Holy Cow: 5G technology is being used to monitor the health of cows, with collars that track eating and sleeping patterns and day-to-day health. Image: Forsythes Technology

Holy Cow: 5G technology is being used to monitor the health of cows, with collars that track eating and sleeping patterns and day-to-day health. Image: Forsythes Technology

Web-enhancing 5G technology expands

5G technology holds great promise for the progression of the internet of things

Technology
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5G allows more internet connections and downloads at faster speeds.

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Fifth-generation wireless technology is set to become all-pervasive in the Hunter Region, as a new era of futuristic and interconnected communication materialises.

This mobile technology, known as 5G, has attracted widespread attention for its progressive capabilities.

Opponents have made wild claims about the technology, without citing valid research or evidence.

Michael Wilson, of Newcastle-based Forsythes Technology, said 5G would become mainstream this year.

"Telstra is rapidly deploying this technology with 50 per cent of Australians now covered, including much of Newcastle and the Hunter," Mr Wilson said.

"It plans to have 75 per cent of the population covered by June this year. Increasing 5G coverage and investment in the technology will drive take-up."

Mr Wilson said the speed of the technology would be "a game-changer".

Tests of 5G download speeds showed Telstra had an average speed of 231 mbps [megabits per second], almost five times the speed of 4G [fourth-generation mobile technology].

"Governments, carriers [like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone], device manufactures and businesses have realised that 5G can facilitate amazing possibilities," Mr Wilson said.

5G allows more internet connections and downloads at faster speeds. Huge investments have been made in 5G-compatible networks, devices and applications.

"5G offers 10 times greater device capacity than 4G, meaning it can handle many more high-demand devices at once," he said.

"The productivity impacts of 5G will be felt widely."

The federal bureau of communications has estimated that 5G will add $1300 to $2000 in gross domestic product per person, after the first decade of its rollout.

"Agriculture is one sector that's set to be transformed and one that I'm personally passionate about, having grown up on a dairy farm," Mr Wilson said.

"I see huge scope for internet of things' applications and 5G is an enabler of many of these."

The internet of things refers to a myriad of web-connected devices that are merging the physical and digital worlds.

Read more: It's the NBN, turbocharged

This includes so-called "5G-connected cows", which enable farmers to track cattle's eating and sleeping patterns, rumination, fertility and day-to-day health.

Mr Wilson said 5G would also "greatly accelerate augmented reality", which involves overlaying data into the physical environment.

"I see massive applications for this within lots of industries such as mining, heavy industry and manufacturing," he said.

The nation that dominates 5G technology will gain a big economic advantage. Given this potential, 5G technology has been a target for geopolitical propaganda.

The New York Times has reported that the Russian TV network RT [Russia Today] was a key source of disinformation about the 5G network.

Yet conspiracy theorists and those on the lunatic fringe, including religious-like information cults such as QAnon, have further spread these falsehoods.

Meanwhile, Vladmir Putin promoted Russian 5G networks.

Head of the federal Health Department, Professor Brendan Murphy, has said that "5G technology is safe".

"There is no evidence telecommunication technologies, such as 5G, cause adverse health impacts," Mr Murphy said in a statement last year, as hysteria rose about the technology.

This position has been supported by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the World Health Organisation.

"Mobile phone networks and other wireless telecommunications emit low-powered radio waves also known as radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME). This is different to ionising radiation associated with nuclear energy or use in medicine," Mr Murphy said.

"The radio waves to which the general public is exposed from telecommunications are not hazardous to human health."

The World Health Organisation states that "tissue heating is the main mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency fields and the human body".

"Radiofrequency exposure levels from current technologies result in negligible temperature rise in the human body," it said.

"Provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated."

The story Web-enhancing 5G technology expands first appeared on Newcastle Herald.

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