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The benefits and curses of 5G

5gEveryone agrees that 5G is a huge step forward! It is going to replace the outdated 4G LTE, providing mobile data transfer speeds of at least 1 Gbps.

This means that people will experience faster download speeds, being able to run data intensive applications, such as modern online games, and stream high-quality movies, without experiencing any hiccups. It also means that business users will benefit from higher quality audio and video calls; they will host videoconference calls that make it possible for hundreds of people to chat and exchange information without getting disconnected.

5G will also allow us to connect a greater number of IoT devices to the Internet. I'm not necessarily talking about speed here, but about devices that will use much less power to connect to the network. Not only that, but this new technology will also allow governments to build a solid infrastructure that will help turn our towns into smart cities.

However, very few mobile data operators can estimate the real speed of their future 5G mobile data packages. Some of them state that we should get at least 1 Gbps, while others boldly claim that data transfer speeds will exceed 500 Gbps. There are several factors that could limit performance, though.

Speed will greatly vary depending on the number of connected devices, for example. While 5G will help mobile operators increase the number of devices that are served by a single cell tenfold, it is important to understand that signal quality, and thus data transfer speeds, can change a lot as you move from one cell towards the other.

Unlike 4G, the 5G technology utilizes three different frequency bands. Surprisingly, the low band spectrum is much slower than LTE, and yet it is heavily marketed as a much-required mobile data upgrade. The mid-band spectrum is somewhat better, providing data transfer speeds which are similar with what we are currently getting with 4G. So, the only worthy upgrade is the 5G high-band spectrum package, also known as mmWave. This version is supposed to be about 20 times faster than LTE and should have a much lower latency.

However, since this technology will operate using a high frequency band, people using it will quickly discover its main weakness: small coverage areas. It is true that service providers are aware of this problem, and want to fix it by adding small cells in-between the existing ones, with the goal of improving the overall area coverage.

Surprisingly, the media doesn't discuss the negative health effects that arise from using so many 5G towers and cells. There are very few studies that highlight the negative effects of the radio frequencies on human health. And yet, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization have published a press release which classified 'radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans', back in 2011!

Other governments seem to take better care of their citizens. France's national laws ban Wi-Fi in nursery schools, for example. The National Radiofrequency Agency maintains a list with places where people are exposed to increased levels of RF radiations, and the operators who fail to comply with the strict rules and regulations are forced to remedy all the problems in less than six months.

Unfortunately, 5G's increased range requires a much bigger radiofrequency power. And to add insult to injury, many people are already exposed to the radiation that is generated by their routers, tablets and cell phones. It's a new technology that can provide substantially increased data transfer speeds, helping build fully functional networks of self-driving vehicles, for example, but 5G radiation will affect people in larger and larger numbers. It has been proven over and over that children are much more sensitive to electromagnetic fields in comparison with adults.

Radio frequencies can corrupt human DNA, leading to autism, cancer and low fertility. Let's hope that governments will balance all these factors before deciding to allow mobile operators to place their 5G antennas everywhere.