As 5G towers go up around the world and more phones come out with 5G capabilities, you may have noticed that some people.. have gone a little crazy.
There’s been a rash of people burning down 5G towers over fears that the towers cause coronavirus, and no, we can’t explain what they’re thinking, either. It’s not exactly new behavior, though. Any time a new technology comes out, there’s almost always a small group that tries to destroy it because of misunderstandings and fear.
This is why it’s so important to get the facts about things like 5G – so we’re listing the other top 5G myths, to clear things up about just how this new data connectivity works. Continue reading to browse all eight myths.
5G Will Replace 4G Entirely
Let’s be clear, 5G is a bundle of new wireless connectivity technologies that provides a massive upgrade to 4G across a broader spectrum of frequencies. If this sounds familiar, it's because that’s basically what 4G was to 3G, except the 5G difference is even more noticeable.
But just as before with the other “G” tech, 5G won’t cancel out 4G just by existing. They even require different hardware to work. So if your smartphone isn’t 5G compatible, that’s fine. Nothing’s going to happen to your 4G connection, at least not until decades from now when it simply becomes obsolete.
5G Is the New Internet Connection for Your Home
The way people talk about 5G, it’s easy to assume that it’s replacing the current wireless internet connection in your home. Not exactly.
First, 5G (usually) has nothing to do with your Wi-Fi network that your router provides in your home (for that, you have to turn to Wi-Fi 6, a completely different upgrade that offers its own set of benefits). Instead, 5G is a long-range data connection just like 4G was, except in this case longer-range and more efficient.
Second, 5G may be great, but even with a limitless data plan it’s not going to replace Wi-Fi inside your house – or inside any building, really. One of 5G’s weaknesses is that the frequencies it uses have trouble penetrating walls. There is a workaround to this called Fixed Wireless Access, but this usually takes the place of the external fiber connection, not your home Wi-Fi. There are 5G solutions that beam 5G to an antenna on your home as a full alternative to Wi-Fi (Verizon calls this 5G Home), but availability is still limited and it's not going to force you to replace your Wi-Fi network for the foreseeable future.
Everything Labeled 5G Is the Real 5G
This is a
complicated issue, made even more complicated by marketing. Remember when we
mentioned that 5G is a bundle of new technologies combined with more space on
the radio spectrum? Well, telecom service providers aren’t upgrading to all of
those technologies at once. Instead, they are incorporating them here and there
as able. In fact, the major providers can – and are – using their 4G towers to
utilize limited aspects of 5G as they create infrastructure for additional
steps, so when a company says it offers “5G” there probably aren’t many new
towers going up at all…at least, not yet.
Then there’s the very problematic marketing. Everyone wants to be the first to say they are offering 5G to get more customers. Whether it’s Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, or whoever, they are using the smallest slivers of 5G technology to claim they’re offering all-new technology and services. AT&T is even worse, outright representing 4G technology as 5G to the point where the National Advertising Review Board recommended they stop misleading customers, something AT&T refused to do.
the upgrade to full 5G technology is going to take a couple years of infrastructure
work, no matter what the telecom companies say. In the meantime, new 5G
benefits will roll out in phases as they are ready.
5G Is Available Everywhere Now
5G towers are primarily going up in cities right now – because that’s where the people and money are. While 5G has enormous potential in rural areas due to its range, it’s going to take time to construct or upgrade towers to provide the service outside of cities. In fact, there are only around 35 cities total where 5G is even available. It could be several years or more before 5G pushes into rural areas.
5G Will Ruin Weather Data and Prediction
There is an
odd myth that’s been spread around, which basically says that 5G will interfere
with all the sensors used to capture weather data in the atmosphere. Here’s the
real deal: Weather sensors can run into problems with interference, poor data
connections, and more. But 5G really doesn’t have anything to do with that,
even with its expanded radio frequencies. Additionally, much of today’s
valuable weather data is captured by weather satellites, which couldn’t care
less about 5G while floating in the upper atmosphere.
However, we will note that some acting directors and meteorologists have indeed claimed 5G will disrupt weather services, with worries about the “water-vapor signal” and other concerns. The problem is that they don’t have any proof for what they’re saying, and they don’t appear to fully understand what they’re talking about. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association has come out against these weather claims to say they are “Wrong on the merits, on the facts, and on the process.” At this point, it’s just another conspiracy theory that people are capitalizing on.
5G Is Being Used to Spy on People
This is another classic case of fearmongering. No, governments aren’t putting any scary tracking technology in 5G towers – they aren’t usually in charge of building the new tower hardware at all. Such spying technology doesn’t really exist, nor makes sense on a fundamental level. The only way to spy on people through mobile devices is through the right software – either software that the provider installs, or through malware that a hacker has installed. Could governments use such software to spy on citizens? Yes, they can and do. But that has absolutely nothing to do with 5G.
Apple Won’t Update to 5G Because It Affects Battery Life
Apple has been very hesitant to include 5G on its iPhones. And yes, a few early 5G prototypes did have problems consuming too much battery life. However, there is no evidence these things are connected. Today’s 5G-ready smartphones have bigger, better batteries specifically made for 5G, so this is no longer an issue. Perhaps Apple doesn’t want to make such batteries. Perhaps the company is waiting for more advanced 5G chipsets. But the problems with battery life have already been addressed and are no longer on the table.
And No, 5G Can’t Cause Cancer, Either
Please, don’t believe any of the health concerns. As we already mentioned, most current 5G services use the same frequencies as 4G, and simply shifting up or down to different radio frequencies does absolutely nothing to the human body. In fact, official studies have been done in places like France that show the efficiency of 5G is, if anything, safer than the 4G we’ve been using for years. It’s not going to give you cancer. It’s not going to melt your brain. It’s not going to summon Cthulhu. Everything
will be fine.