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5G radiation no worse than microwaves or baby monitors: Australian telcos

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The electromagnetic energy (EME) produced as a result of using 5G is much the same as many household items, Australia’s two largest telcos have said.

The pair have added that the use of small cells is also not a cause for concern.

“EME in the home from mobile networks is typically below those emitted by standard household devices such as a microwave oven or baby monitor,” Optus wrote in a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications Inquiry into 5G.

“Some of these concerns are being fuelled by false and alarmist claims from unreliable sources. Both industry and government need to work harder to counter any misinformation and ensure that the community is armed with the facts to enable it to embrace the technology that will bring so many benefits to people’s lives.”

Testifying to the committee last week, Telstra said small cells provide faster connections and better response times at lower EME levels.

“Leading up to the public launch of 5G with the 3.5GHz network…. What we found again was that they were getting a much faster response time, because the network was quicker and you could deliver the signal quicker,” Telstra principal of 5G EME strategy Mike Wood said.

“That meant that the signal was lower and the EME levels were lower — in fact, they were very similar to 3G, 4G and WiFi.”

Echoing the thoughts on EME levels being similar to household items, Wood said 5G EME was similar to walkie-talkies, WiFi hotspots, key tags, and remote controls.

“What we find is that because 5G’s very efficient, it typically runs at a lower level than an everyday device in your house like a baby monitor or a microwave oven,” he said.

“When we’ve done our tests on our 5G network, they’re typically 1,000 to 10,000 times less than what we get from other devices. So when you add all of that up together, it’s all very low in terms of total emission. But you’re finding that 5G is in fact a lot lower than many other devices we use in our everyday lives.”

See also: Telstra chair likens 5G health truthers to anti-vaccination and Flat Earth movements

Wood added there is no evidence for cancer or non-thermal effects from radio frequency EME.

“There’s some evidence for biological effects, but none of these are non-adverse,” Wood told the committee.

“So they’ve really looked at all of the research they need to set a safety standard, and in summary what they said is that, if you follow the guidelines, they’re protective of all people, including children.”

On the issue of governmental revenue raising from its upcoming spectrum sale, Optus said it would be wrong of government to view it as a cash cow, as every dollar spent on spectrum is not used on creating networks.

“Critically, in order to achieve the coverage and deployment required, 5G networks will require significant amounts of spectrum,” the Singaporean-owned telco wrote.

“Government risks stifling the deployment of 5G networks … if it focuses too heavily on the money obtained through allocations rather than on the economic (not to mention social) value created by the use of the spectrum.”

Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) told Senate Estimates that spectrum sales should be less concerned about making money from spectrum and more concerned about providing the best value for consumers.

“Our view at the ACCC has always been we’re not so much concerned with the money raised from spectrum; we just want to make sure the spectrum can go to players so that they can operate in the market and be competitive in the market,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said at the time after Labor questioned the dollar figure the spectrum was sold for.

Also speaking last week, the Queensland Water Directorate as well as Seqwater noted a number of issues they have with telco equipment located on their water towers, including not being able to switch off equipment in emergencies without violating the Federal Criminal Code.

“It’s very hard when we’ve got a lot of overcrowding on some of these towers and we have a number of unknowns and we cannot locate the owners,” Seqwater legal counsel Carmel Serratore said.

“In particular, in circumstances where carriers have actually plugged into our main switchboard and we can’t do isolations, it can become problematic in emergencies and things like that. I understand it comes from the old Criminal Code, and the legislation is probably a bit out of date.”

In its submission, Seqwater called for a process whereby it should be able to remove unknown equipment after “genuine efforts” have been made to locate the owner, as well as notifying ACMA.

Queensland Water Directorate CEO David Cameron pointed out the issue the mobile equipment can have on maintenance of water assets.

“It’s ironic. At the end of the day, both are essential services when you’re dealing with cyclones or major events or whatever it might be,” he said.

“But at those times, when things get hectic, they can almost be competing services, if you can’t manage the power issues for the telecommunications and you can’t fix a hole in a reservoir roof.”

In an earlier submission to the committee, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) said the use of higher frequencies in 5G does not mean higher exposure levels.

“Current research indicates that there is no established evidence for health effects from radio waves used in mobile telecommunications. This includes the upcoming roll-out of the 5G network. ARPANSA’s assessment is that 5G is safe,” the agency said.

If exposed to energy levels 50 times higher than the Australian standard, heating of tissue can occur, such as when welding or exposed to AM radio towers, but that is why safety precautions are taken, ARPANSA said.

The submission also reiterated the scientific fact that radio waves are non-ionising, and cannot break chemical bonds that could lead to DNA damage.

ARPANSA struck out at bogus science circulated online as not having balance, cherry-picking data, and not taking a weight of evidence approach.

“No single scientific study, considered in isolation, will provide a meaningful answer to the question of whether or not radio waves can cause (or contribute to) adverse health effects in people, animals or the environment,” the submission said.

Related Coverage

Global 5G population to hit 2.6B in 2025: Ericsson

Some 65% of the world’s population will have 5G coverage by end-2025, which networks will handle 45% of all mobile data traffic.

Telstra seeing one in four Android handsets sold being 5G capable

Australia’s incumbent telco also turns on 5G for 15 more regional centres in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland.

South Korea to double 5G spectrum by 2026

South Korea has currently allocated 2,680MHz for 5G use but aims to add up to another 2,640MHz by 2026.

IDC: Smartphone sales to surge in 2020 due to China’s push into 5G (TechRepublic)

Three years of declining smartphone sales are expected to reverse next year as consumers buy into the 5G market.

How to navigate cybersecurity in a 5G world (TechRepublic)

With 5G comes a larger attack surface and more devices accessing the network. Companies must ramp up security strategies to stay protected, an AT&T Cybersecurity report finds.



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This Brand Makes The Worst Android Phones, According To 27% Of People We Polled

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Most respondents who participated in our poll seem to earnestly believe that Xiaomi makes the worst Android phones out there. More than 27% of the polled users think Xiaomi deserves this particular crown. On the face of it, the poll results seem grossly unfair towards Xiaomi, given that the company doesn’t even sell its phones to U.S. consumers. There is no denying, however, that Xiaomi needs to do a lot to change its brand perception in the U.S. if they ever plan on releasing smartphones in North America (again, that is).

With more than 21% of the votes, a virtually unknown smartphone brand for U.S. consumers comes in second place. The brand in question here is Realme — a sub-brand owned by OPPO. Realme is a very popular smartphone brand in Asia and is known mainly for its value-for-money devices that usually compete against similarly priced alternatives from Xiaomi.

Another smartphone brand that is in desperate need of a brand overhaul is Google. More than 18% of polled people thought Google makes the worst Android phones. That’s a lot of brickbats for a company behind the software that powers Android phones. The less favorable opinion seems to stem from a long list of issues that troubled the Google Pixel lineup.

Samsung and OnePlus find themselves in the last two places on this list with 17.23% and 15.54% of the votes, respectively. It could be that the other brands are simply less popular in the minds of U.S. citizens, or it could be that Samsung and OnePlus really and truly make the best Android phones — what do you think?

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Lincoln Model L100 Concept Is Hyper-Luxury Electrification With Wild Doors And A Disco Floor

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Certainly, the exterior of the Model L100 Concept is memorable. Lincoln describes it as “the tension between exuberant elegance and subtle restraint,” and it’s clear that aerodynamics have played a big role in deciding the overall silhouette. We’ve seen how that chase for slipperiness through the air can lead to electric cars looking like relatively amorphous blobs, though that’s something Lincoln manages to avoid.

Instead, it plays with light, glass, and scale. The Model L100 Concept hunkers low to the ground, with a glass panoramic roof and reverse-hinged doors to add drama as well as make entering and exiting more straightforward. Sensors track the owner’s approach, meanwhile, with the promise of a curated light show both outside and inside. Then, the doors — which extend all the way back to the rear bumper — gape outward, while the entire glass roof section lifts up.

The concept is finished with a satin digital ceramic tricot metallic paint, shifting between cool blue and soft white. Instead of the traditional chrome, frosted acrylic has been used as a more sustainable alternative. The whole floor of the cabin, meanwhile, is one big digital panel capable of showing shifting graphics, colors, and patterns. 

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Here’s How Drones Could Change The Medical Industry

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UKRI’s program also has major implications for the medical industry in particular, both in terms of its future sustainability as well as efficiency. University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) Director Phil Woodford told BBC the Future Flight Challenge could help reduce traffic, pollution, and transport sensitive medical supplies, all at the same time. The project’s first phase will start with drones traveling between the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Wesmorland, and Furness General Hospitals in Cumbria, using a dedicated 250ft airspace. Based on routes in Google Maps, the average driving distance of such trips more or less range from 20 to 40 miles.

The thing is, current means of delivering medical samples in Lancashire involves traveling to different hospitals several times a day using vans, taxis and motorcycles. Compared to such rudimentary means of travel, which Woodford said takes an hour or more depending on traffic, using medical drones are said to shorten the overall trip to just 15 minutes. Woodford argued that medical drone deliveries can make the process faster, safer, and doesn’t put unnecessary load on drivers and the environment. While drones have proven to be quite handy in space, properly integrating them on Earth’s busier air space is another story. Fortunately, the project is building a roadmap to tackle just that.

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