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Everything You Need To Know About 5G Technology

Photo by Network Computing

Photo by Network Computing

The rapid evolution of mobile technology in the past decade has been impressive and sometimes even hard to keep up with. In just a couple of years, we made the jump from 3G to 4G LTE to navigate the web at incredibly fast speeds, and things are about to get even faster as developers are already working on the next big step: 5G technology.

Most of the updates coming with 5G technology are things that are difficult to understand for most of us, but as Michael Nunez of LifeHacker puts it, “5G will be like upgrading your data connection from a garden hose to a fire hose.”

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant features of 5G will be faster download speeds. Currently, on 4G LTE networks, the download speed is one gigabit per second, which means if you want to download an HD movie such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, you’re going to have to wait about an hour. With 5G, download speeds will increase up to 10 gigabits per second, which means you’ll be able to download that same HD movie in a matter of seconds. With 5G you can have Fantastic Beasts before you can say Accio!

Another important upgrade coming with 5G will be better coverage and easier access to wireless networks. Most users nowadays rarely experience full download speeds due to lack of coverage or mobile signal being disrupted by a lot of things in the environment. 5G networks will aim to improve coverage and access so users will be able to experience download speeds at full capacity at any given time.

So, this sounds great, right? You have faster data connection, faster internet, and faster downloads. What could go wrong? Well, you should never ask that.

According to the LA Times, 5G has brought up new questions about health risks from radiation emitted by cellphones and transmitters that carry the signal. While this has been a concern for many years, current technology does not have the reach and prevalence that 5G will have. Think about it – wireless networks are now used in smart cars, smart TVs, and even smart fridges.  By the time 5G becomes available, the number of “smart” devices will only have increased, becoming an ever-present part of our everyday lives.

Research is currently being done to examine any possible risks associated with new wireless technology, but early results haven’t been very optimistic.

A recent study conducted by The National Toxicology Program showed a small increase in tumors in rats when exposed to cell phone radiation while 5G was being tested. The test included nine hours of radiation a day (sounds about right – how much of our days do we spend on our phones or other devices?) in 10 minute intervals for two years. After the tests, researchers found that rare brain and heart tumors had formed in the rats when exposed to federally allowed levels of cellphone radiation. In other words, even radiation levels that have been deemed to be safe could carry a potential risk.

However, this is just one study out of many that are currently being conducted before 5G is available, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. As Dr. Leeka Kheifets, professor of epidemiology at UCLA said, “I don’t think it’s clear that there are health risks, but it’s also not clear that there are no health risks.”

Even with these worries, 5G is not something to think about –or even get too excited about—anytime soon. It looks as though the technology is still in the relative starting stages, and will not be available until at least 2020.

 

By Molly Tracy


0 0 272 16 May, 2017 Articles, Lifestyle, Other May 16, 2017

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