5G Demystified

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Depending on what you read, 5G is either a dark threat to society, the impetus for the next industrial revolution, or a marketing ploy to get us to buy new phones and tablets. Seldom has an emerging technology been so widely known yet so misunderstood. 

For this reason, IEEE Future Networks has developed a free virtual event series, 5G Demystified, where we will gather experts to make sense of 5G’s potential and status in a way that non-engineers can understand and appreciate. Below is information on each of the four parts that will take place on LinkedIn Live during the last four months of 2022.

Each event is moderated by David Witkowski, author and entrepreneur who co-chairs the IEEE Future Networks Deployment working group, and who hosted the eLearning course Bridging the 4G/5G Gap. That on-demand course was developed to educate non-engineer staffers at U.S. towns and cities about what they need to know when industry wants to build new 5G telecommunications infrastructure in their community.

Part 1: Hype vs. Reality of 5G

From the public’s perspective, 5G has been hyped at a fever pitch for several years now, but the impact on everyday life has been limited. TV commercials drop terms like “ultra-wideband” or “extended range” and our phones sometimes show 5G where LTE used to be – but has anyone noticed an impact? In this IEEE panel discussion, experts will discuss the challenges created by how the wireless carriers have decided to promote 5G, and what the REAL value of 5G technology is likely to be. (Hint: It’s not for consumers or phones.)


Part 2: Broadband Is Infrastructure? 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a major flaw in global infrastructure when it turned out that millions (if not billions) of people were unable to work or attend school from home due to lack of reliable connections to the internet. With the digital divide a concern even in “first world” countries, internet access has taken its place alongside roads, bridges and utilities as a new kind of infrastructure in the purview of governments. In this IEEE panel discussion, experts will discuss the impact that this shift in thinking is having on local governments, property values, our visual environment, and on the rural communities that struggle to obtain broadband access.


Part 3: Health and Safety of 5G 

From a public perception standpoint, 5G technology can’t catch a break. Various internet theories tied it to cancer, then to the COVID-19 virus, and then the US Federal Aviation Administration claimed it could endanger airplanes while landing in low visibility. In a world of propaganda and misinformation, how are the public and policymakers supposed to make sense of any individual claim? In this IEEE webinar, we will have brief expert presentations on the science and standards of human health effects from electromagnetic radio waves in 5G communications.


Part 4: Will 5G Kill Wi-FI? 

We use Wi-Fi at home because it offers speeds better than our LTE phones get. But if 5G will provide speeds 10x better than LTE, will that mean we no longer need Wi-Fi at home? Will public Wi-Fi become as antiquated as internet cafes? In this IEEE webinar, we will have brief expert presentations on the battle for last mile connectivity between 5G and Wi-Fi and recent advances on how these two technologies may co-mingle.