Could the 5G Future Pose a Health Risk?

Dan Jones
5/12/2016
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Super-fast 5G wireless is still years away from widespread commercial service but researchers are already wondering if the new networks -- which will feature many more radios than previous cellular architectures deployed very densely in towns and cities -- could pose a health risk to the general public.

Massey University in New Zealand has announced this week that it got funding to investigate if there will be any adverse effects of electromagnetic radiation to human health caused by the next generation of telecommunication networks called 5G. The research will take place through 2017.

5G -- Fifth Generation -- wireless is expected to be tens or even hundreds of times faster than 4G, downloading a movie over the network in mere seconds. To achieve that speed -- and provide exciting new applications on future networks -- 5G will use higher frequencies and be deployed more densely than previous cellular networks, which have largely been determined to be safe for us puny humans, ever have before. (See 5G: What Is It & Why Does It Matter? and 5G: As Close as You'll Get to a Jet Pack!.)

"With some industry giants predicting 50 billion connected devices by 2020 and with the employment of much higher transmission frequencies proposed for the 5G rollout, it is essential to determine how the future of telecommunications will affect the health of its users," principal investigator Dr. Faraz Hasan says in the announcement.

Hasan is talking about centimeter and millimeter waves, which have previously only been used in very limited short-range fixed wireless and mobile backhaul applications. It is anticipated with the coming of 5G, frequencies like 15GHz, 28GHz, 39GHz and 60GHz could be put into widespread usage, and these short-range, high-speed signals would require thousands (maybe millions) more radios and antennas to be dotted round the cityscape. 4G networks today are typically built around low- and medium-band radio spectrum (600MHz to 2.5GHz in the US) and a backbone of cell towers with some distributed antennas and smaller radios to extend coverage. (See Sprint: We're Building a 5G-Ready Network, Not a 4G Relic.)

Operators, researchers and vendors are now turning that model of deployment on its head with plans that will mix some large towers with many, many more small radios using higher frequencies than ever before. So, naturally, health concerns about incredibly dense radio network networks in urban environments are starting to bubble to the surface. (See Sprint's Saw: '5G' Opp Is Moving Signal Closer to Customers.)

There's a further wrinkle to the 5G radios that it is not even clear from the announcement whether this research will grapple with or not. The FCC, for instance, keeps very tight limits on the antenna power limits allowed for different fixed and mobile applications. Carriers in the US, however, are starting to ask the agency if they can increase the amount of Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) -- that's peak antenna gain -- used for millimetre wave applications.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) said this in a filing to the FCC in January this year.

    'Conventional' base station antenna gains for other mobile uses typically have gains in the 9–25dBi range because they are limited by practical antenna size. In mmW bands, however, gains from 20–45 dBi can be achieved depending upon beamwidths desired. A base station power limit of between 68 and 75 dBm EIRP is thus more appropriate for these higher frequency bands than the 62 dBm EIRP maximum proposed based on the properties of other spectrum.

So there you go, gentle reader, we don't think you'll be accidentally sterilized by the super-high power radio waves of the 5G future but we don't yet fully know what effect incredibly dense mmWave radio networks pumping out really hot signals might have!

Maybe don't throw out that tin foil hat just yet.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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EMFConsu32321
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EMFConsu32321,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/8/2016 | 7:13:11 PM
Biological Microwave Experiment

Consumers are increasing the demand for more bandwidth (volume of data) at an exponential rate.  The telecom companies are racing to keep up.  There are thousands of peer reviewed studies that show there is biological harm at radiation levels 10, 100 & 1,000 times below the drastically outdated FCC Thermal maximum permisable eposure limits (MPE).  The FCC will not even look at biological damage because it would mean a severe reduction in current radaition levels.  The evidence is damming and the harm is very great.

I have three sudies in my briefcase that show that severity and variety of human injury increases the closer you get to a cell antenna and that 90% of symptoms go away when the cell antenna is removed.  Go figure!

We need precation before we deploy any more microwave power density upon civillians.  Us it on an army base or in the halls of the U.S. Congress first.

Eric Windheim BBEC, EMRS,

Building Biologist, Electromagnetic Radiation Specialist

WindheimEMFsolutions.com
jayakd0
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jayakd0,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/1/2016 | 10:11:51 PM
what about other fauna and flora ?
Interesting discussions, wish the standard bodies take notice of our fellow readers' contributions :)

Hope we should also discuss (with equal seriousness) what is the effect of mm waves on other forms of life on this planet!
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/1/2016 | 7:54:58 PM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
>  More likely it's a nice money grab for the university.

Is that not the point of all grant-funded studies?  ;)
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/18/2016 | 12:12:52 PM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
t.bogataj

" I should have known that some specimens are hopeless."

Look who's talking.

"some further advice."

No need for your advice. Actually, you need mine.

" Open http://www.neteera.com/imgs/site/ntext/PMB2009-TheElectromagnetic.pdf "

And what does that study got to do with 28~70 Ghz frequency as used in 5G? It's 75 Ghz and up in that study.

Additionally, take a look at Figure 11. The reflection coefficient of human palm is 0.56 at 75 Ghz, and almost certainly be much higher at 28 Ghz if measured, even though palm is one of less reflective dry body parts.

Your body is mostly covered with moist skin, and the reflection cofficient can reach as high as 0.9 in frequencies designated for 5G communications.

"I am concluding at this point -- sapienti sat."

And I have disproven you.
t.bogataj
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t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/18/2016 | 4:00:26 AM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
TV Monitor,

I was glad to see you were finally trying to learn. I was wrong and naive. I should have known that some specimens are hopeless.

Nevertheless, some further advice.

First, do read the very article you referred to (I mean READ). If you do not understand what the S-parametres are, ask your colleagues (outside your marketing department).

Second, follow the trail. Open http://www.neteera.com/imgs/site/ntext/PMB2009-TheElectromagnetic.pdf and read the article (I mean READ). If you do not understand what it is about, ask your colleagues (outside your marketing department).

In the end, you may be able to understand about small reflection coefficients, mostly below 0.1. Which will confirm my earlier claim that majority of EM waves penetrates the body. QED.

I am concluding at this point -- sapienti sat.

T.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/17/2016 | 2:08:17 PM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
t.bogataj

"Read the graphs in Figs. 2 and 3 of your second reference: S11 of the boundary is above -5dB for frequencies in question. Which confirms my earlier claim that majority of EM waves penetrates the body; in this case, around 70 %. Period. QED."

What are you talking about? Figure 2 shows magitute of -2 ~ - 2.5 db for forearms. This is the skin type that covers most of your body.

Finger tip has -4.5 db, but finger tip is exactly finger tip.

In other word, most of mmwave reflects back off your skin with a minimal signal attenuation.

You just disproved and owned yourself, Mr. self-destructing suicide bomber! LOL!

How can you own yourself not just once but twice?
t.bogataj
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t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/17/2016 | 1:42:47 PM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
TV Monitor,

Finally! You seem to be doing your homework. It may take some time for you to be able to grasp it all, but keep pursuing the goal. No one is bound to be a loser, and everybody can at some point reach an acceptable level of mediocrity. Some day, you may win too.

Read the graphs in Figs. 2 and 3 of your second reference: S11 of the boundary is above -5dB for frequencies in question. Which confirms my earlier claim that majority of EM waves penetrates the body; in this case, around 70 %. Period. QED.

To properly interpret the figures in Fig. 4, you will need to understand how EM waves cross two subsequent boundaries. Back to the books, TV Monitor!

T.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/17/2016 | 12:46:35 PM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
t. bogataj

"if this is the best (and only?) source you can refer to -- too bad for you."

The mmwave reflection coefficient of human skin is very high based on an actual measurement.

http://purl.tue.nl/55608121517719.pdf

It is less watery tissue like finger nail that's less reflective, but skin will reflect most of mmwave back. And think about it, 24~30 Ghz was specifically chosen by mmwave scanner vendors for this very high reflection coefficient property, and the proposed 28 Ghz 5G falls within this frequency spectrum.

So I won, you lost.
t.bogataj
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t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/17/2016 | 12:08:54 PM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
TV Monitor,

if this is the best (and only?) source you can refer to -- too bad for you.

Never heard of a reflection coefficient? No? In the "Propagation of EM waves" section? No?

I warmly suggest you to write about things you DO understand.

For your enlightenment: when an EM wave passes a boundary between matters with different EM properties (read: ε and μ), a part of it reflects back, the other penetrates further, as dictated by the reflection coefficient (read: Γ). In case of scanners, Γ is small but not negligible, just big enough to produce detectable reading. Vast majority of EM waves penetrates the body, in which it is absorbed due to non-negligible conductivity and small penetration depth.

(Back) to school, TV Monitor.

T.
TV Monitor
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TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/17/2016 | 11:24:39 AM
Re: "Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer."
t.bogataj

Some refresher for you.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/millimeter-wave-scanner.htm

"The other type of scanner uses a competing technology known as millimeter wave (mmw) imaging. These machines work on the same principles, except they emit a special type of microwave, not X-ray. Two rotating transmitters produce the waves as a passenger stands still inside the machine. The energy passes through clothing, bounces off the person's skin -- as well as any potential threats -- and then returns to two receivers, which send images, front and back, to an operator station."

So you learned a small thing you didn't know today.

If the mmwave actually penetrates skin like X-ray, then the whole mmwave scanning at airports do not work.

It is this bounding off property that is used to achieve NLOS(Non-Line Of Sight) link in mmwave communication.

So repeat after me to ensure that you have learned your lesson correctly.

Low frequency wave penerates. (Hence the cellphone brain cancer scare)

High frequency wave bounces off.

Got that?
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