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Thread: 5G

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    5G

    What is it, exactly?

    Is it dangerous? Do we need to worry in any way about its roll-out? If there are risks, if we don't get a 5G-compatible phone, are we safe, even if it's available in our area?


    ETA: If it's safe for humans, does it mean it's safe for wildlife, like bees and birds?

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    I honestly don't know what to think. I have heard its environmentally unsound and dangerous to humans and animals. I have heard communities are cutting down trees wholesale to implement it--but these are all rumors, so who knows.

    I find this kind of thing a whole lot scarier than the Coronavirus.

  3. #3
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    Why do we need it? What good will it do? I know it interferes with weather forcasts. Is 5g actually more important? Yea fine this will be regarded as extreme not wanting (or wanting implemented as a society) every piece of junk someone can shove down our throats to make a profit.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    5G is a wireless-transmission technology (primarily for mobile devices like phones, tablets, anything that can accommodate what we now call a "cellular modem"). "5G" itself is a marketing term, just as "HSPA", "GSM", and "4G" identified different transmission technologies. 5G offers the promise of enough bandwidth to service uses that currently are not tenable on cellular data, like streaming multiple high-definition videos or serving as Internet access for an entire family (rather than accomplishing that with hacks which usually run against the cellular-service TOS).

    What good will it do? Faster data transmission between computers is always good (at least in theory), particularly as networked computers offer humans a degree of utility that standalone computers or asynchronous communcation cannot. Argue if you will about the value of sharing cute cat videos in less time but if the same technology offers faster and more accurate information about, say, traffic or weather, or better pictures of a scientific phenomenon, it has a value.

    Do we need it? No. But we didn't "need" anything faster than GSM or CDMA and yet no one I know will give up what they have for a "slower" phone or tablet. Similarly, do we "need" a speed limit of 80 mph on some highways? You can get there at 55 or even 35, all of which are safer speeds. Yet few will give up 80 mph for 35 despite the safety margin.

    The big issues with 5G, to my mind are:
    - the technology being oversold. There still are good-sized chunks of this country where even 3G data service is not utility-grade. Not that it couldn't be; there's no technological limit as such to making any "G" pervasive given enough towers and cells. The question is whether customers would pay what it costs to supply West Overshoe, Nebraska, many miles from the Interstate, with current cellular technology. Then there is the labeling of data "speeds" as 5G even if they aren't actually using that transmission technology. The term "4G" in particular was abused by being associated with technologies which were superior to 3G but did not fully meet the 4G standard. Marketers are going to push the envelope. As data use increases, I'm skeptical that 5G will compete with terrestrial Internet access on a megabytes-per-dollar basis.
    - the same issues that are associated with any other electrical or communication technology. There is a fair amount of NIMBY connected even to high-voltage electric power lines and wind turbines, never mind radio waves. Studies both confirm and deny links between exposure to these technologies and additional risk of illnesses. The same can be said of solar cells. Or carbohydrates in food.

    There's a ton of bad science and bad reporting being done in the service of particular agendas and an interesting reckoning of costs versus benefits. I've read that some weather instruments are interfered with by transmissions at the edge of the 5G spectrum. I've read less about what could be done to mitigate that short of bringing the entire 5G train to a halt. Does the spectrum need to be trimmed? The power of transmissions at the edges pulled back? Do weather devices need more "hardening" against 5G and future (or other) radio wave generators (like weapons) -- that we're just finding out now that we should have built weather instruments better than we have?

    It's sensational to announce that 5G is being rolled out with minimal studies of its effect on humans; truth is, 4G and 3G were rolled out in similar fashion. Studies of environmental variables in humans are very difficult to conduct, never mind reproduce. It may be entirely true that 5G radio waves cause problems with humans, but tying 5G to the cause (instead of toxic chemicals to which we are exposed daily [some of which we don't know now are toxic]) will be difficult and will take years to identify and confirm. If 5G can help provide, say, better telemetry for long-distance medicine or better traffic information, are more lives saved (or at least improved) by its presence as opposed to possible effects that may occur with or without the catalyst of other environmental factors? I'll grant that the current pro-business/anti-science environment does not help those who want more study, but it's easy to want more study and difficult to execute meaningful study. In the meantime, 5G will be one more in a decades-long line of technologies which were introduced without a full understanding of its effects. Personally, I see no reason to stop it on that basis.
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    I'm not anti-science, I'm anti-technology. Unless it can be shown to have benefits that are hard to deny. A little faster hit on your smartphone addiction? (crack rather than cocaine) Color me unimpressed.

    It's easy to posit a lot of theoretical benefits (it takes a lot less stretching if the case actually is obvious that the technology is beneficial, and we're stretching a lot here). However, the problem is all this stuff uses resources etc., so whatever theoretical benefits it has, it all has tremendous un-counted costs that it is not being compared against. We don't count them, we don't even try to, in a sane world we would, but it seems we live in a lunatic asylum, and yet we are supposed to cheerlead every new thing someone can profit off. No thanks.

    Similarly, do we "need" a speed limit of 80 mph on some highways? You can get there at 55 or even 35, all of which are safer speeds. Yet few will give up 80 mph for 35 despite the safety margin.
    of course not, it's wasteful, there is a speed which optimizes fuel efficiency on your average gas engine (which is still the vast majority of the vehicles out there whether or not it should be), and it's well below 80.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    I'm about to show my age here.....isn't 5G associated with the Internet of Things? That whole concept creeps me out as there realistically is no privacy in this day and age but as I understand, 5G will magnify this lack 100X and shove such right in your face. No thanks, sorry, not interested. Rob

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    There is no difference in the radiation exposure from 5G to older technology. The radiation exposure from cell phones and towers already exists. 5G is a bigger bandwidth.

    I find the concern and fear fascinating..............

  8. #8
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardnr View Post
    I find the concern and fear fascinating..............
    Me, too. Interesting that one person's hypotheticals are a stretch and of little perceived value, but another person's junk-science-informed concerns are quite accurate.

    5G is little different from pretty much any other technology that's ever been introduced. Every single technology has brought good and bad into the world. Plastics help tremendously in sanitation, helping prevent the cross-contamination of foods, make the transportation of things easier (less breakage or at least containment of the mess), and aid in treating infectious diseases -- but they also consume dead dinosaurs and last forever in landfills. The automobile brought effortless anytime/anywhere transportation to millions -- and created tons of pollution of all kinds and redesigned our built landscape almost to the exclusion of people. Obviously there have been technologies that offered little upside compared to considerable downside. But 5G is not worthy of being singled out on that basis.

    Anyone who does not want a 5G phone is welcome to keep their non-5G phone. Then they eventualy can toss it in a landfill because, after some years, it will no longer work. The spectrum that older phones use will go away. But not going 5G certainly is a choice. Not everyone needs (or even wants) a mobile phone.

    Rob, the Internet of Things is totally different from 5G. Well, 5G is supposed to offer the bandwidth/spectrum that makes it possible for more IoT devices to communicate with each other wirelessly. But IoT exists now and can function just fine over terrestrial Internet access. Wireless just makes it easier to offer mobile IoT and to install devices which don't need to be "talking" to some device with a cable attached.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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    Bae, care to comment?

    Part of what I see with the whole 5G thing, is political, as well as intelligence. One of the biggest investors, is China, in the tech. For good reasons (think about how cell phones have affected Africa with the lack of wired communication, and now think about 5G being used like that across China), and what governments are worried about, bad reasons (develop the tech, know the backdoors first, hacks, security issues, ways to hide espionage tools, etc).
    So there are those that want it slowed down, until we have similar manufacturing and sales potentials, with all the bad reasons for ourselves.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    Bae, care to comment?
    I have no basis to comment. Other than degrees in physics and electrical engineering and computer science and statistics. And a career that included FCC radio frequency compliance/emissions issues. And a dozen years as a county planning commissioner trying to get the local Luddites to allow cell phone towers in the county at all. And as the communications specialist with our local emergency management agency, and holder of 4 different FCC licenses...

    I think there is no real issue here, other than dealing with the noise of morons who read things on the Internet.

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