What is 5G?
5G stands for 5th Generation of wireless networks and marks the next stage in the evolution of wireless telecommunication. You're probably familiar with 3G (3rd Generation) and 4G (4th Generation) which is what most phones and other wireless devices connect to at the moment when there is no WiFi connection available.
5G does NOT stand for 5GHz which you might see occasionally on WiFi networks. WiFi routers usually operate at either 2.4 GHz frequency or 5.8GHz frequency.
At the moment, our wireless devices typically use frequencies within the 50MHz - 6GHz range to connect, most commnly between 700MHz and 3GHz. 5G is being introduced because the section of the radio frequency spectrum currently being used by 3G and 4G (and their predecessors 1G and 2G) is becoming overcrowded and soon will not be able to support the increasing number of devices needing a connection.
Why do we need 5G?
The number of mobile phones and other smart devices is only set to increase and the current networks will not be able to cope with the increased demand for connectivity as there is only so much data that can fit onto the same amount of radio frequency spectrum.
The current networks, including 3G and 4G are also struggling to keep up with the demands of emerging technologies such as virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous cars. These technologies require faster speeds, more bandwidth and decreased lag-time. It is estimated that 5G could have data transfer rates of up to 10GB per second and could make internet speed up to 100 times faster than the current 4G networks can support.
How will 5G work?
5G will use the segments of the radio frequency spectrum currently not being used by the 3G and 4G networks. In addition to using frequency ranges between 600MHz and 7.1GHz, the industry wants to use higher frequencies, also known as millimeter waves (MMW) which start around 24 - 30GHz with some reports estimating they may go as high as 300GHz.
This frequency range is essentially 'empty space' on the radio frequency spectrum so carriers will have significantly increased bandwidth to support more devices and technology. However, there is a catch: millimeter waves are higher frequencies with shorter wavelengths and these shorter wavelengths are unable to travel as far or travel through objects or buildings, plus they can be absorbed by trees and rain.
To combat this, rather than having a few large mobile phone towers which can transmit a signal over a large distance, the 5G network will have to include the installation of thousands of small cell antennae which will be placed on buildings, street signs and lamp posts, on every street corner close to where people live, work and go to school.
Watch this video to understand more about how 5G will work.
Should I be concerned about 5G?
From a public health point of view, there are reasons to be concerned about 5G technology. There has been a lot of research to indicate that exposure - particlarly long-term exposure - to EMF emitted by smart technology is harmful to our health. We are already just starting to understand the long-term health effects of our current set-up with 4G and WiFi which the World Health Organisation has already classified as 'possibly carcinogenic.'
Visit our EMF Research page for more in-depth information on studies into EMF effects on health.
One way we know to reduce our exposure to EMF is to keep our distance from the EMF source. With the introduction of 5G's small cell antenna network on virtually every street corner, keeping our distance from a powerful EMF emitting device will be all but impossible, particularly in major cities. This is of particular concern when you consider the findings of this study into cancer rates of people living close to a mobile phone tower. The study concluded that "the proportion of newly developing cancer cases was significantly higher among those patients who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400 metres from the cellular tramsitter site"
Of course, 5G will be in addition to the current 3G and 4G networks so is increasing the EMF levels that the general public is exposed to. Research so far into 5G has shown how millimeter waves might affect our skin, nervous system and sweat glands. For further reading on the health effects of 5G visit the EHTrust.org website.
Has there been any safety testing on 5G?
No, not by the telecommunications industry and the regulators. In fact, in February 2019 in the US, during a Senate Commerce hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal raised concerns about 5G's potential health risks. Addressing wireless industry representatives, Blumenthal asked whether they have supported research on the safety of 5G technology and potential links between radiofrequency and cancer. The industry representatives conceded they have not and Senator Blumenthal concluded that "we are flying blind here on health and safety."
Watch the video of the Senate Commerce hearing here.
The Australian government agency responsible for radiation protection, ARPANSA, states that the "operating frequencies of the 5G network are included within the limits set by the ARPANSA safety standard". These safety standards are based on the standards set in 1996 by ICNRIP, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Many EMF health experts, in light of recent research findings have described as these standards as "not protective given the science now established. ICNIRP guidelines set exposure standards for high-intensity, short-term tissue heating thresholds. considered not applicable for the long-term, low intensity chronic exposures we typically experience today."
ARPANSA also says on its website that Assistant Director of ARPANSA's Assessment and Advice Section, Dr Ken Karipidis "acknowledges that there are gaps on this knowledge that require further research . . . The recommendations include research for frequencies above 6GHz and for emerging technologies that use them like 5G."
When will 5G be launched in Australia?
5G networks are already well underway by two of the main carriers in Australia. Optus has already announced its 5G Home Broadband package which it will roll out to customers in selected suburbs this year and they are aiming to deliver 1,200 5G sites at selected locations around Australia by March 2020. Likewise, Telstra has committed to connecting all major capital cities and regional areas to 5G by the end of 2019.
Vodafone are also set to roll out their 5G coverage in 2020 and we can likely expect the first 5G-enabled mobile phones to hit the Australia market this year. Samsung has already announced its partnership with Telstra to launch Australia's first 5G phone.
What can I do to protect myself from 5G?
You can join tens of thousands of other concerned citizens, scientists, doctors and environmental organisations from around the world and sign the 5G Space Appeal which calls upon the UN, WHO, EU, Council of Europe and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G until more rigorous safety testing has been done.
This appeal follows a 5G Appeal already sent to the United Nations in 2017 by a group of over 250 scientists and doctors in which they called for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G: " We the undersigned scientists and doctors recommedn a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation, 5G for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry. 5G will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequencu electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc for telecommunications already in place. RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment"
On a more local level, you can appeal to your local council as well as Federal Agencies to halt the roll-out of 5G, much like this couple did when small cell antennae were installed without consultation outside of their home in the surburb of Ryde, Sydney.
Also consider an EMF protection device like Blushield which helps to protect you from the harmful biological effects of all EMF including 5G. Blushield emits its own frequency based on natural scalar frequencies. Scalar energy is found in nature and is therefore a frequency that our body has eveolved with and can understand. When the body resonates with Blushield's natural scalar frequencies it can ignore or over-ride the powerful man-made electromagnetic frequencies from all EMF including 5G millimetre waves. This helps to protect our body at a cellular level from the negative imapcts of EMF.
You can also continue reducing your exposure to EMF in the usual ways including limiting time spent on your mobile phone, turning devices onto Airplane Mode whenever possible, keeping devices out of your bedroom, keeping your devices away from your body, using a mobile phone protection case like the SafeSleeve anti-radiation cases, using an AirTube headset when talking or listening to music on your phone.
To keep up to date about 5G and discover ways to reduce your EMF exposure, sign up to our weekly newsletter or give us a call on 1300 832 326.