Most people don’t know very much about 5G cell towers and their networks, even if they own 5G phones. Understanding the technology we all use can help us use it more effectively and safely.
According to research, a great number of people rely on our smartphones and mobile data to keep up in this fast-paced world. Accessing so many different things right on our phones helps us to stay connected. They also help us get more done and stay safe. Consequently, having a faster, more reliable network helps accomplish all these things, no matter where you are in the world.
What are 5G Cell Towers?
The 5G cell phone towers have a primary component called a mast. The mast is what takes the data from a device and transmits it across the network. They are tall metal towers with transmitter boxes at the top. Having these boxes located at the top of a tower allows the signal to take in more area.
One concern about what 5G cell towers look like is the damaging effect it may have on the aesthetics. A couple of decades ago, carriers were required to plant trees to hide the cell towers. After a few years, the network quality reduced in quality by the trees’ growth.
Consequently, painting masts placed in rural areas brown or green to help them blend in with their surrounding environment is standard practice. This causes them to have less of an impact on visual aesthetics while still maintaining functionality.
Small Cell 5G Towers
In some areas, the taller masts are not a feasible option for functionality. In these cases, 5G small cell towers have to fill in the gap. When small towers emit the signal, there needs to be more of them. Consequently, this makes more massive towers better to use when possible. Installing small towers on street furniture, lamp posts, bus shelters, and on top of buildings is a common practice.
These towers focus on speed and capacity instead of coverage because they are typical for urban areas. These towers are compact but can vary in size. Because fiber is not available in all regions, wireless backhaul becomes an important feature.
An issue with these small cell towers is the sheer volume needed and planning restrictions. Since there is not a common framework, each small cell needs its own planning application. With how many small towers are required in order to service an area, this becomes a daunting and time-consuming task. The amount of paperwork means that things can get tangled up in red tape for a long time.
Are There 5G Towers Near Me?
If you do not have a 5G device, you may not know the location of 5G towers. Finding 5G towers can be a bit tricky. There are steps you can take to make sure that you have up-to-date data on their locations.
One of the best resources for locating a map of 5G towers is the Ookla 5G map. Their map is updated weekly and covers the entire globe, giving you the most current and comprehensive information.
On their website, you will be able to see a 5G cell tower map and narrow your search. You can use your search to include your area and just the kinds of towers you want to find. This shows you the various locations of the towers and where there is service from those towers.
The filters that you can choose from include commercial availability, limited availability, and pre-release. This means you can find towers available right now to everyone, towers with correct infrastructure, and limited availability towers. You can also find in-progress towers. It is probably best to search for all types to get a feel for what is in your area.
After selecting the filters, zoom on the map to your area to find 5G tower locations on the map. The closer you get to your area, the more details about the towers you can see. Different colored circles signify different tower locations on the Ookla map that will let you know the type of tower.
Next, you will see each circle also has a number inside. That number lets you know how many carriers offer 5G in that area. Finally, clicking on the circle will open up a box that will give you more details. It will show what carriers provide service and the type of tower.
There are other ways you can look for 5G towers in your area. Different cell phone carriers use cellular maps. These maps show where they offer coverage and where their towers exist. You will only be able to see towers for one carrier this way, but it does provide some more details not found on other maps.
Looking up this data on cellular maps will show the difference between low-band and high-band signals. This shows you whether the towers are the large mast towers or the small towers. Large towers will be prominent. Small towers connect to existing structures.
Does 5G Require More Cell Towers?
5G wireless networks increase the speed of current networks by 100 times. The technology used produces a 5G signal that cannot travel more than 100 meters. This is a shorter distance than the current signals on a 4G network can travel. Consequently, this means constructing new towers to add to the existing network in order to make faster speeds and new technology feasible.
Will 5G Replace Cell Towers?
Right now, it looks like the transition to 5G will take a while to implement. Because of this, it is not going to replace regular 4G cell towers anytime soon. Next, carriers can use existing towers for 5G signals with some upgrades. The transition will likely be slow and will use existing cell towers when possible. This integrates the new technology with the older to make for a smooth transition.
These 5G towers bring much faster speeds, a more substantial capacity, and very low latency characteristics. This helps cell phone networks to provide reliable connectivity. Upgrading technology means redesigning and rethinking how things work and installing updates when necessary.
There are three main parts of a mobile network: radio, transport, and core. 5G networks are powered by a cloud-based center that allows things to be more reliable and accessible. It also provides for physical functions to move around the network. After upgrading the technology on the 5G cell towers near you, there is a more straightforward application of new features.
How Safe are 5G Cell Towers?
Some people are concerned about the higher frequency RF waves used by 5G networks. That makes some people think it is posing a health threat to people living in the area. 5G networks use a combination of wavelengths. Some are the same wavelengths used by 3G and 4G networks which are less than 6GHz, and some in a range of 30GHz to 300GHz; the latter are higher frequency wavelengths, meaning higher energy. At the same time, according to science, they are not powerful enough to change DNA.
Note that, at the time of writing, there hasn’t been a lot of research showing that 5G RF wavelengths are any more or any less dangerous than the current 3G and 4G RF wavelengths.
In addition, the official consensus is, that the World Health Organization assessed 5G signals and deemed them as not a public health risk. After that, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection did a study and found 5G to be safe after extensive research into the matter. Both of these organizations are separate and not tied to any cell phone provider or commercial entity. That assures us that the research is trustworthy and unbiased.
The research done by these organizations studied many different effects that the signals might have on public health. They looked into the potential development of cancer as a result of prolonged exposure to radio waves and found the fear behind these claims to be unfounded.
Finally, a telecoms regulator in the UK conducted safety tests on 5G base stations. They found that radiation levels were minuscule and well under the safety limits. The regulator focused on conducting tests in 16 5G sites and ten towns across the Uk where mobile use is the highest. The maximum amount of radiation levels was 1.5% of the safety levels.
Even with these studies backing up 5G network safety, there are other guidelines in place that will increase protection even more.
Having said all that, the jury is still out on all these official theories. I do see however some individuals conducting their own due diligence on how safe 5G cell towers are, check those out here in the following videos.
The importance of 5G towers is steadily growing. As the demand we place on our mobile devices increases, so does our need for faster speeds. We can see that with each jump in wireless technology, new innovations spring up.
When the networks switched from 3G to 4G, we saw faster data transfer speeds. This paved the way for cloud supported data storage and streaming services. It also allowed for video conferencing. The ability to connect more devices to the internet, like smartwatches and digital home assistants, also emerged.
Upgrading from 4G to 5G is no exception to this trend. If we take the step and move into the world of 5G, we will likely see new innovations. Next, inventions develop that we are not even cognizant of right now. We may also see growth in areas like virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
Understanding new technology can go a long way toward reducing fear and embracing a new and improved way of life. Having access to faster speeds and more capabilities of a wireless network will mean ushering in a new age of technological developments and progress.
Fact is we can not stop progress, however we can understand how to mange the risks that come along this progress.