The rapid spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in several conspiracy theories. In the same rapid manner with which coronavirus is spreading, speculations are linking it with the development of 5G technology via social media. Considering that many people are oblivious of the 5G technology, we will be walking you through what 5G is and whether or not it causes the spread of the disease.
5G is the fifth generation of wireless telecommunication technology supporting cellular data networks. It is a combination of standards that power emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Virtual/Artificial Realities, and Artificial Intelligence. 5G uses high-frequency wavelengths of up to 300 gigahertz, similar to what is broadcast on radio and televisions.
With the new technology, videos will be downloaded in split seconds, and websites will download very fast. Internet lags will be also greatly reduced, with a speed of over 10 gigabits per second. It is expected to outperform other existing generations (1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G) with more data speed.
The first generation of cellular networks was used for voice-only analogue services with a maximum speed of 2.4kbps. Then, 2G had a maximum speed of about 50 kbps and was used for texting, phone calls, and multimedia messages. 3G network provided a maximum speed of 2mbps, does more than 2G but is constrained by movement and proximity to the network source. We now have 4G which supports more complex activities like video streaming at a rate of 100mbps, which is 500 times faster than 3G.
4G, however, fails to penetrate buildings as effectively as the low band spectrum. When using a 4G-enabled network device, you will notice that the farther away from the device, the weaker the connection. 5G will enable us to communicate more efficiently with things. It will fast-track the massive adoption of developing technologies like drones, driverless vehicles, and virtual reality. In a nutshell, 5G will harness all the benefits of major frequency spectrums, provide faster speeds and lower latency.
Unlike other networks, 5G uses cell sites to send encoded messages through radio signals that are measured in millimeter wavelengths. 5G cell sites do not send signals over long distances because millimeter wavelengths are short. This is why 5G uses cell sites and base stations rather than towers and masks. The shorter the millimeter wavelength, the higher the frequency.
Back to the speculations surrounding its connection with coronavirus. Firstly, the global deployment of 5G is still in its infantry stage. It is only currently available in some cities in the US, South Korea, the UK, and Germany. Manufacturers like Samsung, Intel, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia have begun selling 5G-enabled devices in some of these cities.
Secondly, 5G like any other cellular network uses waves that emit radiation. There are concerns about the proximity of 5G stations to residential areas. This is because the cell sites emit radiofrequency radiations that can be dangerous after prolonged exposure.
However, recent studies show that the radiations from mobile networks are non-ionizing and causes no harm to the human body. At present, the WHO state that “To date, no adverse health effects from low-level, long term exposure to radiofrequency or power frequency fields have been confirmed, but scientists are actively continuing to research this area.”
The conspiracy theory that is linking the rapid spread of coronavirus to 5G technology has been in the news lately. Recently in the UK, protesters took to the street to destroy a 70ft cellphone mast in Birmingham. Another fire was set on a 5G tower near Liverpool England. Although both cases are still under investigation, the protests on the street can be blamed on the chitchats online.
It is reasonable to take precatory measures but unreasonable to shut down the technology. Social media platforms like Facebook, Tik Tok, are joining forces to stop users from using their platform to spread misleading conversations. Governments are also setting up regulations for 5G regularization, just like that for any other type of technology.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.