Wireless technology is evolving at a very rapid pace. Approximately every 10 years, a new generation of wireless systems is released that is more advanced than the previous one. The latest cellular network technology is 5G (short for fifth generation), and it is slowly replacing 4G networks all over the world.
So, do we really need 5G?
Yes, we do, because 5G technology comes with a wide range of benefits:
- Low latency – Latency refers to the interval between an action and a response. For example, when you click on the link to a webpage, there is usually a delay before the browser displays that webpage. 5G latency is much lower than that of 4G, thus allowing for real-time connectivity
- Faster speeds – One of the main benefits of this upgraded technology is its super-fast speed. With potential speeds of up to 20Gbps, 5G is about 100 times faster than 4G. This would save consumers many hours in loading time across video/music streaming, gaming and social media sites
- Increased bandwidth – A higher bandwidth means more possibilities and versatility to accomplish much more in less time. 5G networks can support a higher number of devices simultaneously with a faster connection
- Enabling innovation – Higher bandwidth and faster speeds will open doors for technological advances in many industries. While 4G was mainly focused on smartphones, 5G can connect smart devices like AI technology, drones and enhanced sensors in machinery. Industries such as manufacturing, entertainment, retail and healthcare will experience major technological advancements
However, you should also be aware of the downsides of 5G technology. Here are some of them:
- Health concerns – Though no adverse health effects have been linked to 5G, research has shown that electromagnetic energy can cause tissue heating. This is common, especially among older people
- Cybersecurity risks – Just like any other emerging technology, 5G faces a wide range of cybersecurity risks. With more devices connected, there is a higher possibility of attacks from cybercriminals. In addition, the software used to manage the new network is more vulnerable to hackers
- Limited global coverage – A major downside of 5G is that it is only available in specific locations. It will take several years before remote areas have this level of coverage
5G may come with some pitfalls, but the upside seems to outweigh those concerns. 5G is expected to support numerous electronic services and devices including telemedicine, self-driving cars, telesurgery, remote surveillance and virtual reality appliances.
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