What is 5G technology?

5G technology is another name for fifth generation wireless technology. Described as a ‘suite of technologies’, 5G transfers a higher volume of data faster and more reliably than existing technologies.

5G technology benefits from being ‘low latency’, which means there’s a very short delay between sending and receiving information between devices. It is also almost 100% reliable.

Why do we need 5G?

Our homes, cities, transport and services (health and social care) are becoming more connected and reliant on supportive technologies. We use apps, devices (IoT, Internet of Things), virtual/ augmented reality and massive machine-to-machine communications on a daily basis.

Current technologies like 3G and 4G aren’t robust or flexible enough to support this ongoing growth in innovative technologies.

What kind of 5G is the Liverpool consortium using?

Liverpool is using Blu Wireless’s tailored 60GHz mm-Wave technology. The technology offers multi-Gigabit bandwidths, compared to a typical 36 Megabits found across the UK. It is also licence free and uses existing public-service fibre infrastructure. This helps reduce costs and has enabled the project to provide a free community intranet to people taking part in the Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care project in Kensington. Blu Wireless Technology is licence free and uses existing public-service fibre infrastructure (making it a lower-cost choice). Street-level wireless mesh networks and unobtrusive radios are mounted on buildings and street furniture and they transmit the internet connection.

What is the background to Liverpool 5G?

The Liverpool 5G Consortium won over £4 Million from the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), to take part in a government initiative that explores how 5G technology benefits growth sectors in the UK like health and social care, manufacturing, transport, tourism and agriculture.  You can read more about the project here.

How has this project benefited Liverpool?

Liverpool has become part of a 5G network/ eco-system that extends across the UK and beyond. This network provides opportunities for our tech companies, public sector, universities and care providers to tap into cutting edge research and development, whilst accessing markets for the 5G supported technologies we produce.

As part of the Liverpool 5G project, people in Kensington have benefited from access to life-changing technologies that help them manage their health independently at home.

Is the 5G technology being used safely?

The 5G technology we use is in the 60GHz spectrum. Many scientists have carried out national and international research and a large majority agree there are no likely negative health impacts of this technology if guidelines agreed by The International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection are followed.

(ICNIRP) has reviewed research from across the world and from organisations liken WHO (The World Health Organisation). Its guidelines find no negative health effects are likely to be found in adults or children in radio frequencies of up to 300GHz (the community intranet being used in Kensington only uses a 60GHz frequency.) A recent EU scientific review of all the available research and reports, which took place in 2015 agrees with this conclusion.

Technology in the 60GHz spectrum emits radio waves and radio waves are a type of electromagnetic wave. No evidence has been found to suggest they are dangerous to humans.

You can see the OFCOM report into the Liverpool 5G network here

Is radiation a new thing?

Humans have always lived with radiation in our atmosphere as it is not always man made. Radiation from the sun (ultraviolet radiation) is stronger that that emitted by the technologies in the 60GHz spectrum, whilst naturally occurring microwaves are all around us. Mobile phones probably expose us to the most radiation from technology in our day-to-day lives and are in direct contact with our bodies because we hold them against our faces. However, the sun exposes us to the most radiation.