2020 was quite a whirlwind of a year, with so many massive events packed into it that some got overshadowed by others. One event that occurred was the rumor that Covid-19 was spread through 5G, and some youths took it upon themselves to burn down 5G towers around the country. Of course, this isn’t remotely true, though it did circulate long after all the fires were put out. So let’s look at some interesting facts about 5g to debunk these myths around it.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation in cellular broadband (it is the newest generation in mobile networks). In somewhat simpler terms, this is what we have to thank for our fast wireless connections, if you’re able to stream videos whilst on the move, it is thanks to the networks such as 5G/4G. 5G was first released in 2019, and slowly more companies started incorporating it, such as phone companies. Now, most phone providers will have 5G as part of their mobile contracts as it is the best available thing on the market, and what most consumers expect.
What does it do?
It is a superfast wireless connection that allows for more users to be on the network at once, without it being overloaded and shutting down, which is why most people see it as an expectation from phone providers now. 5G is said to be able to support 100x as many users as its predecessor, 4G, and it is also possibly more energy efficient than other generations before it, but that is still a theory as of yet, and we will be able to see the results of this as time goes on.
The downfalls of 5G
As with everything, 5G does come with its own downfalls and limitations. For one, you have to be in the range of a tower to be able to use 5G, and once you leave that range you no longer have that connection. This means you will go back to using 4G, which although it is fast, is not as good as 5G is. And the range that you have to be within these towers is quite small, meaning in order to have 5G available everywhere, the signal will either need to be boosted, or there will need to be a lot more towers erected. And, due to how powerful 5G is, phones that are using it will see a massive drain in their battery as the device tries to keep up with the data.
What conspiracies are there?
The conspiracy of 5G causing health problems started long before Covid-19 was even a thing. Way back in the nineties (thirty years ago, can you believe that?) critics claimed that the airwaves from 2G could cause cancer. This is of course, not backed by any scientific evidence, the same as the claim that 5G caused the spread of coronavirus. But skepticism of new technology has continued throughout the years, to the point where all it took is some media coverage for young adults to decide to take it upon themselves to burn down 5G towers.
Relating to this is the idea that 5G could kill birds and plants. This claim came about through pure coincidence as in two areas where they were trialing 5G there was a group of birds found dead. This was later revealed to be due to some form of collision, either with each other or a bird of prey, as they were known to be in their areas also. In some countries where trees were felled to make room for the new towers, critics claimed this was actually so that people wouldn’t be able to see the harm that 5G could do to them. Again, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up this claim.
Another conspiracy is the idea that viruses’ can communicate through radio airwaves. This is due to a scientific study published in 2011 that suggested that some bacteria can produce electromagnetic signals to communicate with one another. This paper was never accepted within the scientific community and is still debated today, but some people linked this to the spread of coronavirus and the new use of 5G. However, coronavirus, is a virus, and that in itself is different from bacteria so even if the study was true, the results of it would not apply to the pandemic.
And there you have it, that is all 5G is, a really good wireless connection that we use daily. None of the conspiracy theories surrounding 5G have been proven, they are all highly speculative and not to be taken seriously.