As with many other technological improvements, 5G is here, and it will do it to stay, beyond the technology wars between China and the United States. The implementation of the fifth-generation mobile network will change the way we communicate, multiply the capacity of the information highways and allow everyday objects, from the fridge to cars, to connect (with us and with each other) in real-time. Its deployment represents an authentic technological revolution that will allow, for example, to carry out tele-assisted surgical interventions, such as the one recently carried out in Barcelona, deploy new fleets of autonomous vehicles, and coordinate agricultural work through sensors installed at different points in a field.
But what exactly is 5G?
The name 5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile networks that we know. Gone is the old 1G network, that of those first mobile phones that only allowed talking. 2G technology introduced SMS, and little by little our ‘smartphone’ became an increasingly comprehensive communication tool. First, the Internet connection (3G) was incorporated and then broadband (4G) arrived, which brought with it the reproduction of videos in real-time (streaming) or augmented reality, something to which we are already very used, but which a few years ago they were completely unviable.
How 5G will change the world
The most significant advance will come from the hand of speed. 5G will allow browsing up to 10 GBps (gigabytes per second), 10 times faster than the main fiber optic offerings on the market. At that rate, you can, for example, download a complete movie in a matter of seconds.
Additionally, latency (the response time of the network) will also experience a significant advance. According to the operators, this could be reduced to 5 milliseconds, an almost imperceptible period for humans, which will allow us to connect practically in real-time. This data is especially important, for example, to minimize the response time of an autonomous vehicle in order to improve the safety of both the occupants and any pedestrian around it.
Thanks to this new technology, we can, for example, exponentially increase the number of connected devices. Vehicles, industrial robots, urban furniture (speed bumps, road, bus stops), or any electronic device that we have at home (from the alarm to the washing machine, the refrigerator, or the robot vacuum cleaner) will be able to connect and share information in real-time.
Is 5G dangerous?
The WHO classified wireless technology as carcinogenic level 2B, very generic cataloging that, according to the health organization itself, refers to compounds “possibly carcinogenic to humans, that is, when a causal association is considered credible, but chance, bias, or confounding cannot be ruled out with reasonable confidence, “a category that includes substances that are regarded as mildly harmful, such as coffee.
“Studies to date do not indicate that environmental exposure to RF (radio frequency) fields increases the risk of cancer or any other disease,” says the WHO.
However, despite the WHO has stated that “the studies carried out to date do not indicate that environmental exposure to RF (radio frequency) fields increases the risk of cancer or any other disease”, certain organizations warn of the potential health hazards of mobile phone waves. For example, the NGO Ecologistas en Acción recently issued a statement in which it warned that the implementation of 5G had been carried out “without evaluating its possible health and environmental effects, despite the strong and numerous scientific calls to apply the principle precautionary”.