What does 5G mean for the environment?

Highlights 

  • With the high-pace revolution, 5G is already in operation in more than 30% of the world's countries.
  • 5G magnifies the scope of wireless internet reaching everywhere, from smart cars to the internet of things (IoT).
  • It is yet to be seen if 5G turns out to be a windfall or just another tool that leads to environmental degradation

When the first-generation wireless technology came out in the 1980s, no one would have thought what the fifth generation (5G) could do? Now, we live in a world where the role of the internet is dramatically growing across sectors. Interestingly, COVID-19 has even escalated the transition. With professional services and education delivered online, the capabilities of the internet are no longer questioned.

With the high-pace revolution, 5G is already in operation in more than 30% of the world's countries, including the USA, China, and the UK. That is why it is highly essential to decode the effects of 5G on the environment for a greener and sustainable future.

RELATED READ: All you need to know about 5G technology in Australia

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5G in a nutshell

The 5G is the most advanced version of wireless mobile technology. Deployed in 2019 for the first time, it promises 100 times faster pace than 4G. It provides better broadband for cell phones, faster and more reliable communication, and machine-to-machine communication.

What does 5G mean for the environment?

The 5G magnifies the scope of wireless internet reaching everywhere, from smart cars to the internet of things (IoT). Above all, because of the 5G, all the possible devices can be connected through the internet and work without human intervention.

However, when it comes to technological advancement, the first concern is about the environmental impacts of the same. Each technology consumes some degree of power. So, does the 5G. Thus, it is imperative to understand what 5G means for the environment.

The downside of 5G

  • With the new generation of wireless technology, the usage of power also increases.
  • As the demand for 5G increases, the demand for new devices with 5G support also increases. Unfortunately, manufacturing of components leads to environmental deterioration.
  • The technology that 5G uses causes adverse effects on even birds, creating an ecological imbalance.

Nevertheless, there is a vast scope of development in the area. And, if climate change is kept in mind while moving ahead with 5G, positive impact on the environment can be expected.

The break in the clouds

  • The IoT that works with 5G uses lesser power as it shuts automatically when not in use.
  • Sensors attached in transportation, factors, etc., can analyse energy usage efficiently.
  • 5G can also function on microgrids when the main grid is unavailable. And this enhances the scope to integrate renewable sources into the grid.

It seems like the 5th generation of wireless technology has a whole list of pros and cons for the environment. To accelerate the rate of 5G, it is crucial to make necessary alterations, so that it doesn't worsen climatic conditions in the long run.

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The saviour: If 5G becomes more sustainable

  • Since the 5G consumes tons of energy, it is vital to decarbonise the power system.
  • Lesser fossil fuel dependency for electricity generation and more inclination towards renewables will help reduce carbon emissions.
  • Scientists across countries are working on biodegradable sensors. Once we have those, precious metals will no longer be needed for manufacturing sensors.

Bottom line

Conclusively, it is yet to be seen if 5G turns out to be a windfall or just another tool that leads to environmental degradation. With cautious planning and implementation, we can reach the goal post of better technology for both environment and technological advancements.

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