What is 5G technology, is it harmful

What is 5G Advantages and risks of the 5th generation of mobile communications

What exactly is 5G?

The best data transmission in Germany is currently in the 4G (LTE) area. The future lies in the new 5G standard, which has already been available in some German cities since July 2019. The abbreviation 5G denotes the 5th generation of mobile communications.

The special feature of 5G is the extremely high achievable data rate of up to 10Gbit per second and the low so-called delay time (latency). With up to 10 times higher data transmission than LTE, the new 5G generation of cellular networks enables almost real-time transmission.

These providers have currently acquired frequencies for the 5th generation of mobile communications:

  • Telecom
  • Vodafone
  • o2 Telefónica
  • 1 & 1 Drillisch

How does 5G work?

The 5G mobile communications standard is not a fundamentally new technology: 5G technologically transmits data in the same way as 3G and 4G. That means mostly in the same frequency ranges, i.e. at 2 GHz. In addition, 5G will also be used in a new frequency range 3.4 to 3.7 GHz with shorter waves. These shorter waves have a correspondingly small range. The frequency ranges of the 3G and 4G standards are longer-wave and thus extend further.

What are the benefits of 5G?

The 5G cellular standard can ensure faster and more reliable mobile internet. This means that 5G will open up countless new opportunities in both private and urban areas in the future. Consumers can benefit from the higher speed and more network capacities of the 5G network, for example, in the following areas:

  • Faster mobile internet for communication and multimedia applications (e.g. mobile gaming, streaming, 4K videos)
  • Networked mobility offers (e.g. autonomous and interconnected vehicles)
  • Better network stability at major events (e.g. when visiting festivals and stadiums)
  • Smart metering (e.g. reading electricity, gas and water consumption automatically) and smart home technologies
  • Reduction of pesticide use in agriculture through the use of digital control technology
  • Supply of rural regions (e.g. telemedicine)

When is 5G in Germany?

After the federal government auctioned the mobile radio frequencies (2.0 and 3.4 to 3.7 gigahertz) in March 2019, these can now be used for the use of 5G. The next generation 5G has already been offered in a few locations in Germany since July 2019. Further cities are to be continuously connected with 5G.

Telecommunications providers plan to have 5G available to most of Germany by the end of 2022. However, setting up the network is expensive and requires an approval process. It will therefore take some time before 5G is available nationwide in Germany.

Where is 5G available in Germany?

The areas in which 5G already exists can be found on the network coverage maps of the 5G providers.

What do I need to be able to use 5G?

To be able to use 5G technology, you need a newer device with a suitable chip. This cannot be retrofitted to older smartphones. There are already some smartphones available that support 5G. The manufacturers have announced further 5G-enabled mobile devices.

Risks of 5G: is the 5G network harmful to health?

With the expansion of the 5G network, fears of a health hazard from cell phone radiation are also growing.

With 5G, however, little changes in terms of radiation exposure: The mobile radio frequencies used for 5G are largely the same as for 4G and were previously used for other purposes.

The radiation power of cell phone antennas is precisely monitored, measured and documented by the responsible Federal Network Agency. The radiation values ​​of individual antennas in a certain area can be viewed for each antenna with a power of 10 watts or more (26th Federal Immission Control Act). You can approach your municipalities with relevant concerns.

However, the strongest radiation comes from Smartphones used close to the body from: Regardless of whether it is used on the ear, in the hand or simply carried in a pocket. The following principle applies here: If you double the distance, the radiation is reduced to a quarter. You should therefore use all possible means to reduce this - for example by keeping as much distance as possible between your head and your smartphone. This reduces the radiation.

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection has published some recommendations for making calls with a mobile phone on its website.

In addition, Stiftung Warentest has published a study on the effects of cell phone radiation on health.

Relationship between frequency, data rate and range

The terms frequency, data rate and range are often related when it comes to mobile communications. No wonder, because they all depend on each other:

  1. For data transmission between cell towers and your smartphone, it requires so-called Frequencies or different frequency ranges. For example, different frequency ranges are used for the transmission of radio, television, mobile radio and police radio.
  2. The Range describes the size of the area that a cell tower supplies with network. The following applies: the lower the frequency, the greater the range. In addition, less data can be transmitted with low frequency ranges than with higher frequency ranges. The higher the frequency, the higher the possible data rate.
  3. Transmission power From smartphones: In the cellular area, low power up to a maximum of 2 watts is used. The transmission power of the smartphone is automatically adapted to the reception conditions. This means: If you make calls far away from the cell phone tower, the transmission power of the smartphone is high. If you are closer to the cell tower, the transmission power of the smartphone is correspondingly lower.

This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with the consumer centers in Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate for the network of consumer centers in Germany.