With the development in all sectors, how can we expect mobile networks to lag? After 4G, now it’s time to experience the next generation of global wireless standards i.e., 5G.
5G aims to connect everything on a virtual platform with low latency and more reliability and bandwidth. This network is 100x faster than all the previous generation networks hence, helping to create several opportunities for businesses and individuals as well.
What makes 5G stand out from other generation networks is its capabilities. It is designed in a manner to easily meet future requirements.
Capabilities of 5G are as under:
- Enhanced mobile broadband at low cost-per-bit
- Faster and increased support for emergencies
- Reliable network connectivity even in crowded places.
Understanding how this technology works
5G operates on three spectrum bands, namely:
- Low band – can pass easily through walls and offers high latency as compared to other bands
- Mid band – have low latency as compared to low band
- High band – offers high latency and transmission space so that more devices can connect but cannot penetrate through solid objects
Unlike the 4G network, the 5G network requires small towers, sized approximately to that of a medium suitcase. These cell-based towers need a direct line of sight with the devices they communicate with.
The capacity of the 5G network is enhanced further through antennae. These cell-based towers have many antennas which ensure that:
- numerous transmissions are coordinated and do not interfere with each other
- the data is being sent to the focused individual only
A small cell tower requires power ranging between 200-1,000 watts.
Apart from towers, several satellites have been launched in space to enable networks in the areas where these towers cannot be installed.
How can 5G networks impact the environment?
With concerns rising over energy usage by the 5G network, there are chances that it might adversely affect the environment in the long term. According to research conducted by Ericcson, the IT industry is expected to consume around one-fifth of the world’s global electricity by 2030. Data storage centers consume around 80 percent of the total network energy use, of which half of it is required to cool down the base stations. The U.S. data centers consumed around 73 billion kWh of power in the year 2020, which was 3 billion kWh more than what it consumed in 2014, as stated by Berkeley Lab Reports. Along with this, the small cell base stations used for 5G networks may eat up to 3x more of the power consumed by 4G networks.
Should we abandon the 5G network?
No, instead we should focus on finding solutions to these problems. Some of them are as below:
- We can try replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
- To reduce the amount of energy required to cool down the base stations, some of the steps have been taken by the following companies:
- Nokia is using liquid to cool down the base stations. This helped in reducing carbon emissions by 90 percent.
- Many companies in China and Japan have switched over to Green Base Stations with solar photo-voltaic panels which helped in reducing energy consumption by 40 percent.
- Scientists are working on developing biodegradable sensors that decompose when no longer in use, hence helping to save the environment.
- Lastly, we can recycle the electronic items that can be reused.
How can 5G contribute to sustainable development?
- 5G networks can transmit more data while using less energy.
- GE’s Digital Power Plant software will reduce carbon emissions by 3 percent. This directly contributes towards saving energy and hence, sustainable development.
- It will enable more use of renewable energy.
- By enabling people to work remotely, it can contribute to reducing air pollution as people will not have to travel then.
- Smart installed sensors can easily detect water leakage and water contamination. This will help in reducing water pollution up to some extent.
How can I access 5G?
You will only need a mobile phone that supports the 5G wireless network and you will be good to go.
It is quite clear from above that 5G is going to be revolutionary. 5G is going to change the speed with which we communicate. It is a whole new spectrum of technology, information, and mobile connectivity. 5G will leave none of the industries untouched from availing its benefits.