5G: A Cornucopia or a Pandora’s Box

By Admamou Hiba

“Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.”

– Nikola Tesla

There is an obvious digitalization of human life happening right now, smart cities, smart houses, smart toothbrushes, self-driving cars…you name it, everything smart is at the horizon. Wireless technologies thus need more efficient cellular infrastructure. So here comes the fifth generation of communication systems.

5G is predicted to have the smallest latency (the time it takes devices to respond to each other over any wireless network). This new way of processing data is sufficiently fast to download a 2-hour movie in 10 seconds.

5G will also have greater bandwidth. Part of the network operates over a band of frequencies known as SUB6 (from 600 MHz to 6 GHz), also shared by other networks. 5G, on the other hand, can go up to 86 GHz. Besides, it will have a greater capacity, meaning a smoother connection in crowded areas. 

With great capacity and speed, 5G will virtually connect everyone and everything more efficiently than previous networks.

Although its implementation, already beginning in some areas of the world, it’s not welcomed by everyone yet, for it has mainly two drawbacks: health and security.

Because of the higher frequencies it uses, it can’t carry the data loads as far as previous networks, which means there’s a need for a larger amount of cellular tours close to each other so that the signals get effectively transmitted. Hence, the population will be exposed to much more electromagnetic waves, proven to be possibly carcinogenic by the world health organization.

Some even see the 5G as a threat to countries’ security. In other words, whoever controls the 5G has access to all kinds of information. Today, all eyes are on one of its biggest developers, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Huawei had already started building North Korea and Russia’s first 5G networks.

All political interpretations aside, 5G is indeed a mysterious box, filled with opportunities and futuristic technologies, threats, and increased social differences, too.

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