Everything You Need to Know About 5G: Pros and Cons
Here’s the million dollar question: What is 5G? We’re all aware that it 5G the newest advancement to modern-day cellphones; however, beyond that, not many people know what they’re signing up for when they upgrade their data packages.
5G is the fifth generation of technology standards that phone companies had begun deploying in 2019. Throughout this blog you’ll learn our 5 (G)reat Pros and 5 (G)loomy Cons to help you wrap your head around your new upgrade. Here’s everything you need to know about 5G:
Five (G)reat Pros:
1. Greater Bandwidth
The big selling point about the new 5G networks is that they are equipped with a greater bandwidth, which means that we will have access to higher download speeds. This innovation is not just limited to celephones, but also Internet service providers, meaning we could be seeing laptops or PC’s run solely off of 5G instead of cable Internet!
2. Can Support a Million Devices
Instead of a measly 100,000 devices supported per square kilometer (about 1.08 square feet) 5G supports up to a million devices. This would be a great time to consider upgrading technology around the house and here is a great article to figure out where you should start!
3. 4G LTE Compatible
If you’re not ready to fully transition to 5G, you’re in luck: devices with 5G capabilities still work with their predecessors and are backwards compatible with 4G LTE. Since 5G is still a new technology, 4G is still used to establish initial connections, especially in areas where 5G is not yet available. Don’t worry, we’ll explain more in the cons section below.
4. Potentially Strong Enough To Replace Telephone Wire
If you ever thought that telephone wires hanging over the streets were an eye sore, then you’ll be happy to know that 5G is strong enough to make the old school wiring method obsolete. The plan is to replace SDI cables currently used to broadcast television.
5. Does Not Affect Your Health
Contrary to recent debates, 5G technology does not have the ability to make someone sick. This chain of rumors came to be when the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns coincided with the official announcements of 5G being widely available to the public. Fears of radio wave frequencies reoccur when debating to upgrade technology, but there have been no recorded instances of radio waves affecting one's health in any way whatsoever.
Five (G)loomy Cons:
1. Smaller Cells Means Shorter Range
In order to accommodate a higher frequency range of radio waves, 5G networks require many more smaller cells to make up the difference of previous generations’ frequencies. In short, to make sure service reaches you, frequencies for 5G have been divided into three different band widths that differ depending on location. Here’s an in-depth article that explains cells and band width is greater detail.
2. Not Cost Effective
Operating 5G comes at a much higher cost than any other cell network upgrade to date! At this time, carriers plan to have 5G available in more densely-packed urban areas where people meet in large groups; this includes such places as industrial cities, stadiums, or convention centers.
3. Cannot Pass Through Walls
The traditional antenna we use now produces microwaves that are extremely effective reaching the user. They can pass through walls and windows without being obstructed. 5G, however, uses millimeter waves, which is very effective, since the antennas only need to be a few inches in diameter to work.
The downside is that millimeter waves cannot pass through walls and windows as efficiently at this time.
4. Unknown Environmental Impact
Instead of just using the cellphone towers we already have in place, 5G is going to need their own towers built to replace the old towers. Not to mention we are going to need more of them if they are going to reach people outside of cities or even within our own homes. This will be a lot of material that can hopefully be recycled using the old towers, but that is why it will be a slow process towards integrating 5G into our daily lives.
5. 5G Evolution is Not 5G
You’ve heard ads for AT&T using the term “5G Evolution” and probably thought it was the next step up from 5G, without thinking, “How is that possible?” Well, it isn’t: 5G isn’t that cut and dry! Since 5G still relies heavily on the back of 4G, 5G Evolution is an enhanced and slightly more effective 4G LTE. It runs slightly faster but, by their own confession, AT&T states it’s only a “foundation for our evolution to 5G while the 5G standards are being finalized.”
5G Towers Aren’t Rushing, So Neither Should You
The use of 5G technology is the next step in improving and learning about what makes cell phones essential to everyday life. It will continue to make our lives easier than ever before due to the pure strength of 4G devices at the moment. There will be plenty of advantages and downsides to developing this network further, but at the time being, you don’t need to rush into having the shiniest new toy. When 5G has some footing, it should make communicating on technology more intuitive and smooth than ever before.
Now you know everything you need to about 5G, so, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.