North Texas Daily

5G networks need to be perfected before launching

5G networks need to be perfected before launching

5G networks need to be perfected before launching
September 21
12:00 2019

Recently, Hurricane Dorian’s strike across the south raised questions about the 5G network rollout potentially hindering weather forecasts.

The 5G network is expected to be a 24 gigahertz spectrum band, a frequency that runs close to those used by satellites in the atmosphere. However, concerns for 5G have been raised by meteorologists, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The biggest possible issue will come from signal interference. The 5G network will make it harder to observe the water vapor that helps predict the arrival of a hurricane. It’s expected that 30% of forecast accuracy will be lost as a result of weather satellites losing 77% of data after interference from the network. Hurricane accuracy could lose up to three days of tracking.

This will make it harder to predict deadly storms, as it could set back weather forecasts by a couple of days. These days could prove useful when preparing for and moving away from harsh conditions. 

Quite frankly, being able to see a deadly storm is more valuable than being able to have an exceptionally fast phone. Climate change is already affecting weather patterns and storms, which makes it even harder to know what to really expect. We should be valuing the weather predictions we have now. 

But, let’s entertain its effects.

The Trump administration currently wants to beat out other countries instead of perfecting the 5G network before release. However, more accurate weather forecasting and lives of innocent people are more important than a race to a perfect 5G network. Frankly, the development and rollout don’t have to be rushed. 30% may not seem like a lot, but the accuracy when it comes to forecasts is already up in the air, so hindering that further is troubling. It would be egotistical to not consider the risks, despite the benefits it could bring to our country.

5G networks interfering with satellites is a pretty big topic, but there hasn’t been much coverage about it.

It was kept under wraps for several months before briefly being talked about in May and again when Hurricane Dorian struck. These are things we should be educated on instead of ignorantly being excited about being able to connect to a 5G network. 

Trump already pushing for “6G” when 5G isn’t even nationwide yet shows that more value is seen in being “ahead” in an alleged egotistical race, than safety for individuals. 

Innovation isn’t bad, but regulation is needed before jumping right into this. It isn’t the job of the wireless carrier to be concerned about this, which is why 5G is already being promoted by AT&T and other mobile phone companies. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is supposed to regulate the waves and protect weather satellite observations from interference by 5G telecommunications equipment. 

A couple of days makes an enormous difference in dire situations and it makes the outcome all the more different, too. Hurricane Dorian’s path of destruction was already hard to predict, so setting things back will just make that even worse in the future. A delay in forecasting will just mean more innocent casualties. 

Featured Illustration: Zahraa Hassan

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Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas

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