Technology is moving on, and people are trying to keep up. As telephone service providers expand their service into the fifth generation of wireless technology (5G), companies such as Apple and Samsung are designing phones that can operate on the expanding network. However, this expanding network comes with a multitude of challenges, despite the numerous claims of benefits.
5G technology is expected to handle more devices, meaning stronger service in busy areas and faster responses from servers to establish a connection. The more rapid responses associated with 5G means that download speed has increased to about ten times faster than the current 4G network.
Faster typically means better, hence the push for 5G and why people are eager to get on the new network. Yet, to live up to the promise of faster, mobile carriers have to use high-band wave frequencies, and with these frequencies, the waves are short. To increase the length of these waves, engineers are looking into using small cells, which are medium-sized boxes that are mountable on buildings. To truly make 5G expandable and nationwide, these boxes will have to be placed everywhere.
Besides having gawky boxes on every street corner, 5G seems to encourage wastefulness. Since this is a brand new network, new devices will have to be purchased to operate on 5G. For example, Apple recently released the iPhone 12 with 5G capabilities, despite recently releasing the iPhone SE in April. On top of getting a new phone, other devices, such as thermostats and doorbells, will have to be newly purchased and ensured they have 5G capabilities. This not only encourages wastefulness but consumerism, a growing problem in society.
5G is also not as inclusive as companies advertise. Current 5G is being operated in major cities, but it does not look like there are any strides in expanding to rural areas. West Virginia still struggles with basic internet access. There are even places in Southeastern Ohio that do not have any coverage. Only some populations are privileged to have 5G access, while some regions of the country are left without any coverage.
Instead of making great strides to push a brand new wireless technology on people, mobile carriers should expand the current technology. When most operations, such as school and work, are virtual, all areas must have access to reliable a reliable network. Making sure everyone has access to broadband service should be the goal, instead of pushing another wireless technology onto people.
Iana Fields is a sophomore studying English creative writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Iana? Tweet her @FieldsIana.