Does 5G Technology Work?

Does 5G Technology Work?
August 18, 2019 13 Comments Uncategorized Jack Stephens

All new things have a “break-in” period. Shoes, cars, books, new systems at work, marriages – lots of things in our everyday lives have that period of time when things aren’t necessarily all they ought to be. At first, they may not work just right or need to be given a little TLC until all the aspects of the product, situation or relationship are seated in and have the bugs worked out.

Photo by Marc Slingerland

It happened with our cellular communications before. Remember the briefcase phones and brick-sized “mobile” phones in the early days? And it is happening now, too. In fact, it most likely always will, as long as change, progress and improvements occur. So when someone asks, “Does 5G technology work?”, it is a deeper question than the asker may realize.

First of All, DOES it work?

Permit me to engage in a small bit of sarcasm: Well, DUH! Of course it does! Remember, if you have read the other pages and posts on this site, you will know that 5G isn’t just all about YOU. Well, at least it isn’t all about just you and your cell phone.

The technology is reaching into more and more areas of research, industry, medicine, surgery, the internet, office procedures, data storage and connectivity, our cars, other modes of transportation, home electronics, international trade, etc.

The billions of dollars being invested in all areas of 5G utilization are not being frivolously thrown at an unproven, “iffy” business venture. This is not some Shark Tank venture that may or may not pay out.

Photo by T. Al Nakib

Savvy investors, business leaders, C.E.O.’s, electronics developers and communications experts across the world are striving every way they can to make sure they are positioned to catapult their companies into the future by incorporating 5G into their business plans. So to ask, “Does it work?” really has no other answer than “Yes. Yes it does, as a matter of fact.”

I’m sure there were people who thought the first automobiles were just a toy – a flash in the pan. And others probably thought electric lights were impractical. After all who wants to string up wires all over the place to have light when you could just light an oil lamp. If it was good enough for grandpa, it should be good enough for everybody. Even the internet itself was thought by some to be just a fad. They all had problems in being implemented. They all took a while to catch on. Yet here we are today!

But I Heard About All These Problems…

In saying that 5G definitely works, I am not saying it has come out of the gate in perfect, pristine WOW-factor-inducing glory. For the rest of my discussion, I am talking about cell phone usage in particular. Let’s leave behind for now all the other applications and all the wonders – some immediate and some yet to come – of 5G.

So what about 5G cell phone technology? As I have stated elsewhere, the start has been small. Only certain districts in certain cities have 5G cell phone service. The higher and broader wavelengths involved in the signals used give 5G its awesome capabilities, but those same signals do not travel as far as the lower wavelengths used by 3G, LTE and 4G.

Actually, I could take you just a couple of miles from my home in central Ohio and find “dead spots” in my 4G cell phone coverage. So “Can you hear me now?” is still a problem, even with our current devices and services. Improved from its inception years ago, but still not perfect.

So the challenge of providing universal coverage is ongoing. As with the previous levels of “G”, coverage expands over time. This means that when through-the-air transmission is involved, more towers, spaced closer together are needed for 5G. I have addressed this elsewhere, so check out some of my other pages and posts for this information.

Is this a problem? Sure it is. No one wants to be saddled with such limited areas of availability or to experience interruptions in service due to physical obstacles blocking signals or due to getting too far from a tower.

Photo by Barun Patro

But are the problems insurmountable? Nope. In fact, you can be assured that there are battalions of technicians and researchers addressing the current “bugs” with all their might because the ones who solve the problems first will be the ones to benefit first. One such solution might, and probably will, deal with a not-so-new technology that has been keeping the world connected since the 1970s: fiber optics and fiber optic cables.

The Work-Arounds

Until 5G-dedicated towers become widespread, the following steps either are or may be utilized to aid in the proliferation of the new technology.

  • First, currently many towers are being fitted with 5G radio transmitters to allow 5G signals to be transmitted from existing structures.
  • Second, especially for long distances, fiber optic cables have plenty of room for the new traffic and will allow time for 5G tower construction to spread over a number of years.
  • Third, those good old R&D techs are sure to come up with some additional solutions to the conundrum of 5G transmission.

Get On Board or Get Out of the Way!

I am sure other kinks will be worked out along this journey into the future – kinks I haven’t mentioned and that maybe haven’t even been confronted yet. But rest assured, those kinks, every one of them, will be addressed and will be conquered. Better minds than mine are convinced of it and are exerting every effort to pave the way.

Some estimates indicate that by 2025, as much as 47% of the United States may be 5G capable, and that figure may actually be low. Time will tell.

It will affect your life. It probably already has and it unquestioningly will end up in the palm of your hand. So be prepared! Go ahead,  click here to see the 5G cell phones that may be available to you right now!

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  1. 1

    Selenity Jade

    Hi!  Thanks for this article.  I have heard they were going to release a 5G network but I didn’t know that some cities have already started!  It’s kind of insane that it might take until 2025 to only cover 47% of the US though!  I didn’t realize it might take that long for me to be able to get it!  Just… wow!  Hopefully, as with all technology, it’ll be a huge improvement over the 4G LTE that is currently the norm!  Thanks for this article!

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      I will be writing a post related to your comments soon, but for now just keep in mind that when 4G came along, it too took a while to spread. There is more involved with the 5G increase, but it will, nonetheless, happen. There is no alternative. Anyone who doesn’t adapt and accept it will find themselves lagging behind in the backwaters of technology. I mean, right now, part of the biggest rush to develop 5G is the race between the U.S. and China. So hopefully the trade “war” brewing will blow over. Better to work together than to work in competition. And as far as the timing of the 5G rollout goes, expect research and development of sufficient “workarounds” to expedite the conversion. Keep in mind that if you have 4G LTE, you will still have that level of speed and connection. Going into a 5G area will just kick your efficiency into a higher level while you are there. Not the same as 5G, but you will benefit. Regarding the size of the improvement, I invite you to read some of my other posts and pages. The improvement will be nothing less than phenomenal – and will get even better over the next few years. Thanks for writing!

      Reply
  2. 1

    Yomi Disu

    5G newtworks sounds like the way to go, it is progress after all.And I have to agree that all things take time to for acceptance, that I can relate with, So given time the 5G could be the network to beat! The good thing is it’s a whole industry we are talking about here; phones,tabs and the like. I am all for technological advancement and this is no exception.

    Reply
  3. 1

    Yomi

    5G newtworks sounds like the way to go, it is progress after all.And I have to agree that all things take time to for acceptance, that I can relate with, So given time the 5G could be the network to beat! The good thing is it’s a whole industry we are talking about here; phones,tabs and the like. I am all for technological advancement and this is no exception.

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      Just to clarify, 5G is not just a network. It is an entire technology that includes networks. It isn’t really the network to beat since all networks will eventually have to use 5G if they want to keep up. And if my research is correct, since this is so different from previous technology, there won’t be a “6G”. Previous “G”s lasted about a decade before the next came along. 5G is different. It is so all-encompassing and so far beyond the limited wavelength, bandwidth and capacities of what came before, it isn’t a fair “apples to apples” comparison in a way. Far beyond cell phones, for sure.

      Reply
  4. 1

    MissusB

    Good take on 5G connection. This technological issue shouldn’t be questioned or doubted because we all know that everything is bound to change, and that’s the only thing permanent. We all might be surprised that it may be earlier than expected. Do you know if there are companies who accept individual investment on 5G Technology? With further economic study on 5G stocks investment, it may fasten the process of building towers and installing transmitters. Well, thanks for sharing this interesting news. 

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      Ohhhhh yes! There are companies all along the development, execution and implementation phases of 5G. In the area of cell phone service providers, Verizon is one of the most prominent along with AT&T. But also consider the companies who deal in artificial intelligence, who make the microchips, the cell phones, the data systems, the cell towers, and more!  Since 5G will have impact on so many areas of our lives, it will actually be hard to find a business that won’t be affected. Start-ups and new technologies growing out of the advances will arise as well. Check out your favorite online business news sources. You will find a lot of buzz about it and I am sure you will find at least one company in which you may want to invest. Soon!

      Reply
  5. 1

    Travis Hendrix

    Very good information! I think it is obvious that 5G will work on a technological level, have to investigated any of the possible negative effects that it will have on humans and possible side effects on the environment as a whole? I realize there were those that said cell phones will give us all cancer but like you said in the article, this is so much more than 4G that it’s hard to comprehend. What do you think?

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack Stephens

      Thanks for your question. I have addressed the health aspect of 5G previously so I will summarize by simply saying the answer is no. 5G will not fry our brains, give us cancer or sterilize us. The millimeter wavelengths are unable to penetrate human skin. So there is more likelihood of a person getting cancer from spending time in the sun. Those rays do penetrate our skin. The same scare tactics were used on 4G and are now being directed at 5G, but there is less threat of health problems with 5G than with any other “G”.

      Reply
  6. 1

    Effie

    I am a technology fan and I like to keep up with evolution as much as I can afford it. The biggest problem I have had with my 4G devices was coverage. I really hope there won’t be any similar issues when 5G replaces it. Greater efficiency is what I am looking for and hope delays will be ancient history. Great Read, Jack! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack Stephens

      Hi, Effie.
      In a perfect world, there would be no gaps in coverage with either 4G or 5G, but if you read over my site, I have mentioned that with my 4G device, I can still run into areas that are dead. One such area is only 15 minutes from my home. I live in central Ohio, outside Columbus and with several interstate highways in the area. I say this because it seems that the microwave towers carrying 4G run in the general vicinity of these major roadways. Yet in Lithopolis and on a stretch of I-70 between Columbus and Buckeye Lake and also on a piece of State Route 37 south of Granville, Ohio, there are known dead spots. I am sure there are more. Will we ever get rid of every place that lacks signal? Probably not. We live in the real world. I will say this, however: that with the passing of time, more and more places will gain access to 5G, just like they did with 4G, and the areas that lack signal will diminish.
      Also, keep in mind that if your area does adopt 5G, your 4G cell phone will still operate. So, the shorter answer is, I think “dead spots” will probably be with us for a long time, no matter the technology. But things will get better each year.

      Reply
  7. 1

    Fred

    Jack, thanks for the article. The only thing that bugs me is that we will have to build more towers for 5G. Is this because the waves run shorter? I know my wifi at home has 2 GHZ and 5 GHZ, with the 5 GHZ running shorter but faster. Is this the trade off of having 5G technology? 

    Fred

    Reply
    1. 1

      Jack

      Hi, Fred. Let me make a small correction. If you are thinking that there will be a proliferation of those great big microwave towers all over the place, turning the countryside into a field of tall towers like those photos we see of wind turbine fields, the answer is mmmmm… not so much. I plan to address this in a post some day soon, but read on:

      5G cell antennas are only about the size of a pizza box and may be attached to many existing structures. Sure, they will be added to those gargantuan towers when needed, but other structures such as phone and power poles, buildings, etc., are being used as well. Yes, the signals don’t travel as far since they are very short wavelengths, millimeter waves. But if you have a 5G capable router, any speeds you currently have will be left in the dust when you compare to whatever you have now. Download speeds will be the fastest. I hope this encourages you.

      Reply

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