Science: What is 5G broadband, anyway?

The Story:

There have been lots of controversies, and a number of conspiracy theories, about 5G broadband mobile networks. For a time, early in the spread of the Covid pandemic, that plague was itself blamed on the associated electromagnetism. But neither that nor any of the others of a wide range of speculations, rumors, and anti-science charges has any basis in truth. This is some legitimate ground for concerns, though, and we will come to that below.


In simplest terms, 5G is a new technology standard, being phased in around the world (and, as you might have guessed, it is the fifth generation standard for broadband.)

5G NR (New Radio) speed in sub-6 GHz bands is only slightly higher than the speed of 4G devices given a similar amount of spectrum and antennas. This is because the 4G standards already approached what is called the “Shannon limit” on data communication rates. But in other parts of the spectrum, in particular within the millimeter wave spectrum, the superior performance of the 5G NR can be considerable.

5G also stands out by keeping a low error rate in transmissions, due to an adaptive signal coding system.

Strange New Worlds:

Although the Covid theory is an outlier, there is some mainstream concern that exposure to 5g NR frequency bands may have negative health consequences. Most of those who have looked at it are unalarmed, and the roll-out has continued almost completely unhindered by activist efforts.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.