In today’s age of connectivity, information – verified or not – travels far and wide. An interesting topic that has made the rounds concerns 5G and its alleged dangers due to the emission of radio waves. Simply put, there is no evidence that 5G – at the various frequencies it is transmitted on – is causing illness to end users.
According to an expert in the field, Professor Tharek Abdul Rahman from the Faculty of Electronic Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 5G technology uses radio frequency, which is the same used by radio (FM and AM), television, mobile phones, WiFi and even satellites. Tharek is also a commissioner with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
He explains that in the electromagnetic spectrum, radio and light frequencies, including infrared, are classified as non-ionizing, which means that these waves do not emit enough energy to negatively impact health and cause the cancer. The only noticeable effect of these waves is a slight heating effect.
He cites the sun as an example: “The frequency emitted by the sun is 1,000 times higher than radio frequency – in this aspect you can see that the sun emits an even higher frequency than the radio waves we use. However, since the frequency is non-ionizing, it is still safe and does not cause cancer or other adverse health effects. The most dangerous frequencies come from UV rays, X-rays and gamma rays.
In addition, MCMC has conducted electromagnetic frequency (EMF) research with local universities.
All reviews conducted so far have indicated that exposure below the limits recommended in the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP EMF) guidelines, covering the entire frequency range of 0-300 GHz, does not produces no known adverse health effects.
New connectivity, new applications
5G is a global telecommunications standard that, when fully fleshed out, will enable mass connectivity between people and devices on a scale currently unattainable with the current 4G network.
With significant bandwidth and latency improvements over the current 4G network, 5G could be an economic game-changer, enabling unprecedented levels of connectivity across many industries.
For example, the health sector is a major potential beneficiary. The vastly improved connectivity and data volume capabilities would, for starters, allow for non-emergency home consultations, diagnostics and monitoring.
Called “remote patient monitoring”, it is a large ecosystem of wearable, non-invasive home healthcare devices that could seamlessly connect and transmit crucial health data to a doctor or to a hospital server. This allows healthcare providers to monitor patients, both remotely and in near real time.
In the longer term, 5G connectivity could be associated with currently available but highly specialized robotic surgical applications. The technology could eventually mature to the point where a doctor in one location could remotely control a surgical machine in another location with nearly imperceptible delay and pinpoint precision.
With 5G already available in parts of Selangor, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur and Johor, Malaysia is well on its way to realizing its digital aspirations.
By the end of June, coverage will extend to parts of Penang and Perak, with Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak to follow by the end of Q3 2022.