The fifth generation (5G) of mobile technology is emerging as a superior communication network, delivering increased speeds, coverage and reliability. This innovative network is bringing about the reality of Internet of Things (IoT) as it is able to handle significantly more devices. However, as with any new technology, there are some disadvantages to be considered. Here’s what we know about 5G.
6 Disadvantages of 5G
1. Obstructions can impact connectivity
The range of 5G connectivity is not great as the frequency waves are only able to travel a short distance. Added to this setback is the fact that 5G frequency is interrupted by physical obstructions such as trees, towers, walls and buildings. The obtrusions will either block, disrupt or absorb the high-frequency signals. To counter this setback, the telecom industry is extending existing cell towers to increase the broadcast distance.
2. Initial costs for rollout are high
The costs related to the development of 5G infrastructure or adaptations to existing cellular infrastructure will be high. This amount will be further compounded by the ongoing maintenance costs needed to ensure the high-speed connectivity, and it’s likely the customers will bare the brunt of these big price tags. Cellular operators are looking to minimise these costs by exploring alternative options in the form of network sharing.
3. Limitations of rural access
While 5G might bring about real connectivity for the predominantly urban areas, those living in the rural settings will not necessarily benefit from the connection. As it stands, many remote areas countrywide are not able to access any form of cellular connectivity. The 5G carriers are going to target big cities with larger populations, eventually working their way into the outer areas, but it’s not likely this will be happening any time soon. As a result, only some of the population will benefit from 5G communication.
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4. Battery drain on devices
When it comes to cellular devices connected to 5G, it seems the batteries are not able to operate for a significant period of time. The battery technology needs to advance to allow for this enhanced connectivity, where a single charge will power a cellphone for a full day. Alongside depleted batteries, users are reporting that cellphones are getting increasingly hot when operating on 5G.
5. Upload speeds don’t match download speeds
The download speeds of 5G technology are incredibly high, in some cases up to 1.9Gbps. However, the upload speeds are rarely more than 100Mbps, which is not quite as incredible as initially touted. In relation to existing mobile connectivity, however, the upload speeds are higher than being seen with 4G LTE.
6. Detracting from the aesthetics
The erection of more cellphone towers, or extension of existing cellphone towers, is not welcomed by most communities because they are seen to diminish the overall look and feel of an area. With 5G, there is going to be a need for increased infrastructure development, which won’t necessarily be seen as a good thing for local residents.
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With all new technology, there are going to be some initial drawbacks as the system becomes more refined, but 5G does have a number of benefits to outweigh any downside. The enhanced speeds and reliability will see 5G continue to dominate the communication market, particularly as infrastructure develops and its range becomes more extensive.
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