As society grows and evolves, so does its need for cellular data and communication. Today, families can download movies in a matter of minutes for quick entertainment using broadband cable connectivity. But soon, with the help of newly developed 5G technology, downloading the latest action-packed flick will take seconds.
The fifth generation of mobile won’t just bring data to users faster and more efficiently—it will also allow more devices to communicate at the same time. Exponential improvements in self-driving car technology, remote manufacturing, and even surgery capabilities are already on the horizon, and smart cities will become the norm. All thanks to 5G technology.
But as technology develops, so do the concerns about development, safety, and the unknown. And those concerns generate rumors and myths that obscure where the tech is really heading. Read on to learn more about five common myths of 5G.
Myth 1: 5G Is Only About Download Time
Of course, the idea of higher download speeds gets people excited about 5G technology. But on top of the rapid signal, lower latency—a shorter response time between the data sender and receiver—is also a huge benefit to 5G as well. Improvements to latency are what will really set this tech apart, especially for activities that need near-real-time responses, such as remote surgery or gaming.
Myth 2: 5G Will Give You Cancer
Contrary to what some publications have said, there is little to no hard evidence linking cellular networks to cancer in humans. In fact, most cellular frequencies—including 5G—stay safely in the non-ionizing end of the frequency spectrum. Further, it’s likely that 5G devices will be held to the same safety standards as existing 4G LTE and Wi-Fi products by organizations like the FCC.
Myth 3: Cell Phone Companies Will Lead 5G Innovation
While a few major cell providers, including Verizon, already offer 5G in limited areas, the smartphone industry won’t be leading the way when it comes to innovation—at least not alone. Some of the emerging industries that could lead the way are the manufacturing and automobile industries. 5G could allow smart-driving cars to sync with each other to optimize traffic safety and eliminate unnecessary accidents, for example, or better streamline warehouse and factory processes. It’s far from a mobile-only tech.
Myth 4: 5G Will Be an Instant Revolution
While 3G technology emergence exploded thanks to the arrival of smartphones, the adoption of 5G technology will take time. Massive investments will need to be made to have fully functioning 5G coverage—Bloomberg estimated in late 2017 that it would take $200 billion a year in research and capital spending. The launch of 5G is more of a marathon than a sprint.
Myth 5: 5G Will Completely Replace 4G LTE
As stated above, the cost of deployment for 5G is extremely high. 4G LTE connectivity will continue to grow as the 5G infrastructure is put into place. In fact, continued 4G support and other internet connections will be more important than ever before, because it could be years before 4G disappears from usage entirely. Rural areas especially won’t require the low-latency tech immediately, so deployment to these zones will likely remain on 4G technology for some time.
This isn’t to say that 5G is without potential faults. As with any foray into uncharted waters, there are some valid concerns, specifically around security and regulation. However, the slow rollout should give governing bodies and developers at least some time to address potential issues.
When the changes do come, they’re going to be big—CNN has already hailed 5G as “the lifeblood of the new economy,” so there’s no doubt that countries are planning carefully to avoid costly mistakes. And with so much riding on this new technology, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.