Breaking 5 Myths about 5G

Time to debunk these great internet myths

Connecting a phone to a cellular network is something most people don’t give much thought about. The choice of 3G vs 4G vs LTE is usually decided by your carrier. But there’s a new kid on the block that’s sparked our interest in networks – 5G. Yet this kind of buzz, which is pretty much guaranteed to gain more attention, is fertilizer for all sorts of misconceptions.

To provide more insight into 5G, we are going to debunk 5 myths about 5G.

Myth 1: It’s all about faster smartphones

The notion that 5G simply means faster smartphones may become the dominant misconception among the community. It’s true that 5G can reach up to 100x the speed of 4G which will give wired broadband companies a run for their money. However, the real benefit lies in the lower latency connection 5G provides. Once rolled out, it should massively increase the effectiveness in areas such as emerging technologies, augmented reality (AR) or any activities that require near-instantaneous feedback.

Myth 2: 5G will replace 4G LTE

Not quite there yet! 5G will not replace 4G for some time, like how 4G overtook 3G. Instead, 5G is building on 4G LTE, using updated radios and software. Whilst 5G is full of promise, it requires clusters of antennas that are closer to users. The new infrastructures will take years to build.

5G also isn’t set to eliminate the need for a wired internet connection in homes and businesses. 5G’s high-band spectrum has a notoriously poor ability to penetrate buildings, with coverage indoors dropping to just a few metres. If anything, 4G is still here to stay.

Myth 3: Coming to a town near you very soon!

Half true, half false. There is not some impending magical moment when 5G network coverage will become universal and uniform. 5G is still in phase one of its global rollout, which means that towers are still going up across the world, city by city, neighbourhood by neighbourhood – including right here in Malaysia.

So, if you live or work in certain areas of the metropolis, then this magic moment might come true for you sooner. But for everyone else, it will be some time yet before it arrives.

Myth 4: 5G…kills?!

Birds are falling from the sky. Radiation is attacking us from everywhere. It’s a matter of time before our health suffers the irreversible consequences that will lead to the end of humanity.

Lower frequency radio waves, like what’s used for LTE mobile networks, are non-ionizing. Meaning they don’t dish out the same harmful rays associated with Chernobyl. The millimetre wave spectrum has never been used for telecommunications. The reason is not because of the unknown dangers but rather the impracticality – it is not that effective at long distances.

Myth 5: 5G will kill your phone’s battery

Errr…no. Virtually every existing 5G phone was designed with a large battery to offset additional power drain from early 5G chips. A more nuanced answer is that current 5G chips aren’t as energy-efficient as future 5G chips will be. Well, that can be said about almost every technology – which only gets cheaper and more power-efficient over time. 

Now that we’ve debunked the myths about 5G, what other misconceptions would you like us to uncover next? Tell us here: