The internet is a wonderful place to discover new things, learn and explore. But sometimes it creates more confusion than answers, with fake and misleading information going viral and clouding our understanding of new technologies. There’s no better example of this than 5G. Here’s some insight into common myths about this next-generation wireless technology and the science that debunks these misunderstandings.

Myth #1 – 5G Causes Cancer

Let’s start with the big one first – the question over whether 5G causes cancer by exposing people to radiation. There is some science to back up this claim. For example, the World Health Organisation did suggest that maybe cell phone radiation should be described as possibly carcinogenic for humans way back in 2011. But the reality is much more complex. Most things we use today, from our petrol cars and lawnmowers to pickled food and fresh bananas have a level of radiation that makes them carcinogenic to some degree. More recent studies that have a higher degree of accuracy (a larger testing pool and a longer testing period) have shown that 5G is safe and does not cause cancer.

Myth #2 – 5G Causes COVID-19

This myth went viral in 2020, causing panic and inciting people around the world to burn down infrastructure linked to the 5G rollout. There are absolutely no grounds for this belief and the claim has no scientific merit at all. Enough said.

Myth #3 – You’ll Need a New Mobile

To use the 5G network, your device will have to be 5G compatible, so you will need a new mobile. However, the other wireless tech won’t be replaced by 5G, so your current mobile will keep working as before. 5G is simply building on to existing networks like 4G and 3G, not eliminating them. Manufacturers are gearing up their mobile tech for the 5G rollout, so whenever you decide to upgrade your mobile, you’ll very likely have a selection of 5G-capable mobiles available to you.

Myth #4 – 5G is Just About Making Smartphones Faster

Minimal latency and high-speed connectivity are a big part of what’s driving the 5G rollout, and mobiles on the network should be around 100 times faster than 4G networks. But that’s not all this technology is about. The applications for this network will transform our society, supporting the development of everything from smart cities and smart cars to robotics and augmented reality, and increasing the effectiveness of the IoT (Internet of Things). Faster mobile phones are just one small area in the vast potential of 5G tech.

Myth #5 – 5G is Harmful to the Environment

Of course, there is always an environmental cost to rolling out new technologies, and 5G requires more towers or antennas than other networks. However, it is actually some of the greenest communications technology in existence. It’s designed and built with optimised energy consumption in mind, as it switches on according to demand rather than remaining on at all times. Currently, they consume half the energy of their 4G counterparts per gigabyte transported while carrying 10 times more traffic and accommodating more users. It will also help cities and homes utilise resources more effectively through the IoT and smart applications, reducing wastage and optimising resource consumption.

At Otto, we’re excited about how new technologies change the way businesses and cities operate, opening up new growth opportunities. But we never lose sight of the human element. As a people-first IT solutions specialist, we make technology more engaging, more human, and more effective to support your success.