Much has been written about the roll out of 5G, most notably for its health & safety and environmental concerns and also the disturbing implications of the future promise of total surveillance societies that 5G and the IoT or Internet of Things look to be destined to develop into without a massive public backlash. These are all extremely important issues but I would like to focus on other aspects of the disingenuous and misleading way that the technology of 5G is being presented and sold to the public in its initial roll-out in the UK and Europe as what one can think of as being Fake 5G.
Firstly it should be pointed out that 5G as such is not currently a stand alone technology but is a hybrid technology that incorporates both 4G Gigabit LTE components and 5G capabilities in principle. The problem with this is there is no standard definition as to precisely which technologies 5G actually incorporates and different Telcos are offering very different versions of 5G both in the USA and in the UK and Europe.
If we take a strict definition of 5G as being the use of mmWave, very high frequency, high data throughput and extremely low latency radiation spectrum: then this is currently only being partially rolled out by a few and not all of the US carriers and none of these frequencies are currently being used in Europe. Indeed, the availability of such frequencies have not even been finalised, let alone auctioned to telecoms in the UK and Europe as it firstly needs to be decided which bands Europe will harmonise.
As indicated above, such mmWave frequencies are in use in the USA although this may be questionable in terms of the performance of the 5G roll-out so far in terms of its meeting initial hype and expectations. In Chicago in the US, both Verizon and Sprint have rolled out what they call 5G services but Verizon are using 26 GHz millimetre (mmWave) frequencies whereas Sprint are using Fake 5G sub 6 GHz frequencies which are well within the common range of current 4G LTE tech and also our own dual band home wireless networks which operate in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz ranges. Its all the same underlying tech whether its mobile phones, DECT phones or home WiFi: it all incorporates transmitting and receiving microwave radiation throughout homes, communities and the environment in general. Your home microwave oven transmits within its enclosure at 2.45 GHz which is very close to the 2.4 GHz of older routers and the lower band of a newer dual band home WiFi router or access point.
As implied above, perhaps the best way to understand these different approaches is by using a definition of Fake 5G and Real 5G where Fake 5G consists of all those implementations that involve the use of sub 6 GHz frequencies and Real 5G which uses mmWave frequencies in the spectrum of 24 GHz to 300 GHz. By the way, the term ‘5G-ready networks’ has also been introduced to further muddy the waters. This is similar to ‘HD Ready’ televisions or monitors which are not true 1080p HD resolution either.
Another important thing to understand is that 4G was designed to be implemented as a long term evolution of the technology under the term 4G Gigabit LTE (Long Term Evolution) whereby it was always envisioned that 4G would be able to deliver the Gigabit speeds that 5G is now claiming for itself (4G LTE is already delivering this speed of connection in Australia).
Another part of the problem for anyone analysing the performance of these new networks is that as a hybrid technology we have no real idea as to which tech they are actually using and that just because a phone might display a 5G connection icon that doesn’t mean its using a real 5G connection. Whilst one can obtain affordable RF meters to measure RF radiation and signal strength in the Sub 8 GHz range, then hand held meters and probes that can take readings in the 24 GHz+ range are at least $15,000, so there is no realistic option to buy a meter and actually analyse what tech is being employed at any given site. Another problem is that many people confuse the 5 GHz signals generated by dual band WiFi routers with 5G and assume that it is the same technology. It is completely different, 5G stands for Fifth Generation not 5 Gigahertz or 5000 MHz.
Most of the industry and media comparisons between 5G and 4G entirely ignore the evolutionary nature of 4G LTE so we regularly find in images such as below, by which comparisons are made in the most strategically advantageous of terms whereby 4G is presented as having a theoretical limit of 100 Mbps whereas 5G has a theoretical limit of 10Gbps which is 100 times the apparent download capacity of 4G.
The problem with this graphic and that article is that it is an historical snapshot of the early results of 4G technology which ignores the achievements of the long term evolution of 4G Gigabit LTE solely in order to make 5G technology appear better by orders of magnitude (X100). This all makes the need for everyone to switch and upgrade phones and networks from 4G to 5G all the more compelling but this is completely misleading in evaluating these various tech options as the base line of 100 Mbps 4G LTE is hopelessly out of date.
Utilising 7 X 20 MHz carrier aggregation, up to 4X4 MIMO in five carriers and 256 QAM: Qualcomm’s latest X24 LTE 4G modem has increased its performance exponentially and jumped around 20X from the theoretical maximum of 100 Mbps download to a huge 2 Gbps which is equivalent to or exceeds download speeds that have been reported from Verizon’s mmWave 5G launched in Chicago. To show just how much impact these new innovations have: simply switching from 2X2 MIMO to 4X4 MIMO will double a 150 Mbps connection to 300 Mbps. Most of the improvements of 4G LTE and 5G have come from exploiting these additional technologies and are not related to the RF spectrum in question. The specification of the latest Qualcomm X24 4G LTE modem is shown below.
If one analyses this speed improvement with 4G LTE, one can see that it has nothing to do with any change in wireless frequencies as there haven’t been any and that it is all dependent upon the increasing use of Multiple Inputs and Multiple Outputs (MIMO), carrier aggregation and QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation).
Taking 4G LTE into consideration then we can see that the theoretical improvement of mmWave 5G is not 100X but theoretically at its best, merely 5X that of 4G in its long term evolution.
We see exactly the same thing happening with home WiFi. Most people probably have dual band home routers now which can connect devices at 150 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz connection or 300 Mbps on a 5 GHz connection. The latest WiFi 6 routers are using very similar developments to those seen with 4G LTE, employing channel aggregation, (multi user) MU-MIMO, OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access), Beamforming, 1024-QAM high data rates, 20/40/80/160 MHz bandwidth to allow connections of up to 6 Gbps. They are still using the exactly the same portions of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum allocated for home wireless networks and all of the speed improvements have been obtained using these additional technologies.
Having taken this into consideration we need to look at the specifications of the very latest 5G enabled 4G/5G hybrid modems to get an idea of where the 5G download and upload improvements are supposedly coming from.
One fairly obvious clouding of these 4G/5G issues is that Qualcomm have stopped referring to ‘4G LTE’ as such and are just referring to it as ‘LTE features’. This effectively disguises the 4G root of this technology. However, it is still firmly part of the 4G LTE technology and architecture. With the X55 modem we should note that the 4G LTE component has increased its download speed to 2.5 Gbps from the X24’s 4G version of 2 Gbps. This significant 500 Mbps improvement (5X that of the 4G theoretical maximum in the historical graphic) appears to have been achieved by increasing the download LTE streams from 20 LTE in the X24 modem to 24 LTE streams for the X55 and quadrupling the Downlink QAM capability from 256-QAM in the X24 modem to 1024-QAM in the X55 (One suspects that this strictly 4G LTE improvement will be restricted to 5G enabled versions of handsets to increase the take up of 5G phones). Whilst the latest 4G LTE modems might be capable of these speeds the rest of the real world infrastructure of the 4G network lags well behind and will not have been upgraded to support features such as 7X carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO and QAM although it seems that Australia have been been far quicker to upgrade their 4G infrastructure than the rest of the world.
The specifications of 5G modems clearly show the hybrid nature of the initial roll out of both fake and real 5G. As Android Central point out below in parts of the US and in the UK and Europe, 5G is really just 4G LTE with extra sub 6 GHz bandwidth being made exclusively available for customers with a 5G contract and new 5G phones which simply have modems able to utilise those latest parts of the sub-6 GHz spectrum made available. O2 in the UK paid £205,896,000 in April 2018 for all 40 MHz of the 2.3 GHz spectrum available and most existing 4G phones could access that spectrum as it was already being used in other parts of the world for 4G. It is likely that O2 will show 4G customers connected to this spectrum a 5G E icon or similar but there’s nothing ‘5G’ about a 40 MHz slice of the 2.3 GHz spectrum.
In total, Ofcom auctioned 190 MHz of high capacity spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands, comprising 40 MHz in the 2.3 GHz band and 150 MHz in the 3.4 GHz band. None of the 3.4 GHz spectrum is compatible with existing 4G phone modems so that sub 6 GHz portion of the spectrum will only be available via newer fake 5G phones which in Europe and the UK may or may not support the mmWave 5G spectrum being used in the US.
Early adopters of fake 5G will get good speed but not because of any inherent qualities of the part of the sub 6 GHz spectrum being used, but simply because brand new masts or infrastructure serving those newly available sub 6 GHz frequencies will support the very latest carrier aggregation, MIMO and QAM and initially there will be an uncontended lack of traffic on those frequencies for early adopters and those who test and evaluate the initial roll out.
This additional spectrum when paired with all the existing 4G LTE aggregate carriers will obviously give a performance boost, but in the UK and Europe it is one that could easily have been incorporated into the long term evolution of the 4G network and not have been presented to the public as being 5G.
Android Central also reports on this fake 5G phenomenon in the US.
We’re already seeing carriers put 5G networks into place for testing and evaluation. Both “real” 5G networks and fake 5G networks like AT&T’s 5G Evolution network that’s really just 4G with extra bandwidth. But because of how 4G LTE is going to be enhanced by and eventually replaced with 5G, it will be a while until everything is up and running and “real” 5G is everywhere.
At first, 5G will live beside and enhance your current 4G service, but soon enough 5G-only networks will be complete and stand-alone 5G devices will be available. With any type of 5G connection, you’ll see faster network speeds, but the biggest changes will happen when carriers have all deployed high-frequency millimetre wave technology to tap radio wavelengths that have been unusable in the past.
AT&T in the US is improving its 4G LTE networks by rolling out infrastructure that supports the Carrier Aggregation, 4X4 MIMO and 256 QAM of latest phones using the Qualcomm X24 modem or similar, but they are giving this service a ‘5G E’ icon which is again misleading.
If we look at 4G and 5G speeds around the world then we can see the 4G, Fake 5G and Real 5G differences, which show that using mmWave spectrums, only the US has something approaching Real 5G at 1.85 Gbps peaks and that is well below what was promised for 5G mmWave technology. The graph below shows peak speeds obtained by OpenSignal between April and June of this year in a number of continents.
What is of particular interest here is the situation in Australia: who have obviously invested heavily in the latest 4G LTE CA/MIMO/QAM enabled infrastructure in that they are getting 950 Mbps or almost 1Gbps download speeds on 4G LTE which is higher than their 5G implementation which is yielding 792 Mbps. Both 4G and 5G speeds are significantly higher than that of the UK and in Spain they have virtual parity between 4G and 5G in terms of performance. All of this strongly indicates that the fake 5G implementations in all areas outside of the US are in fact essentially using 4G LTE technology using the sub 6 Ghz spectrum and just re-badging it as 5G.
This confusion between 4G, fake 5G and real 5G is open to gross abuse and manipulation by the telcoms. For instance there is a rapidly growing public movement against the roll out of real 5G across the world, but in the UK and Europe at least, because what is being launched is really 4G LTE with additional spectrum in the sub 6 GHz range then there will not be any immediate significant changes to any health or environmental risks and there is a chance the protest will appear to be a great big nothing burger and conspiracy theory. That will place us in a dangerous situation because after the unsuccessful protests against fake 5G, the real 5G mmWave tech will eventually be rolled out at a later date and when that happens the public will have already used up a lot of its credibility in protesting the roll out of fake 5G. That’s not to say that aggressive use of Carrier Aggregation, Massive MIMO and QAM might not make 4G masts and phones far more dangerous. We need to take extensive readings from out existing 4G networks and then compare them to the new 4G LTE enhancements and Fake 5G masts as they are rolled out. Indeed, it is likely that towers with 4G LTE employing Massive MIMO etc. are already outputting 2-4 times more power density in terms of radiation than older 3G and original 4G infrastructure. One also needs to understand that radiation levels emitted by cell towers and base stations are not constant. They vary hugely from second to second depending on the amount of voice and data traffic flowing through them at any given time.
It needs to be stressed that this is not simply just about 5G. We need to be measuring, questioning and examining our increased use of wireless technologies in general. There is an urgent need to collect the epidemiological data which is currently being presented to medical practitioners in their surgeries on a daily basis and collate it from around the world, so an accurate view of the impact of the wireless radiation experiment on public health can finally be assessed. There are already over 2000 peer reviewed scientific studies that show that a wide range of frequencies of Non-Ionising wireless radiation at relatively low power densities have had a significant negative impact on human health and the greater environment. This is with just our existing wireless and radio communications infrastructure. Real 5G and later 6G, will only create a whole new additional range of hazards.
In dealing with all of this, the public need to be quite clear about the precise nature of their concerns and demonstrate that they are fully aware of the differences in technologies being put forward and the different kind of threats that they pose. We can’t run the risk of crying wolf against a possibly more benign technology if it will leave us with less credibility when it comes to defending ourselves from being further experimentally subjected to high frequency mmWave 5G which will be coming to the UK and Europe within the next two to three years.
The fact that Australia has demonstrated that 4G LTE can provide connections of up to 1Gbps can help to illuminate other miss-directions being touted by Verizon in the USA. A major criticism of 5G mmWave small cell technology has been that it will involve infrastructure having to be installed in a far denser way with cells mounted on street furniture every few hundred feet or less. In May and June of 2018 Verizon’s CEO, Lowell McAdam made a number of statements on the range of 5G equipment which shocked many people by claiming to have busted the myth that 5G mmWave masts and phones only have short ranges and busted the myth that they needed to have line of sight communication and could not travel through trees and foliage. A Verizon engineer gives a demonstration which appears to provide proof that mmWave technologies have long ranges of 3000 feet or more. Click below to open the 1 minute 51 second YouTube video in a new window or tab.
Once again all these claims rest upon the hybrid nature of 4G LTE/5G technology. In the video the cell tower in question is clearly marked as being equipped with both 4G LTE and 5G infrastructure.
That 4G LTE infrastructure on that mast is clearly highly advanced and looks to have been equipped to fully realise the CA/MIMO/QAM advantages of the latest 4G LTE modems of that time. In comparison, the 5G infrastructure on that mast is negligible and barely visible.
In this demonstration, Verizon do not make it clear whether the 1Gbps and 800 Mbps signal they are linking to is from the 4G Gigabit LTE part of the tower or the 5G small cell? As we have seen, the industry is exploiting this confusion in a number of ways. Given that the current generation of 5G modems have been tested to have a peak download speed of 7 Gbps, then Verizon’s 3000 foot demonstration returning 1Gbps is far more in line with the capabilities of the 4G LTE portion of the cell tower in the video and we would fully expect that to have a range of 3000 feet and more which is consistent with 4G sub 6 GHz frequencies, especially when we consider that the peak 4G LTE results of 950 Mbps that have been recorded in Australia. Verizon had the ability to cherry pick the very latest 4G LTE equipment in the best location and then traded on the notion that 4G LTE technology was capped at 100 Mbps to imply that any connection showing 1Gbps or more must necessarily have come from the single 5G small cell on the tower. But this is simply not true. 4G LTE is more than capable of transmissions at up to 2 Gbps and Verizon would have had access to far more advanced 4G LTE modem technology from Qualcomm etc. at that time than that which was available to the general public.
When one looks at the supposed 5G equipment on the mast in the video and compares it with the actual infrastructure that Verizon has rolled out in Chicago in 2019: then it bears no resemblance whatsoever making it highly unlikely that the cell tower featured in the video had any significant 5G capabilities.
If Verizon had connected to a mast which was purely 5G enabled then this would have been a definitive demonstration of their case, but in reality they were just demonstrating the most advanced 4G LTE enabled mast and we have no idea of what modems or technology they were actually employing as they did not use a cell phone in the demonstration but used a laptop and what appears to be a Samsung high gain antenna mounted on the roof of the car (the use of a high gain antenna somewhat undermines the long range claims also).
Once one takes this into consideration one can see that the short range line of sight claims about the mmWave spectrum are still valid and that the industry is concealing the role that 4G LTE is playing in these demonstrations to play down fears about small cell proliferation which will still go ahead regardless of their new ‘myth busting’ rhetoric. A year later, all early testing of mmWave 5G infrastructure that has been deployed in Chicago has confirmed that even the larger mmWave towers as above, have a range of around 500 feet and that they are still dependent on line of site communication and signals do not carry into buildings and are impaired by obstacles such as trees and rain.
In the UK, Europe and parts of the US, what is being rolled out as Fake 5G could just have easily been rolled out as part of the 4G Gigabit long term evolution strategy. mmWave spectrums have not been assigned or even auctioned in Europe yet and fake 5G is being launched in order to show that any public resistance to the initial roll out of fake ‘5G’ is an example of the public over reacting and generally crying wolf. Real 5G mmWave spectrums will be launched at a later date after the public’s initial resistance has been largely discredited and we need to be acutely aware of the differences between these technologies which have been so ambiguously intertwined in order to create confusion as to what is really going on. 4G LTE and the sub 6 GHz frequencies cannot provide the low latency required for driver-less cars to be able to instantly communicate with each other and traffic management systems. This kind of technology along with much of the IoT is entirely dependent on the low latency, extremely high frequency millimetre bands which can only be deployed via ubiquitous small cell deployment alongside all roads and throughout all communities.
We see an typical example of how the industry is addressing and exploiting these confusions in the UK. I’m sure that the article below will be a familiar story to anyone who feels concerns about the rush to roll out 5G technology.
EE tell ‘really frightened’ Bath mum she has ‘misunderstood’ 5G risks
The Bath resident fears people are being used as ‘guinea pigs’…
Samantha read a number of articles about 5G after hearing about it from her husband.
She said that she isn’t normally politically motivated, but has since joined a number of people online who are terrified about the risks of 5G.
“I’ve never felt so strongly about anything,” she said.
“I think it’s going to be really dangerous.
“I have two young children and 5G gives me fears about the environment and health.
“I’ve joined a couple of groups on Facebook as a campaigner.
“We’re just not being told anything.
“No one really knows anything about it. And by the time anyone hears about it, it’s going to be too late.
“I feel like we’re the guinea pigs.
“There’s more negatives than positives with this.
“As a Bath resident, I’ve lived here all my life but I said to my husband ‘I want to move away’.
“I feel very passionately about it. I’m going to bed worrying about it.”
A spokesman from EE said: “The vast majority of concerns about 5G are based on the misunderstanding that 5G is ‘millimetre wave’ or ‘mmWave’ technology – this is simply not true.
“Operators will not be launching 5G mobile networks with mmWave frequencies in 2019.
“All the concerns about higher power levels, the need for a massive increase in the number of mobile sites, and using a ‘weapons grade’ technology are based on mmWave frequencies of 26GHz and above, and people have wrongly assumed this is the 5G tech that is coming to the UK.
“It is not. We are rolling out 5G on 3.4GHz spectrum.
This is very similar to 4G, 3G and 2G, which operates on spectrum between 800MHz and 2.6GHz.
We will roll 5G out using existing sites – there will be no significant increase in sites.
In many respects the EE spokesman is right because EE and the rest of the UK are rolling out sub 6 GHz Fake 5G which is really 4G LTE. Despite the reassuring note of his statements the absolutely key sentence is “Operators will not be launching 5G mobile networks with mmWave frequencies in 2019“. Again that is technically true but of course we all know that without resistance the mmWave tech will be rolled out sometime between 2021 and 2024 as and when the full mmWave spectrum has been harmonised, identified and auctioned off to the highest bidders. We need to let them know that we understand these differences. That we will closely monitor if there is significant increasing radiation levels from advanced 4G LTE and sub 6 GHz Fake 5G networks and remain resolutely opposed to any future global roll out of ubiquitous small cell mmWave technology.
Amidst all this confusion the big question remains as to why this race to 5G is taking place at all? The logic being employed is that just because something is technically possible that it should automatically be implemented and that everyone needs and wants it. One saw this with 3D televisions. It became technologically possible to cheaply manufacture 3D TVs and the entire industry automatically assumed that everyone needed and wanted one. It turned out that no-one really did need or want them. The same is true of driver-less cars and the IoT. Has anyone done any real market research as to whether we either need or want them? The race to 5G is being driven by the rush to embrace these new technologies but one can only see a massive public backlash coming when we decide we have had enough of the encroachment of surveillance capitalism, the loss of consumer sovereignty and become subjected to total environmental surveillance within our homes and communities. SMART cities or objects are an acronym derived from ‘Self Monitoring And Reporting Technology’, but one might just as well call them Surveillance Monitoring and Reporting Technology.
The only use case that one sees in testing of 5G in US cities is people marvelling at how they can stand on a street corner, point their phone in line of sight at a mast and magically download a whole series of 4K TV programs from Netflix or Amazon in a minute or so. That makes no sense whatsoever. Its not a real world use case scenario and no-one needs to do it. There is not enough storage space on phones to keep all these files, it makes no sense to download a 4K film to a tiny screen in terms of any discernible improvement in resolution visible to the human eye and if we are all going to be using cloud storage anyway why not simply transfer huge files from the provider to your cloud storage service directly using the existing internet backbone of wired high speed optical infrastructure? You can’t watch 10 hours of TV in minutes so you don’t need to download it in seconds. No-one needs either a 1Gbps or 10Gbps mobile network connection and we certainly don’t need to take on the risks of 5G for such nonsensical use cases. Its certainly not worth it for driver-less cars and the IoT if no-one wants or needs those things either. In most cases even those who do get fake 5G phones and contracts will still be tethered to their home wireless networks and 10-100 mbps home broadband connection for 98% of the time as mobile data plans are far too expensive and restrictive whereas most home broadband plans are unlimited.
I believe that part of this problem is due to government’s and the MSM’s poor understanding of technology. When the internet phenomenon started really taking shape the government and the MSM were asleep at the wheel. When I transitioned from MS Access DB application programming to web programming from 1995-1997 then the progressive BBC dismissively referred to anyone who used the internet as an ‘anorak’. Governments were just about the last people to see the significance of the internet. Ever since, government have tried to be at the cutting edge of all and any technology, but this desperate naivety has left them firmly in the grip of Big Tech corporations who lead governments by the nose telling them which of their very expensive must have technologies they need to adopt next. This started by corporations getting government to outsource all its IT requirements to third parties using the Benetton model that was so popular in MBA courses. It developed from there to government departments and councils being forced into having all their IT deployed to the cloud, which is hosted by Big Tech and their preferred, certified and accredited partners. 5G appears to be more of the same but the stakes and dangers are off the scale in terms of its deployment and risks associated with it. These are the side-effects and problems of Neoliberalism and the corporate capture of governments who are no longer interested in the health and safety of their people or the environment unless it provides them with an excuse for raising additional taxes on the general population.
There are very real health and safety and environmental issues concerning our global usage of wireless microwave radiation in communications. The rush to wireless has largely been one orientated by lower costs but the simple truth is that we also had the alternative of pursuing a totally wired world that minimised microwave pollution to its barest minimum. In the UK, BT is in the process of ripping out its legacy copper infrastructure and that appear to be a very big mistake at this time when we should be fully assessing the impacts of wireless technologies which have been rushed out without fall and proper evaluation and pushing for more wired connectivity in general.
Adverse effects of exposures to increasing EF, RF, EMF and dirty electricity supplies are being identified in the following symptoms and illnesses.
Electro Sensitivity and Electro Hyper-Sensitivity
Mood Issues, (depression, anxiety, irritability)
Early onset dementia
Fatigue and Weakness
Numbness and Tingling
Tremors and Muscle Spasms
Dermatological Problems (itching/burning, facial flushing)
Lowering of sperm count and infertility.
With specific regard to children there are additional issues causing or aggravating:
Behavioural and learning problems
Exposure to all EMRF fields cause greater damage to children than adults, especially babies in the womb.
There are also many studies linking to far more serious illness such as Cancer and Heart Problems.
For health & safety and environmental information I urge anyone concerned to carefully read the 5G space appeal and visit the Environmental Health Trust web site for more information. Sadly GPs are not trained in these subjects and it is only now that they are starting to realise there are problems and are trying to build a better picture of the scale of them. Typically these symptoms and illnesses only develop after a period of 8-30 years of exposure so it is only now that we are seeing more and more people presenting themselves with them.
For those who are interested in the profoundly undemocratic, dehumanising and totalitarian nature of 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Surveillance Capitalism and the Internet of Things, then this article from the Guardian gives a good overview of Surveillance Capitalism.
James Corbett gives an excellent overview in ‘The 5G Dragnet’ as to how our future societies might develop if we are not fully on our guard. Click the image below to view.