By Adaeze Theresa Ogeah
September 10, 2020
Technology is a gift to mankind, to make life easy and better for us. Throughout the years, we have seen series of technological developments which have helped improve standards of living which we all are beneficiaries of, either by the use of our mobile phones, or other electronic gadgets, and all these have been facilitated by a communication and information network.
The above notwithstanding, words in the streets are that as technology advances, the greater danger it poses. The general saying that ‘anything that has an advantage has its disadvantage’ may be widely accepted, but the question is, “how bad are the disadvantages of technological advancements on us?” Could technology have caused the current global COVID-19 outbreak? Could there be more to the 5G technology than meets the eyes? Believe me, the “evil 5G” theory, otherwise known as the 5G “Conspiracy Theory” is trending with the man in the street, and gaining huge support as well. However, what is your take on this? Do you agree with the said theory? Or could this conclusion be out of sheer ignorance and absence of basic knowledge about the inception and progression of mobile networks?
Despite anything to the contrary, it should be noted for one that the development of the 5G network did not just start today (with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic), however, the Fifth Generation (5G) technology standard for cellular networks gained huge attention with the COVID-19 pandemic, and has wireless networks investing heavily in it, but it is a network in potentiality and geometric progression. And just like living organisms evolve in their form for better adaptability to their environment, the network chain is not left out, hence, the rapid rate of global civilization has now created a need for an evolution in networks, thus, the need for a transitioning from the Fourth Generation (4G) network to a Fifth (5G), and even higher. In the light of that, the 5G network which is not entirely new, as thought by many, may not necessarily have any direct link with the “evils” attached to it.
5G NETWORK, THE ATTENTION SEEKER
Why the sudden buzz? One may ask. The Fourth Generation (4G) and Third Generation (3G) networks did not have as much controversies like their 5G cousin, rather, they were widely accepted and seen as good steps towards civilization, while same took quite a turn for the 5G Network, and led to contentious comments and conclusions. This I owe to the current lapses in the global health system — especially in the areas of concealment of valuable information, and political interference in the health and safety of citizens — which makes some people feel technology has given the best it can give in the health sector, hence, further introduction of seemingly better technology is nothing but calling adverse effects upon humanity. Unsurprisingly, some proponents of the said “Conspiracy Theory” do not even have basic knowledge of how networks function, or how much more technology can positively impact health and safety. Well, I don’t blame it all on them, as they are victims of hearsay — one person says something, another hears, and yet another reports, and it spreads like wild fire with varying versions. For that reason, appropriate stakeholders should oblige citizens proper enlightenment about the functions and operations of digital cellular networks, and the need for higher versions of networks, such as the 5G, else, the tendency of making fallacious statements and reaching unsound conclusions will linger.
WHY THE CONCERN?
As we all know, mobile phones have become an integral part of our society, and they are used in virtually every sphere of life, from communication to health, to business, an so on, and this has been the norm since the era of the 2G network. Similarly, the 5G network enables us to do same, but at a higher frequency, transforming the effects of digital connectivity and providing users access to unlimited data quantities. However, the major concern with the 5G network springs up from the claimed hazards of the technology to human health. People are worried about their health, and they fear that this somewhat new technology is their doom. Hence, this concern has led to several investigations and studies by professionals in the field, to correct the notion that 5G network radiation is the cause of some deaths in places where 5G cell sites and mast stations are situated, as propelled by some conspiracy theorists, who also propound that the coronavirus is technically transmitted through the 5G network. Yet another fraction of the theorists claim that the 5G network causes death by suppressing the immune system, thus, making the human body susceptible to damage, and I begin to wonder why the 4G and 3G networks spared our lives. Or, could we have been dying slowly, yet unaware? Hmm! This calls for personal reflection, but with absolute certainty about the level of knowledge we possess about the phenomenon, else, we risk downgrading the hard work of those working tirelessly to ensure we have fast Internet, and better usage experience.
Now, focusing on radiation as the primary cause of death with the 5G network, we should know that in different ways, we have been exposing ourselves to electromagnetic radiations, from electronic devices we have in our homes like televisions, to natural lighting, and more specifically, sunlight.
It is important to note that mobile phones which are the primary contact of 5G transmission are low powered radio frequency transmitters, and they only transmit when powered on. According to the World Health Organization, mobile phones communicate by transmitting radio waves through a network of fixed antennas called base stations. This is non-ionizing, that is, even with interaction with the human body, it cannot break the DNA and cause damages to the human cells like the X-ray, Ultraviolet ray and Gamma ray. Furthermore, research from the past has not established any adverse health condition to be the effect of mobile phones and its networking system.
THE NEED FOR 5G NETWORK
Amidst fear that the 5G network was developed to doom the world, it is worthy to note that which the network is said to do.
- It is designed with the capacity of connecting billions of devices, especially in the area of virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
- It gives access to real-time video translation and collaboration.
- With the production of more mast stations, it will lower the level of radiation exposure, owing to the fact that it will run at lower power levels. Hence, the closer the stations, the lesser the exposure.
The above facts notwithstanding, there are still concerns about the said network. In South Korea for instance, where the network has been put to test, it was subjected to both positive and negative reviews, and obviously, the 5G technology hasn’t lived up to its hype as an omniscient network.
Personally, I am an advocate for improvement and advancement, and I think we have not seen the end of the network evolution. From the emergence of 1G in 1979, and with the advancement in digital and communications technologies each year brings, it would only be logical to conclude that the year 2020 is just another year of new and greater things to come, as the year has shown us quite some interesting shades of technology, and the extent to which technology can stretch, as the new normal introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic has made our world more complicated, digital and connected than ever, hence, the need for a new and higher level of connectedness.
GET IT STRAIGHT
Having shed light on the fifth generation technology standard for cellular networks (5G), and how it is perceived by a fraction of the people, kindly note that this article is not aimed at supporting or disputing a particular claim, rather, its aim is to educate its readers, by furnishing them with basic information about the 5G network, for proper understanding.
I’ll leave you with this: “should we put a stop to technological advancements due to fear of unknown causes?” Remember there are always two sides to a coin, hence, the path is yours to choose.
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