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5G Network, High Speed or High Risks?

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What is 5G?

5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new kind of network that will enhance current mobile broadband services and expand mobile networks to support a vast diversity of devices and services.  Large scale adoption began in 2019 and with speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G is set to be as much as 100 times faster than 4G.

Low latency is a key differentiator between 4G and 5G. Latency is basically the time from when data is sent until it can be used by the receiver. This reduced latency means a mobile device connection could replace your cable modem and Wi-Fi. Additionally, one would be able to download and upload files quickly or watch a 4K video almost straight away without any buffering.

Implications

With the speed and connectivity of 5G coupled with data science and artificial intelligence the possibilities are endless. Some see 5G technology as transformative as the invention of the automobile and airplane. One study also projects that the 5G industry could generate up to $3.5 trillion in overall aggregate revenue by 2035 and create over 20 million jobs. 

Concerns

There was an international appeal to the European Union in 2017 that represented over 180 signatories from scientists representing 35 countries. They cited unproven concerns over the 5G network and the subsequent increase in radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) exposure that would affect the globe.

When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken  to avoid or diminish that harm.

The Precautionary Principle (UNESCO)

Numerous scientific publications have shown that electromagnetic fields (EMF) affect living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages and neurological disorders. This highlights a major concern that with the implementation of 5G network harmful exposure can be widespread before there is sufficiently convincing evidence of harm from long-term exposure and how it is caused.

Conclusion

5G has immerged as a dominant technology for the next stage of high-speed mobile networks. There have been many reservations and conspiracy theories against the technology in recent times. While there is no immediate conclusive proof of adverse health effects, there is also no substantial scientific clarity that it will be safe in the long term.

Sources

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