5G- A Network of Problems
5G, or in simpler terms, the fifth generation of wireless networks has started to be deployed across the globe. It is praised for its incredible speeds and the amount of potential it has to make a staggering difference to the world, but 5G at this moment is causing many problems.
On the 28th January, The UK decided to allow Huawei a “limited role” in UK’s 5G networks which has its political effects. Firstly, the decision is seen as a blow to the US-UK relationship with a Trump administration official saying, the US “is disappointed” with the decision as well as acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney saying the US is “very much concerned”. The UK have said that without the help of Huawei, super fast broadband would be delayed and therefore damage the UK’s economy.
The US, Australia and Japan have all decided to ban Huawei being used in 5G telecommunications. Trumps administration has spent years pressuring the UK to ban Huawei to no effectiveness- and will hope the UK reverse their decision.
Another issue is the misconception of 5G. Network’s claim the 5G they provide is “real 5G”, and can be achieved anywhere in the cities they state to have 5G coverage, but that is not the case. To achieve 5G, it requires being in specific places, close to 5G cell towers and having a 5G compatible mobile phone. Mike Elgan, a columnist for Computer World says “In order to have reasonable coverage, providers have got to build 5G antennas and towers all over the place, and very close to users. It’s time-consuming and expensive to place these devices everywhere, so the rollout will be slow and uneven.”
I spoke to Brian More, IP Commercialisation Director at Coventry University about 5G, and here’s what he had to say.
2020 was supposed to a breakthrough year for 5G with rollouts happening throughout the world, but even before the Covid-19 pandemic, 5G was years away from being what people expected, now it will be even longer before we feel the true power of 5G.
By Tom Westrep