized.”
Rogers, in partnership with Ericsson, plans to boost Canada’s current network with 4.5G and 5G technology, beginning with downtown Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, where they will use 2.5 GHz spectrum to help increase network capacity, with plans to expand to the 600 MHz 5G spectrum later in the year.
It is expected that 5G will offer at least a tenfold improvement over the current 4G network performance. 5G will allow you to stream, download and upload massive quantities of data at never before seen speeds. For instance, tests have shown that you could download a high-quality TV episode (1 hour) in less than 5 seconds.
It will also support many more connections as the number of connected devices (with even smaller broadcast hardware) in our homes, businesses and communities increase. Companies like Ericsson have designed and built up to eight 5G antennas onto a chip smaller than a dime and since 5G technology requires less power, they can be used on low-power devices, making 5G ideal for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
5G technology also has ultra-low latency, vastly reducing the delay in sending and receiving data. Many mobile networks can maintain a latency of 50 milliseconds, but 5G promises to reduce it to 1 millisecond or less. Simply put, 5G can open doors to radical new technology like real-time VR, online multiplayer gaming, remote control surgeries, and even technologies that we have not even imagined yet.
So, if 5G technology is vastly superior to what we currently have and have the potential of improving our lives in so many ways, why is there a huge backlash against it from so many people all around the world?
The reason is because many believe 5G technology will dangerously escalate cellular technology, which is packed with higher energy radiation that may deliver potentially damaging effects on the human body, even to the extent of damaging DNA and leading to cancer; causing oxidative damage that can cause premature aging; disrupting cell metabolism; and potentially leading to other diseases through the generation of stress proteins. Some opponents even cite research studies and opinions of reputable organizations such as the World Health Organization.
Rogers states that they are concerned with the health and safety of all Canadians and they work closely with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to make sure every product and service they offer to Canadians meets rigorous safety standards.
What we know of 5G technology at this time does not give us any reason to be alarmed. However, with time, usage of 5G networks and further studies on its effect on the human body, will provide evidence if there is anything for us to be concerned about.