Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana.
There are a number of conspiracy theories floating around the internet these days. A year ago, people were claiming that 5G causes cancer, even though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) have determined that there is no connection between brain cancer and mobile phone usage.
Of course that won’t stop the conspiracy theorists from making that claim. In fact, some people are so terrified of 5G towers in the United Kingdom, that they’ve actually starting setting them on fire. The fear comes from yet another conspiracy theory linking 5G technology with the spread of the coronavirus. Again, that claim is completely unfounded and is simply impossible. Radio waves do not cause the spread of viruses (unless it’s a computer virus).
Just because 5G implementation and the spread of coronavirus happen to be occurring at the same the time does not warrant correlation.
In any case, once we get beyond those crazy conspiracies, we should explain what 5G is and how it can benefit users.
5G stands for 5th generation. It is the 5th incarnation of mobile network technology. It was preceded by 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G. 5G is the latest and greatest when it comes to consumer device technology.
It brings ultra-fast internet to the masses, with speeds up to 20 Gbps and much lower latency. 5G is also supports greater capacity and is designed to be more efficient within the allocated radio spectrum.
The biggest problem with 5G is the limited range. I don’t think they have enough real-world experience with the technology to say exactly what the true workable range will be. But some industry experts are saying that fixed 5G service only has a range of 1,500 feet. That’s not very far. I can only see 5G service deployed in an urban area. You will probably never see 5G service in rural areas or small towns. It’s just not financially feasible for wireless carriers to make that investment.
The other problem I see with 5G technology is actually the cell phone companies themselves. Yes, they are rolling out this ultra-fast internet, but who will be able to use it? No carrier has true “unlimited” service for consumers and every one of them has some sort of data cap related to their service. So even if you could download a 4K movie in a couple of seconds, would you be able to do that on a consistent basis? Not with current data plans. Some companies are even testing in-home 5G as an alternative to cable or fiber connections. I can’t see this happening without some sort of concessions from the mobile carriers.