5G has been in works for quite a while but it is still to be known when it will come into force completely. It is the next generation of mobile internet connectivity that will offer faster speeds and more reliable connections.
This faster network will bring about a huge change in the way we use smartphones and other gadgets. Consumers will get to experience internet speeds like never before, with average download speeds of about 1Gbps.
5G network deployment has already begun in a few countries like the US, UK, South Korea and China. But India is still too far away from 5G rollout.
Network transitions like these require time and infrastructure. For instance, 4G phones appeared much before 4G networks were made available for consumer use. This is the reason why the smartphone industry has shifted its focus towards bringing 5G ready devices to the consumers.
There’s a lot of confusion around 5G and its future. Also, several theories have originated from 5G and Coronavirus. So let’s dive in to clear the air around.
What is 5G?
5G is the next-generation wireless network that will replace the existing 4G LTE connection. It will offer extremely fast download, upload speeds and more reliable connections. We will see a multitude of tech products that will be quicker and smarter than ever before. These networks will work in conjunction with existing 4G networks before transforming into completely standalone networks. 5G will completely reshape how we work and live our lives today.
How 5G works?
A 5G network system consists of two main components
- Radio Access network
- Core network
Radio Access network
A Radio Access Network includes 5G Small Cells and Macro Cells that form the core of the 5G wireless technology as well as the systems that connect the mobile devices to the core network. The 5G Small Cells have to be available in large numbers cause millimetre wave frequencies can only travel over short distances. These Small Cells help Macro Cells in wider coverage.
The Macro Cells use MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) antennas which offer multiple connections to send and receive large amounts of data.
The Core network is responsible for the management of data and internet connections for the 5G network. It is designed to integrate with internet and cloud-based services. Moving further, features like network virtualization and network slicing for different applications is also managed by the core.
4G vs 5G
Speed is a major differentiator between two different generations of networks. 5G is expected to be 100 times faster than 4G. Meaning movie download times would reduce to secs from minutes. Streaming movies or games will not be a pain anymore.
Speeds like those are possible because most 5G networks are built upon super high-frequency airwaves, also known as high band spectrum.
But these high-frequency waves cannot travel long distances and can be easily barred by hard objects, buildings, walls, etc. In order to overcome this challenge, a large number of Small Cells are installed in close proximity to one another.
Latency is the time taken by devices to communicate with each other. For instance, the time difference between sending a signal and it is received on the other end is latency. 4G network service offers low latency but with 5G there will be almost no latency at all. Lower latency will benefit technologies like autonomous driving, cloud gaming and more.
A lot of devices connected to a network can cause congestion. Which results in slower data speeds and longer lag times while watching videos or downloads.
With 5G we can expect significantly higher capacity than 4G. Which means more devices can be connected together without compromising with data speeds.
Myths around 5G and Coronavirus
The Coronavirus is spreading like a wildfire and with that is the misinformation surrounding it. One such myth gaining lots of traction is that 5G is spreading Coronavirus.
Several social media posts, tweets are claiming that 5G is the sole reason for the outbreak of Coronavirus. While some other theories on the internet say that 5G technology brings Coronavirus by sucking human oxygen. But all these claims are false as radio waves do not carry viruses that cause COVID-19.
The outbreak of Coronavirus started from the city of Wuhan in China, somewhere around December last year. And a month before that China had begun 5G operations in the same region. Which has led to beliefs like these?
Keri Hilson an American singer made several tweets which attempted to relate 5G and Coronavirus. She wrote: “People have been trying to warn us about 5G for YEARS. Petitions, organizations, studies…what we’re going through is the effects of radiation. 5G launched in China. Nov 1, 2019. People dropped dead.” Keri’s theories were questioned by people and she was unable to justify her wild claims. Soon after which her management team stepped in and asked her to delete the tweet.
A post in a Facebook group called ‘Stop 5G UK’ said that 5G tech weakens the immune system of a person, and Wuhan people tend to be the first ones that experienced this viral disease as they are the ones that got the first access to 5G.
5G health concerns?
5G is new to the tech industry and concerns are being expressed about the technology’s effect on people’s health. These concerns are valid too, as a version of 5G runs on very high-frequency radio waves called millimetre wave. Millimetre waves cannot travel long distances, which requires more no towers to be placed in close vicinity. There are concerns that radio waves could produce harmful radiation resulting in brain cancer, reduced fertility and other illnesses.
The FDA and FCC say there’s nothing to be worried about. Most studies haven’t found a link between radio frequency signals from cellphones or cell towers and disease, the agencies say. But because 5G is so new, there’s no definitive way to know if it will cause long-term health problems.
“It’s a ridiculous concept,” said John Bucher, a senior scientist with the National Toxicology Program, a US Health and Human Services interagency program dedicated to testing and evaluating substances in our environment. “Each year, you get a new strain of flu that goes around. That’s what viruses do – mutate and move around that way, probably as long as there’s been life.”
As per Coronavirus is concerned it is a virus that spreads from physical contact. It doesn’t travel through radio waves. So you will not get it by using your smartphone, TV or FM radios.