5G promises internet speeds of up to 10Gb/s, meaning this would allow users to download a full HD movie in a matter of a few seconds. This is significantly faster than the existing 4G technology.
5G offers much more than just higher speeds though. The upgrade from 3G to 4G LTE was about higher internet speeds but 5G offers more due to a combination of speed, responsiveness and reach. Upcoming technologies such as self-driving cars, drones, virtual/augmented reality, will be made possible with the deployment of a 5G network. Many experts say that the biggest benefit of 5G will be the low latency (lag time between device and network) which will allow operations like conducting a surgery remotely or allowing self driving cars to communicate with each other to react to road conditions. These are only some of the things that can be achieved with the introduction of this technology.
Not everyone is looking forward to the implementation of 5G networks however. Many activists argue that the technology is not fully tested and may have a negative health impact on humans.
In order to understand the health implications of 5G internet technology it is important to first understand radio frequency (RF) energy. Radio frequency energy is one form of electromagnetic energy that is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
It falls on the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum and emits non-ionizing radiation – meaning that it has enough energy to vibrate atoms in a molecule but not enough to ionize it. Ionizing radiation is emitted from things like x-rays and gamma rays. Ionizing radiation has the ability to damage cell DNA and thus could cause cancer.
5G uses radio frequency (RF) energy to transmit and receive voice and data, which emits non-ionizing radiation.
Exposure to electromagnetic fields in our everyday life is not new and even though there has been an increase in human made sources of electromagnetic fields over the past century, natural electromagnetic energy has always been around (visible sunlight). With the introduction of 5G, humans will be exposed to electromagnetic energy more than ever before.
In order to create a 5G network, several cell towers are needed to make the connection possible. These cell towers will be deployed much closer to communities and neighborhoods, which has a sparked a fear in local residents. The infrastructure overall will be almost five times larger than what was required for 4G networks, with radio waves being much closer to cities/towns.
Activists state that there is research that shows cellphone radiation affects human health and the technology should not be deployed until further studies are done to ensure it does not harm humans. Martin Pall, a professor of medical sciences at the University of Washington, states:
What we’re doing is destroying our health, we (as a society) are playing around with our very own survival.
The Government of Canada has established RF exposure limits to tackle such concerns. Canada’s laws on RF exposure are also among the strictest in the world. Furthermore, The Government of Canada still monitors the latest research that is conducted in this field to ensure that Canadians are protected from the potential adverse health effects.
Exposure to RF energy as per the Canadian limits is considered safe. The Canadian limits are far lower compared to industry standards and Health Canda incorporated several tiers of precaution into the limits to ensure safety.
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Faraz Mehmood is a Sales and Marketing Coordinator at Triella. We are a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium-sized firms. Faraz can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to our blog page. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Webroot Reseller.
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