Spotty service, slow speeds, and at times being severely limited in capacity are a few of the woes that so many smartphone users contend with. I know that we love our cell phones. They have become such an integral part of our daily lives. With our phones we plan our day, keep in touch with others, get the news, watch videos, listen to music, keep up with email, and so much more. But at times our connection can slow down, become unstable, or be interrupted. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a technological advancement that could address our smartphone troubles? I have good news. There is one and it’s called 5G.
In this article I’m going to explain what 5G is and does, clear up some of the misunderstandings that are out there about it, and help you answer the question of whether you should upgrade to a 5G device or not.
What is 5G?
Let’s start with the basics and break it down.
What does cellular mean?
It has to do with a mobile phone system that uses short-range radio stations (cell towers) to cover the area (or cell) it serves. So when we talk about cell phones we are talking about phones that are mobile and automatically switch from one station to another as needed to retain a signal.
What is a cellular network?
A cellular network is a communication network of cells (geographical areas with cell towers).
What is 5G?
The G in 5G stands for generation. 5G means 5th generation. Here is a breakdown of the generations of cellular technology:
- 1G – The first generation took place in the 1980s and delivered analog voice.
- 2G – With the second generation we are talking the 90s. It introduced digital voice.
- 3G – The early 2000s brought us 3G. It gave us mobile data.
- 4G LTE – Now we are in the 2010s. With 4G we got mobile broadband. That means much higher speeds.
1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G led us to 5G. 5G provides a lot more connectivity and greater speeds.
It is based on modulating a digital signal over several channels to reduce interference. It operates on three frequency bands:
- Low-band – Operates below 2GHz. They have a long distance but very narrow channels. Many of the channels are being used by 4G.
- Mid-band – The 2 to 10 GHz range. They have a decent range and cover most cellular and Wi-Fi frequencies.
- High-band – Mostly in the 20 to 100GHz range. This hasn’t been used for regular consumer applications before. It has a short range but is extremely fast.
Now that we have a better understanding of what it is let’s move on and ask a simple question. Is 5G safe? It is unfortunate that we even have to touch on this but as always conspiracy theories and a fear of new technologies are alive and well.
Is 5G dangerous?
The following are four 5G related fears that I have seen on social and in blog posts.
Is 5G is a hazard to your health?
This one dates back to the 90s. Critics claimed that 2G airwaves could cause cancer. There have been so many social media posts that have fanned the flames on this one. It has to do with ionising and non-ionising radiation. The fact is that even though Telecoms equipment does emit radiation, so does most electrical equipment. The thing is, this radiation is not powerful enough to cause damage to humans.
Did 5G cause COVID-19?
I think this is the craziest one on this list. In March of 2020, Dr Thomas Cowan, claimed that 5G poisoned cells in the human body, which forced them to excrete waste. The excreted waste became known as COVID-19. This has been disproven by several scientists. While Cowan presents himself as an expert, a closer look at his history shows someone being investigated by the Medical Board of California for using unlicensed drugs, someone that has authored works with ideas that are not in line with conventional medicine, and an anti-vaxxer.
Does 5G kill birds?
297 birds were found dead in the Netherlands in 2018. It was blamed on 5G trials in the area. 225 birds were found dead in North Wales in 2019. Again, it was blamed on 5G. The Natural History Museum in Rotterdam and Wageningen University examined these cases and determined that the actual cause of death for the birds was mid-air collision. Somehow these flocks got confused and the birds started colliding with each other. This phenomenon has taken place since long before the introduction of 5G. The point is, 5G is not the root cause. Autopsies on the birds recently have ruled out 5G.
Does 5G kill trees and other plant life?
An image of felled trees in the Serbian town of Aleksinac was shared online and conspiracy theorists claimed they were felled to cover up the idea that the new 5G antenna would cause them to die anyway eventually. There is no scientific evidence to back this conspiracy at all.
Is it dangerous? Nope. It is simply the latest advancement in cellular technology.
Should you upgrade to 5G?
Here are some things to keep in mind while considering the question of whether you should upgrade or not.
- 5G is significantly faster than 4G.
- 5G has a lot more capacity than 4G.
- 5G has much lower latency than 4G.
- 5G is far more capable than 4G.
It is able to handle more connected devices than 4G. With it you don’t have to continue dealing with spotty service in crowded areas. It also reduces how long it takes to make a request from a server and get a response.
If you for some reason can’t get a 5G capable device then no worries, you will still be OK for now. On the other hand, if you are able to upgrade and want a faster, more capable, and more reliable experience then I strongly encourage you to do so.
Now you know that 5G is just an important advancement in the evolution of cellular technology. It’s not dangerous. It won’t harm our health, kill birds, or harm trees. It’s a huge advancement though. It offers increased speed, capability, and reliability. My current phone is a 4G device. My next device will absolutely be 5G. I would advise all of you to do the same.
Learn more about 5G at:
Tech on and have the best day.