The beauty of 5G network: Myths debunked

Technology Zainab Sulaimon
Today's Focus
5G network
Photo : Dreamstime

In this time and age, communication technologies are indispensable to society at large, With the fifth generation, 5G network being the latest technology, rumours are going around regarding the safety of the 5G networks. As a matter of fact, there are alleged reports stating that 5G is a major cause of Covid-19. Amongst other fallacies is the fear that 5G could lead to a radiation surge. In order to dispel these myths, the 5G network has to be rooted for, making manifest its essential qualities from a layman’s perspective.

5G network and cellular network generations

Across the mobile network generations, deployment of the networks follows a set of wireless networking standards. The networks are also required to deliver a set of performance metrics. From the users’ perspective, transmission speed appears to be the most important performance indicator. Being the latest generation, 5G networks enable significantly higher transmission speeds over the legacy generations (i.e., 1G to 4G). Other prominent features of 5G (over the previous generations) include lower latency/end-to-end delay and support for a larger number of simultaneously connected devices.

With its superfast data transmission, lower latency, and broader support for simultaneous device connections, 5G facilitate faster download times, allowing the streaming of contents with zero delays such that video downloads can be completed in seconds, as against the several minutes or hours usually needed in previous/legacy networks.

Also, 5G transmits data in a different manner than previous network generations because they can’t transmit at the speed with which 5G does. Transmitting differently involves the fact that data is transmitted to and from devices across a specific range of bands and frequencies. These bands and frequencies have certain features that allow data to travel only so fast with a very low amount of latency. 5G surpasses those limitations by using a different, in most cases higher, range of frequencies.

This is because higher frequencies are largely uncrowded and are able to carry more data due to the larger available bandwidth or spectrum. Transmission of data using these higher frequencies varies from one mobile network operator to the other (for example Verizon, T-mobile, AT&T).

Health and Safety

In terms of radiation, it should be noted that it is an unavoidable component that results from wireless technology transmissions. So whether it’s your Bluetooth device, WiFi, 4G, 3G, 2G devices, routers, or even laptops, an individual is in one way or the other exposed to radiation. The ironic thing, however, remains that the volume of exposure to radiation from earlier generation networks is higher than that of 5G because they make use of more watts of energy in their transmissions.

In fact, in the new guidelines for radiation, published in March 2020, 5G networks do not seem to have violated any of those guidelines. The complaints that arise are from the use of devices that radiate higher than what a device, which is originally 5G, would do. It is, therefore, appropriate to say that the 5G network is safe to utilize as there are experts who set the allowable radiation levels which in turn serve as input for wireless engineers and network operators in designing and operating the devices within acceptable and safe radiation levels.

Furthermore, as opposed to the misconception that 5G contributes to the spread of Covid-19, rather it makes working from home very seamless, comfortable, and easy. It is still not logical as to how wireless technology could contribute to the spread of a virus. Preferably, technological modes of transportation and physical contacts should be blamed for that.


In very simple terms, as opposed to the myths flying around, 5G enables faster speeds, requires lower download times, and consumes less energy. Compared to the previous generations (i.e., 1G to 4G), 5G is newer, faster, and even safer. While the deployment of 5G networks has started from around 2019/2020, widespread adoption around the world is expected by 2025. With 5G, the possibility of truly fast connectivity has become a reality!


(Written by Zainab Sulaimon)

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