"5G" is the next generation - the fifth generation - of wireless networks., or eventually have to adopt, depending on your appetite for innovation versus . 5G networks will bring us on phones: Critical improvements like , intelligent power consumption, high device density and network slicing make it a breakthrough -- who just want to know what it will do for them. In our explainer video above, we lay out 5G from promise to perceived perils.
In a nutshell, 5G will dramatically improve the responsiveness of all the current technologies on your phone, as well as make it possible for your home internet to rather than a telephone wire, cable or satellite dish. Later it will make possible new experiences that are still fringe, like augmented reality that works well anywhere, smart cities that are safer, cleaner and more efficient, and a .
Forget about archaic examples like "downloading a full-length movie in seconds" and move your expectations to a world that is more responsive, transparent and anticipatory. That may sound nebulous, but it is 5G's true opportunity.
To get there you will need to replace everything you currently own that accesses a cellular network, as the. That means over the next few years, making it clear why carriers and device makers are pretty excited about 5G. But you should be, too, as this will be the first cellular data technology that can revolutionize not just your phone, but your life.
Which brings us to 5G's biggest enemy: 4G, which fares well in most consumer opinion polls. We don't seem to have the same burning interest in the moving to the next "G" that we did before 4G. As a result, 5G's benefits will need to be shown, not just described in technical terms.
Along the way, carriers and regulators will have to win over, or at least mollify, a fair number ofdue to its microwave spectrum radiation. But concerns about cellular radiation aren't new: There is in general, let alone the 5G variant of it.
, but so does anything using 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The point of contention is whether 5G's number of antennas, proximity of antennas and the power levels coming from them make it hazardous. Conventional scientific wisdom has long held that radio waves don't become dangerous to our bodies' cells, or "ionizing," until they reach frequencies found in X-rays, gamma rays and light from the sun. Even the highest 5G frequencies sit far below those types of radiation and are, therefore, considered safe or "nonionizing."
That doesn't prevent doubters in a number of US towns and cities from worrying about what we don't know about 5G, but the FCC has final say on cellular towers and waves in the US and "preempts local decisions premised directly or indirectly on the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions, assuming that the provider is in compliance with the Commission's RF rules."
The bottom line on 5G safety is that the safety of cellular networks in general has been in dispute since at least the early '90s, as well as that of radiation from power lines, which are of extremely low frequency. Anything with the word "radiation" attached to it is going to come in for fearsome speculation.
Impediments to 5G's rollout are far fewer than theand by early 2021 we should see a tipping point that makes 5G the new standard.
Originally published last week.