We are constantly exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which comes from a variety of sources, including mobile phones, television and radio broadcasts, and natural sources like sunlight. The most recent wireless smartphone technology, known as 5G, will be widely used for the first time in 2019. The high waves travel shorter distances through urban spaces, so 5G networks require more transmitter masts than previous technologies, positioned closer to ground level.

Main distinctions between 5G and other technologies

The progression of communications standards is represented by 5G. 5G will use higher frequencies up to some tens of GHz and around 3.5 GHz to offer improved performance. While body scanners and point-to-point radio communications are two other common uses of the higher frequencies outside of mobile phone networks, they are new to mobile networks.

5G uses higher frequency waves than earlier mobile networks, allowing more devices to have access to the internet at the same time and at faster speeds. 5G networks will make use of more base stations and connected items at these higher frequencies. Beam-forming antennas will also be used in 5G to more effectively guide signals towards the device being used as opposed to existing base station antennas, which spread the signal out in all directions.

Level of exposure

The current 3.5 GHz emission from 5G infrastructures is comparable to the 2.4 GHz exposure from current cell phone base stations. With the utilization of various rays from 5G antennas, radiation may vary depending on the users’ locations and usage. Given that 5G technology is still in its early stages of implementation, it is still unknown how much radiofrequency field exposure will alter.

5G Mobile Networks

Actions of WHO on 5G

As the new system is implemented and as more information about public health becomes available, WHO will assess the scientific evidence pertaining to potential health effects from exposure to 5G. The International Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Project was started by World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996. The project studies the effects of contact with magnetic and electrical fields between 0 and 300 GHz on human health and provides national authorities with EMF radiation safety advice.

WHO supports more investigation into the potential long-term health effects of all facets of mobile communications. Priorities for related research are determined and promoted by the organization. In order to improve understanding of health and mobile communications, it also creates resources for the general public and encourages discussion among experts, scientists, authorities, governments, and the general public.

International exposure regulations

Guidelines for electromagnetic field exposure are produced by two international organizations. Currently, several nations follow the recommendations made by:

  • The Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection International Commission,
  • Through the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

These rules do not depend on any particular technology. They include the radio frequencies being discussed for 5G and extend up to 300 GHz.

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