The mobile communication industry has seen significant changes over the years, in the 90’s we transitioned from 2G to 3G, then came the introduction of 4G which gave us apps and the ability to hail a ride through our phone and have groceries delivered to our door. The next major move is to a 5G network, which will provide consumers with never before seen internet speeds and countless possibilities to develop new technology. 5G network will have effects not only on the telecommunication industry but also on healthcare, military, urban development, and more.
Enhancements and New Technological Developments
5G network will change the way our smartphones and other smart devices perform, but will it have effects on other industries? 5G’s super speeds will make new technologies possible, allowing data from sensors, cars, robots, and more to work together in real-time. Such is the case with a surgeon in China who conducted a liver transplant on an animal while being 30 miles away. This was possible by using a robotic arm running on a 5G network. The network’s ability to handle more bandwidth compared to 4G will make real-time remote healthcare monitoring and procedures possible. This means that people in rural areas who may not have access to a healthcare provider will be able to receive treatment through live video or robot-assisted procedures.
The new network will also boost the economy and create jobs. In the initial phase of the adaptation period cell towers carrying 4G networks will have to be updated and more will need to be installed, resulting in a demand of workers who are experienced in this field. Accenture estimates that the transition to a 5G network will create 3 million new jobs in the U.S.
Privacy Implications of a 5G Network
Location privacy is one of the main issues with 5G. As stated, the technology needs more antennas and data boxes installed closer to each other because it has a short-range, this means that anyone with access to the network’s data will be able to pinpoint your location more accurately.
Weaknesses in the network’s security could also increase the risk of online scammers gaining access to your personal information. Identity theft was the third most reported fraud in the U.S. in 2018 and according to Mark S. Treyz, a Tacoma white-collar crime defense attorney, these types of crimes cost the government over $300 billion dollars per year.
There will be an overwhelming amount of data being exchanged between devices and sensitive personal information is at risk of an attack on any of the devices that it is shared on. This means that your personal information could be at risk not only on your smartphone but on any smart device you own, speakers, doorbells, autonomous cars, and more. It’s important that these flaws are addressed before the widespread adoption of 5G.
Hidden Flaws of 5G
A 5G network comes with multiple advantages that will result in significant improvements to the industry, but this doesn’t mean that the technology doesn’t have any flaws or disadvantages.
- The technology has a short-range and only covers small areas, it can also be blocked by walls, doors, signs, or trees.
- More cell towers and data boxes will need to be installed or updated to provide the necessary coverage. This will require communication service providers to invest billions of dollars in the infrastructure that is needed to deliver 5G with the same coverage that 4G currently provides.
- Current smartphones don’t support 5G and replacing them with phones that do is expensive.
- Every “smart” device like doorbells, speakers, outlets in your home will need to be replaced with technology that supports a 5G connection.
Although the technology is exciting and has the potential to provide various developments to different industries, we must be aware that it comes with its weaknesses and must pressure our representatives to do their due diligence and ensure that it is safe for our personal use. The country’s race for economic power should not outweigh the necessary safety precautions and standards that need to be set to protect consumers from its possible risks. Only time will tell how 5G will change technology, our lives and how the world communicates.