With an increase in remote workers and people sheltering-in-place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, faster internet speeds and quality networks seem like a welcome update. 5G has been in the public eye for a while and mobile service providers teased tech users last year claiming they would be the first to launch their own 5G Network. While it is more widespread now, 5G is still not a universal form of connectivity. Many people believe it may not be fully developed for another year while others believe there are health risks associated with the technology. We have compiled information to explain everything you need to know about the current state of 5G and its future implementation.
What Is 5G?
5G is a network that supports growing technology and its speed and efficiency allow ideas like self-driving cars and networked robots to become a reality. It uses a system of small cell sites to send encoded data through radio waves. The cell sites must be connected to a main network and the overall design is meant to increase bandwidth and increase speed. However, not everyone has access to this level of connection and some older mobile phones will not be capable of using 5G.
Millimeter-wave frequencies and sub-6 GHz are used to spread 5G, but the high frequencies prevent it from penetrating windows or buildings. This means that the networks must be placed close to a 5G node to receive a signal. As some phone service providers are attempting to build out their networks, some are using a GHz signal that travels farther but decreases the speed. On the other hand, while the speed may be slower, data collected from Opensignal found that 5G speeds are still faster than the existing 4G in most big-name phone providers.
Breaking Down 5G Coverage and Availability
AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile all have skin in the 5G game with a number of cities being covered by their current 5G technology. Each is utilizing different types of Millimeter waves, which unfortunately means that some providers may be providing higher speeds than others. At this time there are a limited number of supported devices for this network, and each provider has its own device allowances.
Network Expansion During a Pandemic
A survey from Ericsson found that 5G subscriptions were predicted to reach 190 million by the end of this year and are projected to reach the billions in just the next five years. In the United States, only 34% view 5G as having the ability to positively affect the economy, according to a study from Ansys.
While there is not an overwhelming majority who believe in the economic benefits, there are some concerned consumers who are afraid there may be health risks with this new technology. Some conspiracy theorists think that 5G somehow relates to the COVID-19 virus, but there is no evidence to prove that. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the electromagnetic radiation emitting devices and offers insight into the health risks of 5G.
According to digitaltrends.com, the FDA said that at this time, they believe that the current safety limits for cell phone radiofrequency energy exposure are acceptable for protecting public health. The administration is consistently researching the safety of 5G and at this time, the frequencies used for some 5G networks have already been used in the past for TV broadcasts and data transmissions.
Looking Into the Future of 5G
Aside from the speed and connectivity improvements, many companies plan to use 5G for new innovations like virtual and augmented reality experiences, holograph-assisted surgeries, and self-driving cars. However, the implementation of 5G is still happening on a small scale and the Ansys survey found that 42% of people globally believe fully functioning 5G is still more than a year away.
As networks grow and devices are configured to work with this new technology, life will no doubt be affected. Our digital lives are already so hectic and a jump in capability can offer a whole new set of opportunities. Data will always be a part of the digital world and no matter what type of device you have, there is a chance that your media will break and experience data loss.
At SecureData, we take data security seriously and offer top-rated data recovery service on all media types. Additionally, we offer hardware encrypted data storage to keep your sensitive information safe. Even as the times change, data security remains our number one priority and we adapt to new tech environments with our experienced and dedicated staff. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to learn more about our services and products.