• How does 5G work?
  • Differences between 4G and 5G
  • What about security concerns?

5G technology is the new standard for broadband cellular networks. Many people are expecting that it will open up new possibilities and opportunities for tech advancement and innovation because it can support advanced technologies like the Internet of Things. 

Yet, there are concerns about 5G's security, particularly where radiation is concerned. Radiation is a type of energy emitted by devices, including those used for 5G. It's not always harmful - our body heat is a form of radiation, too.

RF radiation is also known as radio waves. According to the FDA, it's a type of electromagnetic energy made of electric and magnetic waves. The concern with radio waves is their ability to ionise, similar to high-frequency waves like gamma rays, which can damage DNA and lead to cancer. Thankfully, 5G doesn't fall into this category.

This has led to further questions about whether it's safe to switch to 5G and if it's an improvement over 4G. We'll delve into these issues in this article, providing you with essential information about 5G.  

How does 5G work?

5G works by using a higher frequency of radio waves compared to previous generations like 4G. These higher frequencies allow 5G to transmit data much faster than before. 

Additionally, 5G networks use a technology called "beamforming," which allows the signal to be focused directly towards the user's device, improving efficiency and speed. 

5G aims to provide faster and more reliable wireless communication, enabling a wide range of new applications and services.

5G security concerns

5G represents a substantial leap forward in network technology compared to its predecessor, 4G. 

However, concerns about its safety have led to scepticism among some individuals, including tech experts. These concerns stem from several ongoing challenges facing 5G:

  • Decentralised security: The distributed nature of 5G networks makes security checks and maintenance more complex. With multiple traffic routing points, ensuring the security of these connections requires constant monitoring by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
  • Bandwidth expansion and security: The increased bandwidth and speed of 5G networks pose a challenge for ISPs in effectively filtering out cyber threats.
  • IoT security vulnerabilities: Many low-end smart devices lack robust security measures, raising the risk of network breaches and cyber attacks targeting Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Despite these challenges, tech companies are actively working to address vulnerabilities and prevent various cyber attacks, including botnet attacks, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks, and location tracking and call interception.

In addition to these industry efforts, consumers can also take proactive measures to safeguard their devices and networks against potential threats associated with 5G technology.

Here are some things to do to avoid security risks when using 5G: 

  • Installing antivirus programs or apps on devices. 
  • Use a VPN. A VPN (virtual private network) can prevent hackers from accessing personal data and online activities. 
  • Update and use strong passwords. Updating passwords regularly can further help in preventing hackers from accessing personal data. 
  • Keep IoT devices updated. Device program updates often patch the bugs and security risks. 

Differences between 4G and 5G

While 4G is undoubtedly robust with its reliable speed and consistency, the growing demand for wireless connectivity is stretching its capabilities. 

This increasing strain is one of the key drivers behind the necessity of transitioning to 5G. By making the switch, many of the issues encountered with 4G, such as slowdowns during peak hours, can be alleviated.

Beyond these improvements, there are several other reasons why 5G outperforms 4G:

  • Faster speeds: 5G offers significantly faster data transfer rates, enabling rapid download and upload speeds, reducing wait times for large file downloads.
  • Low latency: With its minimal delay times, 5G delivers a more responsive Internet connection compared to 4G.
  • Energy efficiency: Most 5G devices can efficiently switch to low-energy modes when not actively using cellular radios, extending battery life.
  • Enhanced reliability: 5G's improved bandwidth usage and increased connection points result in a more reliable Internet connection, potentially reducing data costs due to decreased network stress.
  • Congestion management: By using a broader spectrum of radio waves, 5G can accommodate more devices, minimising or eliminating slowdowns during peak usage periods.

Final thoughts

As soon as tech companies are ready to use 5G to its full capabilities, we need to arm ourselves with information on how to safeguard our devices from possible security breaches.