5G Coverage and Radiation

The discussion of 5G is gaining momentum among people. In societies, people are interested to know how fast is fast for 5G. Many are starting to search for phones that can support the 5G network in order to be ready for partaking in the performance improvement offered by 5G. Speed has always been the hot topic of discussion.

But besides the speed, one of the 5G vision is to create a world wide wireless web (WWWW), meaning that the coverage of 5G is global, or at least in paper and vision it wants to be. At this stage of deployment, getting 5G available to everyone everywhere is obviously tricky. Therefore when it comes to the topic of 5G coverage, strategies has to be implemented in stages for deployment. This is considering the technology limitation and the feasibility of deploying 5G to a large area. In this week article, we will discuss the strategy of the first phase 5G deployment. In addition, we will also briefly explain why there is no need to worry about radiation when coming to 5G.

5G Cell Site Coverage

Figue 1: NSA (Non Standalone) Coverage

Due to the challenge for 5G signals to penetrate walls, there is heavy reliance of femtocells setup to ensure coverage of the 5G signal can reach interiors of buildings. The number of 5G cell sites required to achieve maximum coverage has always been a concern to both telco operator and consumer. As the 5G spectrum utilizes higher frequency with shorter wavelength, the cell coverage area per site will be smaller than existing 4G coverage area. The number of cells is expected to be doubled if it were to achieve similar coverage area. Knowing that the investment is significant for the telco operator to roll out 5G, the strategy of fast implementation will be based on NSA (Non Standalone) as shown in Figure 1. The limited coverage provided by 5G will ensure 5G connectivity for enhanced Mobile Broadband services whereas the 4G/LTE coverage will provide extended connectivity with 4G bandwidth. In other words, data-intensive services such as YouTube streaming, downloading and uploading processes will uses 5G data speed while non-data services which includes most of the background services in mobile phones will continue using existing 4G network. As a result, the first phase deployment will have to ride on the existing 4G sites.

5G Radiation

As the number of base stations increase, there is always a concern about the radiation risk to health. Perhaps it is good to realize all the wireless communications application that utilizes the spectrum falls under non-ionizing radiation in contrast to X-Rays and Gamma Rays. In contrast to non-ionizing radiation, under the exposure X-rays & Gamma rays will cause the breaking of cell bonds resulting in deformation and damages of DNA and hence the formation of tumor or cancer. In conclusion, the radiation risk shall not be a concern to human being as long as the base station is following the ITU standards in terms of the power requirements disregard of macro/micro cell. It is interesting to note that we are living with the electromagnetic waves associated with different kind of applications particularly the utilization of ionizing radiation as a double sword for medical health scanning purposes which may cause a risk for health.

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