5G: The Good and the Bad

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Major international airlines including Emirates, Japan Airlines, and ANA canceled flights into the US due to concerns about 5G deployments that were planned for January 19th.

Flights resumed by Thursday afternoon after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved commercial flights to perform low-visibility landings.

Commercial airlines were concerned that the radio frequencies that power 5G technology would impact landing.

5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is the new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Fifth-generation technology enables a new type of network that allows connectivity to more devices faster and more efficiently. 

We will give a brief overview of this technology, and some pros and cons of the high-speed wireless service. 

What is 5G?

Fifth-generation wireless is engineered to greatly increase download speeds, lower latency (that annoying buffering on YouTube videos), and more capacity and connectivity to more devices – from iPhones to smart refrigerators.

Wireless networks are divided into sectors that send data through radio waves. Fourth generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is the foundation for 5G. While 4G requires high-powered cell towers to send signals over long distances, 5G wireless signals can be sent in smaller places like light poles or building roofs.

5G can transmit a ton of data over shorter distances than 4G LTE. This helps the speed and consistency of the connection and the network itself – even when in motion.

2022 will be a huge year for 5G. The hope is that 5G will allow little to no wait times, and users have near-instant access to cloud services, shopping, and real-time video.

5G worldwide connections

Currently, 5G isn’t much faster than 4G on the same radio channels. Instead, 5G allows phones to use much wider channels across more frequencies. For the speed to increase, phone carriers and the FCC must make wider channels more available.

So far, the rollout has not been great, with many users not noticing the difference between the new technology and 4G LTE. In some cases, network speed is practically identical. 

Phone carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile complicate things by showing 5G icons in places that aren’t even using 5G, making it harder to tell the difference. 

Positives of 5G

The obvious selling point on fifth-generation would be the high speeds. 5G is designed to deliver data rates as high as 20 Gbps. Speeds that high can greatly increase performance for services like automation, advanced web conferences, and more. 

5G is a lot more responsive than 4G LTE with lower latency, which is the time takes for a device to communicate with the Internet. Since 5G devices can talk to the Internet faster, movies, games, and applications will load faster.

Fifth-generation wireless consumes less power than the other standards. 5G can switch to the low-energy mode when cellular radios are not in use. 

5G means battery-powered devices can stay active and connected with fewer tune-ups, permitting new completely wireless uses in remote, inconvenient, or hard-to-reach areas.

Fiber network 5G setup

Negatives of 5G

Airlines are skeptical of flying their planes through 5G networks because of a radio wave technology known as “C-band”. The C-band is all frequencies between 4 and 8GHz. C-band technology has been around and was originally used for satellite TV in the 1970s. 

C-band technology can be picked up by radio altimeters, which judge airplanes’ distance from the ground when trying to land. 

This is just one way 5G can impact an industry, but there are many other negatives of this technology that could have long-term effects.

Development of fifth-generation technology will cost a lot. Keeping the network fast will require a lot of ongoing maintenance, and it’s likely the customers will help pay for that. 

One of the immediate concerns of 5G is cybersecurity. The added speeds will make it easier for hackers to breach networks. 5G allows for connectivity to a multitude of devices. Unfortunately, not all these devices are built with great security. 

Smart TVs, door locks, refrigerators, speakers, and more all have their levels of network security. With 5G speeds, the weakest link will be exposed first. Certain devices are more vulnerable to DDoS attacks, Man-in-the-Middle attacks, or botnet attacks. 

AI robot internet of things

Wrapping Up – How Do I Get Ready?

We may not be able to control when powerhouse companies like AT&T or Verizon decide to just build towers. A great starting point is to make security and privacy a priority.

Use a solid anti-virus solution on your machine. VPNs make it harder for hackers to spy on your online activity. 

Practice strong password security. Ideally, there should be a unique password for each account and these passwords need to be lengthy– anywhere between 12 and 16 characters should do. A secure password should include numbers and symbols, upper and lower-case characters.

Any device that connects to the Internet, Bluetooth, or other data radio should have the latest updates. Updates contain security patches that can keep your devices protected.

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