5G is finally (mostly) here. We have been hearing about it for a long time – many of us have our 5G smart phones, which were operating on 4G for a while. Now all four major Los Angeles carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile) claim to have 5GF availability – but not all areas are covered yet, although it is to be presumed that the coverage will soon be blanket.

Will 5G work with computers?

People tend to think of 5G as ‘phone-centric’, but yes, 5G is going to revolutionize standard office network infrastructure. In anticipation of the widespread availability of 5G, major computer manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Lenovo started introducing 5-G-enabled computers as early as 2020.

The broadband capabilities and internet speed provided by 5G will not be usable to old-school computers – any more than it will be usable to 4G smart phone owners.

5G is great news for phone junkies with neck pain from staring down at their mobile screens all day, but this facet of 5G will have a much smaller impact on business than 5G Broadband for the internet. For IT services, the main impact of 5G will be in cybersecurity.

How will 5G affect cybersecurity?

5G will broaden a network’s attack surface exponentially. The attack surface consists of the total number of access points which can easily become exploitable vulnerabilities to cybercriminals.

According to Forbes’ Vinod Yeruva, “5G’s dynamic software-based systems have far more traffic routing points than the current hardware-based, centralized hub-and-spoke designs that 4G has.” It’s akin to going from going from a steel helmet to a colander for protection.

Here's a good test for your IT support manager – whether internal or outsourced: Ask them what preparations they have made in anticipation of widespread 5G availability for business networks (especially your own). If they do not have an answer, you have a problem. For years, good Managed IT Services providers have been studying both the known and the possible effects 5G will have on their clients’ networks.

What is the main issue with 5G?

Cybersecurity – with a side order of data storage capacity – due to the huge data files which can now be sent with ease.. There is a lot we do not know about any unforeseen complications that 5G will bring. 5G has yet to redefine the vulnerabilities associated with security threats – such as privacy, cybersecurity, and trust. There is still uncertainty as to how the platform will protect its users with the quantum leap in the amount of data that will be traveling through cyberspace.

Cybercrime and fraud are expected to rise – even more dramatically than they have since the advent of COVID and the transition to a much larger remote workforce. If you have quality IT support, they are ready for it – with mechanisms in place for the event that an end-user clicks on a malicious link or attachment in a phishing email.

This is all the more reason for every business to institute Security Awareness Training – since human error is responsible for over 90% of successful cyber-attack intrusions. No matter how good your IT services or the defenses they set up are, they can never stop an employee from clicking on something they shouldn’t.

Health Concerns

The fundamental question: Is 5G safe? This has been the subject of debate for decades – ever since the first cell towers appeared. The debate isn’t about the towers, but about the invisible energy fields that emanate from them: EMFs.

What does EMF mean?

The original term ‘Electric and Magnetic Fields’ has evolved into the more commonly used ‘Electro-Magnetic Fields,’ but whatever you call it there is one undeniable fact: this is radiation. We all know that radiation is essentially bad for you, but the question is of the level.

According to Healthline, most of the limited studies performed to examine any potential health dangers from EMFs have been described as ‘inconclusive’. In their conclusion, they state: “Currently, there’s no solid evidence that 5G causes negative health effects in humans or animals. Most researchers have studied EMFs in general and found mixed results.”

Is that comforting? 5G towers are going up everywhere, affecting all of us one way or another, and the best we can get are ‘mixed results.’ The same fears were going around at advent of the microwave oven, so perhaps it offers a small measure of comforting that after 60+ years, nobody has died from a microwave oven – unless it dropped on their head (no known cases of that, either).

The surprising thing is that very few studies exist about the potential effects of 5G, which can use both high and low frequencies, but the smart money in the scientific community is that it will be predominantly high frequency, which harbor the possibilities of more harmful effects.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the public is casually exposed to very low frequencies of EMFs from a variety of technologies - levels deemed too low to cause considerable tissue heating or other concerns, such as cognitive loss or cancer.

As with all new or exponentially upgraded technologies, we will have to wait and see.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What will 5G enable us to do?

A:  5G will provide higher bandwidths, lower latency, and increased connectivity to mobile broadband. With 5G, data will travel faster over wider coverage areas.

Q: Is 5G an information technology?

A: 5G is more of a support mechanism – a conduit – for information technology. It is a road rather than a car. 5G is simply the 5th Generation of mobile networks which allows information to move around faster.

Q: Is 5G faster than Wi-Fi?

A:  According to a 2021 Opensignal analysis, they found that 5G mmWave is faster overall than Wi-Fi in both directions.

Q: How do I know if my neighborhood has 5G?

A: Ookla provides a map of 5G coverage at www.speedtest.net/ookla-5g-map that is very easy to navigate.

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