The Dangers of 5G
Phones are the facilitators and portal to the future.
In just a little over 30 years, with the invention of the first touchscreen phone by IBM, phones have revolutionized methods of communication. Not only can phones transmit your voice across the continent, but also across the seas to the opposite side of the world. However, communication has not been enough for this day in age as jobs, school, projects, and hobbies become more immersive and demanding. The need for faster, more capable, and more reliable phones is ever increasing.
Every year on Techtober, a common technology enthusiast nickname for the month of the year where big companies reveal new tech, new phones are announced. These phones usually have new cameras, processors, battery sizes, etc. In addition to these new features, one of the biggest and most talked innovations is the standardization of 5G capabilities on the hottest and most premium phones on the market.
With the comings of new technology, there are fears and dangers that arrive. In order to understand what possible dangers 5G could have on its users, one must first understand how it works by dipping your toes into the pool of science behind it. The way phones send and receive signal and communications is by sending and receiving information from cell towers. The towers are equipped with a series of directional antennas. These directional antennas broadcast radio waves to the surrounding area which are picked up by your phone via antennas, strategically placed on the outside of your phone to better receive signal. The signal strength indicator on your phone shows the number of bars depending on how well the antennas on your phone can pick up the signals from the antenna towers.
A cell tower can broadcast anything from LTE signals to 3G and 4G signals. The type of signal that your phone receives depends on many factors. One of the biggest factors that determines which signal your phone decides to pick up is the signal strength. Signal strength may vary based on your surroundings, which is why cell towers broadcast many different forms of signals. To understand which signals are better for different environments, think of the signals as waves in the ocean. Let’s say for example you are on a boat in the ocean. The 3G signals, in this example, are like big waves hitting the sides of the boat; the frequency, or the number of waves in a given amount of time, of the big waves that hit the boat are few.
However, these waves are big enough to move on past the boat. The waves continue on their way to the shore of the coast. 3G waves are good at long distance signals and can travel through objects like brick and wood, this however gives them the weakness of sending data at a slow rate.
As we move up the spectrum of cell phone waves, we get to 4G. 4G waves are like the ripples on a lake; there are many ripples meaning a higher frequency. Although the ripples are much more frequent, the waves are also smaller. 4G waves are less likely to travel through thicker objects like walls in your house and wooden beams.
Very much like 4G, 5G has a high wave frequency, but small wave size. The frequency of the wave allows for it to transfer data at speeds faster than 4G, allowing its users to stream movies and shows at high quality almost effortlessly. The downside is that it gets blocked very easily by objects, such as your skin even.
Now that you know the basics about what cell tower waves are and their weaknesses, the possible effects can be analyzed. Like described earlier, the smaller the waves, the easier they are to block and redirect. That is why you may notice that when you are indoors your cell service will drop at times because of the metal and wooden materials that the building is made of.
The new 5G waves in particular, have a much higher frequency and smaller wave length that the previous 4G. These waves have trouble going through walls and even your skin. With the rise of new technology, fear of the unknown is normal. However, the number of restrictions that the technology has to comply with is for the health of the public. For it to become commercially available, it must get approved by passing through a series of test and compliances to minimize and nullify any adverse effects.
The fifth generation of cell communication has been proven to be perfectly safe and therefore not a risk to its users.