5G Fifth Generation Cellular Technology
This page last updated January 22, 2020.
Note: This article has been updated since I attended a 5G trade show in Los Angeles this past October (2019) and since I have reviewed cell industry literature on the latest developments on 5G deployment in the United States. I have attended this 5G trade show twice in the past two years. I listened to lectures and visited booths sponsored by cell antenna manufacturers and several cell carriers. The trade shows were attended by 22,000 engineers and others in the 5G industry. It was very interesting to see this issue from their perspective and to learn exactly how the technology works in great detail.
To download a synopsis of this article in PDF format, click here. Feel free to distribute that as a summary of the information in this article.
This update includes new summary tables at the start of the article. They encapsulate the information as I understand it. You can then read below in the revised text for important details. I have also expanded upon and edited the text in this article compared to earlier versions. More paring down of existing text will be needed, but that will have to wait until I have more time at a later date.
Additional Note: It is very important for readers of this article to understand that the topic of 5G is extremely complex and the technology is constantly evolving. What you read below is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of the date of each update. However, the one constant that you can depend upon is that the information will change and be preempted by new knowledge and further changes by industry. Please do not rely on the details that you read below as cast in stone and certain for some time to come. Expect continued evolution of the technology by industry. Check back periodically for updates.
The website for the Building Biology Institute (BBI) is home to many online courses, including a course on 5G, written by Oram and a team of a dozen experts from within and outside the Building Biology profession. See these offerings at the Courses tab at the top of the BBI website, then click on the Electromagnetic Radiation page link. There you will find the link to the 5G online course, "5G: Understanding the Technology & Protection Strategies".
For a free three-page preview and summary Fact Sheet of the 5G online course, download it from the BBI website by clicking here.
Josh del Sol, who brought us Take Back Your Power, teamed up with Sayer Ji, co-founder of GreenMedInfo to bring us a series of interviews with over 40 experts on The 5G Crisis: Awareness and Accountability. This series of interviews was available for free viewing during the week of August 26 through September 1, 2019.
The full summit is still available for $99, which provides online access only (no DVD version is available at this time). When you register, you will receive a PDF entitled, "7 Essential Ways to Make Your Home Safe from 5G and EMF Radiation" as a free gift. This guide was updated by Josh with help from Oram and colleagues at the Building Biology Institute.
To purchase the 5G Summit, click here or on the banner at right:
If you purchased the 5G Summit in the past, you were also eligible to purchase the 4 Solutions Masterclass. That included four additional presentations on The 4 Levels of Solution to 5G, including a presentation by Oram. At the present time, the only way to view this and the other three presentations was if you purchased the entire 5G summit and the 4 Solutions Masterclass when they were available for purchase. (The entire 5G Summit is available for purchase once again, but unfortunately not the 4 Solutions Masterclass at the present time). The 4 Solutions Masterclass may become available once again in the future. If and when that happens, we will notify you through this website. If you already purchased the 5G summit and the 4 Solutions Masterclass in the past, you can access those interviews through your account with HealthMeans. I encourage you to watch my presentation in the 4 Solution Masterclass to see a thorough overview of 5G.
Another 5G resource is an audio interview of Oram conducted by Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org. In the interview, entitled, "Insights on 4G/5G Antenna Densification: Oram Miller, BBEC, EMRS", Oram goes into great detail on what 5G entails, how 4G is a big component of it, and how you can measure and protect yourself from it. To link to the free interview, click here. Camilla serves on the Advisory Board of the Building Biology Institute and was one of our contributors and editors of the Institute's online course, 5G: Understanding The Technology & Protection Strategies, mentioned above.
Finally, Oram was interviewed in January 2020 by Lloyd Burrell of Electricsense.com for a 5G update. That audio update will be posted on Lloyd's website sometime in late January or early February of 2020. Be on the lookout for it. If you are signed up to receive Lloyd's emails, you will notified of the interview.
One of the most worrisome aspects of our modern society is the coming of fifth generation cell technology, known as "5G". Much has been written about the potential health effects for electrically sensitive and non-sensitive people alike, not to mention animals, insects and our entire biosphere. Concern is mounting. How can we avoid 5G? How can we measure it? How can we protect ourselves from it in our homes and when we go outside in public places? Where are we safe?
The first thing we need to do is to learn what 5G is (and what it is not), how it works, how it is being deployed, and what its characteristics are. Every ten years or so, the cell industry releases a new generation of technology. Over forty years we have evolved from simple voice service to high-speed audio and HD video data transmission, where virtually all tasks you could do on a computer can now be done on a handheld device. Communication is almost instantaneous and many people can't be without their mobile phone or tablet.
There is one important misconception that needs to be cleared up right at the start. Don't be confused by the designation "5G" on your router. That is 5.8 GHz, which is a WiFi and cordless telephone frequency (along with 2.4 GHz) used for decades for WiFi and Bluetooth signals transmitted to and from routers, cordless telephones, cell phones, tablets, laptops and many other devices. It is not directly part of fifth generation cellular technology, also known as 5G, although it is peripherally involved as part of the "IoT", or Internet of Things.
WiFi and all of these wireless devices, however, are themselves harmful to your health and the use of WiFi in public places will be substantially expanded as part of the overall technological evolution that is 5G. That will be outside of your house and you have control over whether you use WiFi inside your house or not — see below. When you use WiFi from a router or other wireless device now or at any time in the past, that 5.8 GHz RF signal has been inside your home without you being aware of it for decades. 2.4 GHz was allocated by the FCC in 1998 for manufacturers to use as an unlicensed frequency without the need for consumers to apply for an FCC license to operate their cordless telephone or WiFi-enabled router. 5.8 GHz as a WiFi and cordless telephone frequency was added by the FCC as a second unlicensed frequency in 2003.
The following information will not make much sense to you without reading the background information presented below. However, I present the following summary tables at the start of this article as a quick, though comprehensive summary of how 5G, including expanded use of 4G, is being deployed throughout the US, presented by cell carrier, frequency and type of technology.
For those living in other countries, you will still find this information useful if you focus on the frequencies and technologies discussed below and then find out what frequencies your country's cell carriers are using.
What Frequencies Are Each US Cell Carrier Using for 5G (and 4G)?
Let's first divide the four major 5G players in the US into three groups, depending upon the frequency band in which they operate for new 5G service low band, mid band and high, or mmWave, band.
Low band 5G Service (600 MHz to 1,000 MHz, or 1 GHz)
Mid band 5G Service (1 GHz to 6 GHz)
High, or mmWave, band 5G Service (at 28 GHz and 39 GHz, and other mmWave frequencies)
You will notice that T-Mobile and AT&T are the only two companies with 5G spectrum in both the low and high/mmWave bands. However, the two types of 5G are completely different, as you will see. Also, AT&T's mmWave "5G+" service is only open to business customers.
If the pending T-Mobile/Sprint merger is approved in the spring of 2020, the combined company will have 5G holdings in all three bands. Right now, Sprint is the only company with 5G service in
the mid band (not the low band) and none in the mmWave band.
All four carriers are also applying for small cell antenna permits to put lower power 4G LTE small cell antennas in residential and urban neighborhoods to supplement their 4G LTE service on existing macro cell antenna sites on towers, poles and buildings. Some local Orange County, California and Northern California 5G activists have told me that most, if not all, of the permits they are seeing for new small cell antennas in residential neighborhoods are for 4G equipment, not 5G. This has implications for what we need to watch out for and how we can protect ourselves.
All four carriers have 4G LTE transmitters that use the frequencies 600 to 5,200 MHz in the low and mid band, as they have for years. To see a list of 4G frequencies used by cell carriers in the US, click here.
New 4G LTE small cell antennas now use LTE Advanced technologies. These include 4X4 MIMO antennas, carrier aggregation and 256 QAM — defined below. All of these technologies increase data download speeds and the number of cell signals and information broadcast in the same airspace. All new 4G antennas will have the capacity to be upgraded to 5G through software changes, but what kind of 5G that means depends upon the frequency band the 4G antenna is broadcasting in. 4G is only in the low and mid bands, so any upgrade to 5G would not involve beam forming unless it was broadcasting above 2 GHz in the mid band.
New 4G LTE Advanced and 5G cell signals are far more modulated than past generations of cell technology. They utilize polarized, pulsed signaling. This modulation and pulsed signaling may account for recent increases in health symptoms in residents living near new small cell antennas. Reports are emerging that certain individuals are reacting to new cell antennas, while they did not react to existing 4G LTE technology used for years.
New 4G small cell signals are always-on and the cone or plume coming out of each antenna is roughly 120 degrees wide, encompassing several homes. The strength of each transmitter is 10-100 times lower than the strength of cell signals currently emitting from existing macro 4G LTE cell antennas ("cell towers") located a mile or more apart. The big problem is that small cell antennas are much closer to people's homes and low and mid band frequencies can easily pass through walls, resulting in much higher signal intensities in indoor living spaces — see below.
We can measure these low and mid band small cell 4G LTE Advanced and 5G signals with existing RF meters and we can shield against the RF they produce. They are the biggest danger to individuals living in homes in our opinion, more so than on demand beam formed 5G signals in the mmWave band, which are more rare — see below. Small cell antennas of any generation don't belong in our residential neighborhoods.
How Each Carrier Has Deployed 5G As of the End of 2019
How Do the Three Frequency Bands Differ by Characteristics?
High, or mmWave, band
Bands Separated by 4G vs 5G Service
Finally, now that you have some understanding of the characteristics of each frequency band, let's separate them once more by defining how 4G LTE and 5G services are being used in each band:
Low band (600 MHz to 1,000 MHz, or 1 GHz)
Mid band (1 GHz to 6 GHz)
High, or mmWave, band (above 20 GHz)
What Are The Dangers From Wireless Transmitters In General?
The wireless transmitters in mobile devices emit intermittent and now, continuous radio frequency (RF) signals at close range to your body. These signals are silent, invisible and odorless (unlike cigarette smoke). They are very harmful to all of us cumulatively on a cellular level, whether we are aware of it or not.
Our governmental regulatory agencies are, unfortunately, captured by industry and incorrectly tell us these devices are safe while hundreds of independent research studies prove otherwise. You are on your own and need to follow three simple rules to stay safe, recommended by the Building Biology Institute and the EMF safety community at large: reduce use, increase distance and favor hardwired connections whenever and wherever possible.
Furthermore, a landmark opinion piece was published on October 17, 2019 in Scientific American entitled, We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe. It was written by Professor Joel Moskowitz, PhD, Director, Center for Family and Community Health at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. In that article, Dr. Moskowitz sites more than 500 research studies that have "found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR (radio frequency radiation) at intensities too low to cause significant heating" (of human tissues near a cell phone) and hence, too low to cause symptoms in many otherwise healthy people.
As a result of this and similar research, over 240 scientists worldwide have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, calling for tighter limits on radio frequency radiation exposure for the general public. These 240 scientists have published more than 2,000 peer-reviewed research studies among them on the adverse health effects of radio frequency EMFs. That petition can be found at EMFscientist.org.
The appeal states, “Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”
Dr. Moskowitz discusses the damaging effects of long term, low-level exposure to modulation from signaling (polarization and pulsing) emitted by 4G and 5G cell frequencies (and especially from WiFi transmitters) and how this is particularly harmful to the biological functioning of human cells. He calls for new, more stringent limits on human RFR exposure, particularly from cell phones held at close proximity to the head and body, even when only on standby. Recent research conducted by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) found clear evidence of cancer and DNA damage in laboratory animals when exposed to radio frequency radiation. This was independently corroborated by the Ramizzzini Institute in Italy testing exposure of laboratory animals to even weaker RFR levels than did the NTP study.
Dr. Moskowitz states, "Nonetheless, without conducting a formal risk assessment or a systematic review of the research on RFR health effects, the FDA recently reaffirmed the FCC's 1996 exposure limits in a letter to the FCC, stating that the agency had 'concluded that no changes to the current standards are warranted at this time,' and that 'NTP's experimental findings should not be applied to human cell phone usage.' The letter stated that 'the available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits.'"
In the opinion of many of us within the EMF safety community, the FDA and FCC are clearly bending to corporate interests in spite of strong evidence showing harmful effects. Many of us feel, with good reason, that the FCC is a "captured agency". For instance, reports exist that in the mid-1980s, the cell industry wanted to deploy cellular technology, developed by the military in earlier decades, for civilian use. They reportedly pressured the US federal government to move any oversight over health effects caused by cellular technology out of the NIH and EPA, agencies that have medical researchers, and place that function in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC. The sole function of the FCC is to allocate frequencies to broadcasters. They had no medical researchers on staff who can oversee health effects from human exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR).
That move of health oversight from agencies that have health researchers to an agencie that does not was done on purpose. This information is according to Dafna Tachover, EMF researcher and attorney licensed in New York and Israel who lectures on the adverse health effects of 5G. Her website is Wearetheevidence.org.
You cannot therefore tell me that any claims by the FCC that chronic long-term use of wireless devices is harmless can be trusted.
Bolstering that point, Dr. Moskowitz states, "Little is known (about) the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research. Meanwhile, we are seeing increases in certain types of head and neck tumors in tumor registries, which may be at least partially attributable to the proliferation of cell phone radiation. These increases are consistent with results from case-control studies of tumor risk in heavy cell phone users."
Dr. Moskowitz goes on to say, "5G will not replace 4G; it will accompany 4G for the near future and possibly over the long term. If there are synergistic effects from simultaneous exposures to multiple types of RFR, our overall risk of harm from RFR may increase substantially. Cancer is not the only risk as there is considerable evidence that RFR causes neurological disorders and reproductive harm, likely due to oxidative stress."
How Can We Protect Ourselves From Wireless Sources?
This means, as I have said before, following three general principles: reduce use, increase distance and favor hardwired connections whenever and wherever possible. Here is a brief list of steps you can take to protect yourself from radio frequency EMF exposure from devices you do have control over:
These items and more are available through many retailers. I have links to several of them on my EMF Products and Order Codes page. These include Amazon, Safe Living Technologies, LessEMF, and ElectraHealth. You can read about specific hardwired workarounds by linking to my Safer Use of Computers page, accessed by clicking here.
Remember that you must then disable WiFi and Bluetooth on your router, computer, tablet or smart phone. Plugging in an Ethernet cable does not automatically shut off WiFi or Bluetooth on these devices. You must do that manually. If you do use hardwire connections between your devices and routers, you will have faster, more stable, secure and healthy data connections.
How Will 5G Work?
5G has two parts: The first is expanded and updated use of existing frequencies used now for 3G and 4G LTE, which are in the 600 to 6,000 MHz (Megahertz) range. This is also called the low to mid band. To clear up confusion, 6,000 MHz is the same as 6.0 GHz, or Gigahertz.
Cell companies will build upon their existing 4G LTE network of macro cell towers by trying to place additional lower power "small cell" antennas on street lights, buildings, power lines, lamp posts, house attics and rooftops in residential neighborhoods, wherever they can get them closer to customers. Small cell antennas will contain both 4G LTE and new 5G equipment transmitting at existing low and mid band frequencies. These will be the predominant type of antennas deployed throughout most of the country. Select cities will also have 5G antennas transmitting at new high, or millimeter Wave (mmWave) frequencies.
New technologies will be employed to speed data traffic transmitted at existing low and mid band frequencies, essentially making 4G LTE somewhat faster in what is being termed by industry, "enhanced 4G" or "5G lite". This is also known as "LTE Advanced". These enhanced technologies include: carrier aggregation and spectrum aggregation, beam forming (down to 2 GHz), massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output), and 256 QAM.
According to engineer William Hoult, "Spectrum aggregation (SA) is a means of providing higher data rates to the end user. Rather than sending data on one carrier, data is sent on multiple carriers to one device at the same time. As an analogy, think of a one line highway full of cars and each car is carrying bits to the user. Carrier aggregation (CA) is like adding another lane to a highway, so twice as many bits can be carried to the user. This adding of lanes to the highway is called carrier aggregation. In practice, there may be two or three lanes. If there are three lanes, then the download speed will be three times faster, say 3 seconds instead of 9 seconds."
QAM, or Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, is a modulation technique that crams more data throughput into the same airspace over the same frequencies. QAM mixes amplitude modulation (AM) with phase modulation (PM). Previously, 16-QAM and 64-QAM were used. There is a balance between how many data points, 256 in this case, are able to be used without requiring much more transmit power and getting distortion. That is why 256 is used and not higher numbers.
All of this involves a great deal of AI, or Artificial Intelligence, to help the network function more and more autonomously. This means creating autonomous network management more at the "edge", where cell phones and antenna radios are located, rather than managing the network solely from mainframe servers at the "core".
Secondly, cell companies will expand into the high, or mmWave band above 20 GHz (Gigahertz), starting with frequencies at 24, 28 and 39 GHz. This is known as the millimeter, or "mm", band because the wavelengths are small, about half-an-inch (just a few millimeters) long. This is what most people think of when they hear the term "5G", but remember, 5G will also include a great deal of enhanced 4G LTE signals in existing low and mid band frequencies. Also, there will be no cell service in the US in the gap between 6 and 20 GHz, although that region is well populated with radio waves from other sources, including radar, satellites, military, aviation and other uses.
There is much open bandwidth at these higher mmWave frequencies. They haven’t been used by the cell industry before now, because signals in the mm band above 20 GHz don't travel easily through walls like cell frequencies do in the low to mid bands. But as more and more people do more computing and communicating through wireless devices, we are running out of bandwidth at existing frequencies, at least with current technology. There is also an increased demand, whether real or perceived, for faster downloads and more real-time experiences such as with VR and AR, or Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. There is a lot of open bandwidth in the high band range, which cell carriers haven't been able to access until now, along with much faster download speeds and much lower latency. All this comes at a cost to human health, as you will see.
5G pertains primarily to data transmissions and less to voice or texting. Cell signals carrying voice and simple SMS texts use much less bandwidth and are sent using older 3G and 4G LTE technologies. 3G is being phased out, and voice and text will still be sent over low and mid band frequencies using 4G protocols but managed by 5G networks. Some carriers are incorporating VoLTE, or Voice over LTE, which uses 4G/5G technologies.
What Are the Physics of 5G Signals in the Millimeter Wave (mmWave) Band?
In order to pass through walls, window glass, rain and even moisture suspended in air, 5G signals in the mm wave band need to make use of advanced technologies that have been in development for decades and not available until now. These include beam forming, which uses many small antennas (up to 64 and more) that all focus their signal on one or more user's mobile devices in a coordinated, narrow beam that is only 2-15 degrees wide.
Many mobile devices can be contacted in the same air space, but that focused beam has health impacts, which you have read about through the larger EMF safety community and which are discussed below. These include harm to skin and eyes. 4G signals, on the other hand, cover a much wider swath of 120 degrees in front of macro and small cell antennas and are quite harmful in their own right.
What Are the Characteristics of Existing 4G LTE Cell Antennas?
Existing 4G LTE macro cell antennas, commonly known as "cell towers", send transmissions at power levels up to 1,000 Watts of Effective Radiated Power (ERP). These can travel up to several miles allowing 4G LTE macro cell antennas to be spaced up to 1 to 1.5 miles apart. About 300,000 4G LTE cell antennas/"towers" currently exist in the US with many more planned, primarily at existing and new macro cell sites.
Existing 4G LTE macro cell antennas are about three feet tall and about ten inches wide. You see these skinny antennas mounted on poles, towers and buildings, pointed in various directions. Each slender antenna contains 4 or 16 antennas, which are larger than new 5G antennas in the mmWave band because the wavelengths of existing low and mid band 4G LTE signals are 4-15 inches in length.
Massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) in 5G Compared to New, Enhanced 4G LTE ("5G Lite")
Since mmWave signals above 20 GHz have such short wavelengths, they cannot pass through normal building materials. Signals therefore need to be beam formed in order to get through walls, as I have said. That is where "massive" Multiple Input, Multiple Output, or MIMO, comes in.
Right now, existing 4G LTE macro cell antennas use 2T2R (two transmit, two receive) or 4T4R (four transmit, four receive) transmitting antennas on each 4G LTE cell antenna array (also known by many as a "cell tower"). That defines the maximum number of signals each array can transmit in any direction, with about ten or so mobile cell customers served per individual antenna. Cell carriers are upgrading existing 4G equipment that have had 2T2R antennas with 4X4 antennas in what is known as "LTE Advanced". This doubles the amount of signals in a given air space.
Cell antennas in the high, mmWave band, on the other hand, must use multiple small antennas arrayed in a square or rectangle, up to 8 or more across and 8 or more high. That allows 64 or more antennas to simultaneously send signals that can be shaped electronically, using phased array, to send the combined signal from all 64 of them in one direction or another. This process is called beam forming or beam steering. AI (artificial intelligence) in the radio beneath (or embedded within) the antenna directs the whole process. Multiple signals can be sent out at once to multiple handheld user devices, such as 5G-enabled cell phones. This is the only way that 5G cell signals in the mmWave band can penetrate walls and windows, and not very well at that.
Beam forming using Massive MIMO can also be used down to 2 GHz. Thus, Sprint uses this technology for its 2.5 GHz 5G service. As explained below, they are able to devote 32 antennas of the 64 antenna array to 4G and the other 32 to 5G, or with a software change, all 64 can be devoted to 5G. This is all at the 2.5 MHz frequency. What differentiates the 4G from the 5G signal? The amount of modulation and pulsing that occurs in creating and shaping the cell signal. Modulation and pulsing of cell signals, as you will see below, have a significant impact on our health and are a great concern to 5G activists and advocates.
Relatively Slower Download Speeds For 5G in Low to Mid bands vs. Faster Download Speeds For 5G in mmWave Band
In practical terms, what manufacturer's reps at the 5G trade show told me and what I have learned from industry lectures and articles is that 5G in the low to mid sub-6 GHz band, where 4G LTE now resides, will essentially be what they call, "Enhanced 4G LTE" or "5G Lite". Right now, 4G LTE is capable of delivering 30 Mbps (Megabits per second), on average, of data download speed. That is what we are all used to now when downloading websites, using apps, and streaming music and videos through 4G LTE data connections on our phones and tablets.
Data download speeds from 5G, as well as 4G LTE Advanced, in the low to mid sub-6 GHz bands will be increased to about 200-300 Mbps for "5G Lite". That's it. That is what T-Mobile is advertising now with the recent rollout of their new 600 MHz nationwide 5G network. Sprint is likewise promoting its new 5G service, which will be transmitted in the mid band at 2,500 MHz (2.5 GHz) with download speeds that are expected to be 200-400 Mbps. Again, that is somewhat faster than existing 4G LTE but not at the super fast speeds available in the high, mmWave band.
AT&T and T-Mobile both also have service in the mmWave band but it is much more limited than their low to mid band offerings (Sprint currently has no 5G spectrum in the mmWave band). Customers of T-Mobile and AT&T will need different 5G phones than they do for those company's more prevalent low and mid band 5G options, which cover almost the entire country. If someone opts for a T-Mobile or AT&T 5G phone with mmWave service, they would only be able to use that new phone in select cities, for now. Thus, there's a trade-off for those who want faster 5G service from T-Mobile or AT&T. For the faster mmWave 5G service available in only certain cities, customers wouldn't be able to take advantage of T-Mobile and AT&T's somewhat faster 5G service at lower frequencies available most everywhere now.
Verizon, on the other hand, has no 5G service in the low band, and limited mid band service in the 5.2 range. Verizon states that it is not "re-purposing" 4G, as they call it, in the lower frequencies as their competitors are doing. Instead, Verizon is rolling out what they call their new 5G Ultra Wideband cellular network in several dozen cities using 28 and 39 GHz frequencies up in the mmWave band. They advertise download speeds of 1,000 to 2,000 Mbps (1-2 Gbps, or Gigabits per second)...that is, if you can get their signal. More on that later. As I have said, T-Mobile and AT&T are also rolling out limited 5G service at these same download speeds in the mmWave band, but only in select cities. In fact, AT&T's mmWave 5G service is only open to business customers.
How Can We Use This Information Specific to Each Carrier To Protect Ourselves?
All of this information has implications for us when we consider how to protect ourselves from 5G. Knowing which company is installing what particular type of small cell antenna near your home and what type of service they will offer can help you determine how much risk you may actually have, how well you can measure it, and how best you can shield yourself.
5G signals in the mmWave band are much more elusive and cover a much smaller area around each small cell antenna than new "5G Lite" or 4G LTE Advanced service from carriers transmitting in the low to midband, because the wavelength is so short in the mmWave band.
These ultra-fast download speeds offered by Verizon's sole entry into the 5G world in the mmWave band and the limited mmWave service offered by T-Mobile and AT&T are what most people in our community think of when they read about 5G. You are seeing, however, that much of the initial roll out of 5G by the cell industry is this "5G Lite" service with somewhat faster speeds and much larger coverage areas, but using frequencies in the low and mid bands that have been used for decades for all generations of cell technology up to and including 4G. Plus, 4G service, as I have said, will be expanded greatly in residential neighborhoods with millions of new small cell antennas. We can measure and shield against these frequencies, although transmitters on small cell antennas will be much closer to our homes.
Thus, the experience of 5G if you are a Verizon customer will be different than if you are a T-Mobile, AT&T or Sprint 5G customer. All customers seeking faster 5G service in any band will need new 5G-enabled phones. The Verizon 5G customer must be close, within a block or so, to a Verizon 28 or 39 GHz transmitter, which has a much smaller coverage area than the coverage of less fast "5G Lite" competitors. That is also true for those few T-Mobile and AT&T "5G+" mmWave 5G customers.
See 5G coverage maps showing Verizon's Ultra Wideband service now available in certain cities on their website, by clicking here. Verizon's website says, "5G Ultra Wideband is available outdoors near key locations shown here." (Emphasis added) Note the use of the word, "outdoors", indicating that Verizon's 5G service in the mmWave band is not as reliable indoors. As you will see below, reports bear that out, although Verizon is trying to improve that.
Customers using 5G service in the mmWave band from any carrier are usually passed off to 4G LTE or WiFi for data connections when the phone is indoors, where 5G in the mmWave band does not easily penetrate. Ultra-fast 5G service for Verizon customers along with T-Mobile's limited mmWave 5G service and AT&T's 5G+ service are therefore primarily an outdoor phenomenon, at least for now.
T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint customers who want more widespread 5G service, on the other hand, will have a completely different experience. They will see a modest increase in download speeds over what they have now, perhaps up to two to ten times faster. That improved service will also be offered over a much larger geographic area. This will include when users are indoors because RF signals at 600 MHz, used by T-Mobile, 850 MHz used by AT&T, and 2,500 MHz/2.5 GHz used by Sprint all easily pass through walls.
What are the practical implications of this knowledge for us as we learn how to protect ourselves, especially if you are electrically hypersensitive? It all depends upon what frequency band the 4G or 5G service offered by the cell company installing the small cell antenna in front of your house is using.
If you find out it is a Verizon 5G small cell antenna:
If, on the other hand, you learn that the small cell antenna in front of your house is a 5G antenna with T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T, then:
It is possible to know what neighborhoods these new 5G small cell antennas are being installed in. The cell carriers are announcing that with maps with lesser or greater specificity on their websites.
T-Mobile's nationwide 5G coverage map, for example, is available here. Zoom in on T-Mobile's national map to find your location. You will see that most of the populated portions of the US are now covered with T-Mobile's low band (600 MHz) 5G coverage. If you go to T-Mobile network under Support on T-Mobile's website, by clicking here, you will see that they have nationwide 5G service at 600 MHz. They also have spotty 5G service at 28 and 39 GHz "in pockets of select cities". These are the two 5G offerings by T-Mobile.
The trick with T-Mobile is you need a different 5G phone for their 600 MHz 5G service than you do for their much more limited 28 and 39 GHz 5G service. They currently don't have a phone that covers both of their 5G services in the low and high bands. They will also continue to provide 4G LTE service at 600 GHz and at other low and mid band frequencies that they have used for years (700, 850, 1700/2100 and 1900 MHz). Their network, like all other cell carriers, provides a blend of 4G LTE and 5G coverage, and T-Mobile's 5G coverage is at two different bands.
T-Mobile offers a completely different 5G experience for those who want their high band 5G service in the millimeter Wave band. For that, you need to purchase their Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. To see the high band 5G service maps showing limited coverage in select cities (six, so far), click here. You will see that it is much more limited than their almost nationwide coverage for their high band 5G service linked to above, and again here.
AT&T is providing what they call, "5G Evolution", which will have the designation "5G E" in the upper corner of the phone when service is available. That service promises to provide twice the download speeds of current 4G LTE service. Customers will have to purchase a 5G-enabled phone and service is currently only available in certain cities, however that coverage is quite widespread in the cities in which it is located. To see a list of cities currently offering AT&T's 5G Evolution service, click here. At the top of the page, they list 16 cities with individual maps of cities that you can link to. However, you are unable to zoom in on any map to see individual streets. 5G coverage looks fairly widespread in those cities listed. Unfortunately, they do not specify if this is for their 5G Evolution or for their 5G+ service. I would assume it is the former, meaning it would be in the low band at 850 MHz.
AT&T's "5G Evolution" website page, linked to here, lists carrier aggregation ("adding more 'lanes' to the highway that data travels on"), 4X4 MIMO (which "doubles the number of antennas that can send data back and forth") and 256 QAM (that "makes data transmission more efficient") as the ways that AT&T will double the data download speed of their 5G Evolution network. This would be at their 850 MHz frequency in the low band. They advertise, as of December 2019, that 5G Evolution is "now live in over 50 markets". They expect to cover "the majority of all Americans". They are also upgrading their 4G LTE network by adding more 4G LTE towers, adding fiber to their backhaul network "for higher peak speeds", and upgrading their core network architecture and software to reduce latency. These are ways in which all cell carriers are enhancing their 4G LTE network under the label of "5G" outside of the mmWave band, where Verizon is located for the bulk of their 5G service.
AT&T is also launching their mmWave 5G service, called "5G+" in select cities, but only to business customers. Certain phones that they now sell have this capability. Click here for a list of cities that have AT&T 5G+ service.
Sprint offers what they call "True Mobile 5G" at 2.5 GHz. The service is currently available in nine cities. As I said, Sprint has no 5G properties in the mmWave band at present. Sprint requires the enabling of VoLTE, or Voice over LTE, to allow all their new 5G-capable phones to use their 5G service. VoLTE "will direct your voice calls over Sprint's advanced LTE network instead of our traditional wireless voice network. VoLTE will provide superior voice quality and allow you to browse the Internet and use data-driven apps while on a call. VoLTE must be enabled on your device to experience our 5G network where available."
Sprint's 5G coverage map is available here. Zoom in on the map over your city using the "+" symbol in the upper left to see areas with 5G coverage (which are orange when you zoom in, contrasted with yellow areas showing 4G LTE coverage — click on "Legend" in the upper right corner of the map). You can zoom all the way down to see what type of coverage exists in your neighborhood, whether their 5G service, available in large areas of nine cities, or their enhanced 4G service, or regular 4G service.
The map says, "Coverage depends on your device. Sprint offers a variety of network technologies. Your coverage will depend on the device you choose. To show the correct coverage, please pick a device." Or you can pick, "No thanks, show me all coverage". With Sprint's map, you can see block by block exactly where their 5G service is located and where it currently is not.
Bear in mind that these companies are continuously installing new antennas, so keep checking the 5G coverage maps for each company to see if 5G service has arrived on your block. This is helpful particularly for those people who are electrically hypersensitive, or EHS, so they can look for areas to live without 5G antennas. Remember, there are different kinds of 5G antennas, as you are learning in this article, and expanded use of 4G LTE in residential neighborhoods is a major threat.
Compare that to T-Mobile's 4G LTE coverage map, which shows almost blanket coverage, available by clicking here.
According to T-Mobile's website's Open Internet Policies page, the company offers it's low band 5G customers "Dual Connectivity", whereby they receive low band 600 MHz 5G data service on a low band 5G-enabled phone in a service area that has a low band 5G cell tower nearby. They say, "T-Mobile expects that its low band 5G network will initially provide, on average, download speeds that are noticeably faster than its nationwide 4G LTE network (based on modeling, roughly 20% faster on average nationally)." They will provide more updated data as they collect it from 5G customers. On that same page, they report typical 4G LTE Network data download speeds "typically between 9-47 Mbps." Upload speeds are usually slower, listed as "typically between 4-20 Mbps". A customer's cell phone may be handed off to a slower 4G LTE connection when the 5G service is not available, although their website says, "your phone's network indicator shows '5G' in a 5G coverage area, but you are connected to the 4G LTE network."
T-Mobile's claim is that they have the jump on their competition because they are enhancing their existing 600 MHz 4G LTE network to create their new 5G network. That will allow new 5G-enabled phones with carrier aggregation and modulation technologies to send more data at the same frequencies as their 4G LTE network uses now. 600 MHz is the lowest frequency used by any cell carrier in the US but it has the longest wavelength, about 15 inches or so. That penetrates building walls very well and signals travel the farthest.
Confused? You see, this whole 5G experience is a patchwork of different protocols at different frequencies, requiring different antennas transmitting to different cell phones. 5G cell phones likewise have multiple antennas using different frequencies and technologies, like their 4G cousins. It is hard for those of us in this field to keep up, let alone a consumer who is electrically sensitive who is just trying to protect themself.
It is evident from this carrier by carrier review that each company is using specific technologies in specific frequencies, some only in one band and others offering plans in several bands.
mmWave 5G Signals Are On-Demand and Narrow
One important distinction to understand between 4G LTE and 5G technology is that 5G signals in the mmWave band are sent on-demand. This is misunderstood by many who think 5G beam formed signals in the mmWave are always-on. Instead, they only transmit when a 5G-enabled device calls for a connection. Then the 5G signal is sent out in a narrow beam using beam forming technology. Otherwise, the mmWave 5G small cell antenna is dormant (except for a weak, intermittent reference signal—see below). 5G small cell antennas using the mmWave band will not be sweeping the neighborhood with strong, focused beam formed signals, as some think.
4G LTE Signals Are Always-On, Wide and Strong
4G LTE signals, on the other hand, do bathe a neighborhood with strong, always-on RF energy at widths of 120 degrees. They are every bit the culprit as 5G signals are in this story.
Some engineers told me that a beam formed 5G signal, when it does transmit, is 2 degrees wide, while others said it is up to 15 degrees wide, so I write 2-15 degrees wide. Since the signal is broadcast at up to 10-100 Watts, it does not go as far as a macro 4G LTE signal at 1,000 Watts. The industry says small cell signals at 10 to 100 Watts travel roughly 1-1.5 blocks, however Verizon has measured 1+ Gbps (Gigabits per second) data download speeds at 28 GHz at half a mile.
Also, while manufacturers are saying that the industry wants to keep power output from small cell antennas low to keep electricity consumption low in an effort to minimize operating costs, reports are surfacing from 5G activists that cell carriers may exceed the 10 to 100 Watts ERP for the strength of the transmission of their small cell antennas in the future. It turns out, however, that RF measurements taken by building biologists and others with RF meters currently on the market today show extremely high RF measurements in second story bedrooms just dozens of feet from 4G LTE-enabled small cell antennas transmitting even at 10 to 100 Watts.
We need to understand that 4G LTE signals from small cell antennas are, as I have said, always-on regardless of the power density, whether 10 or 100 Watts, as on new small cell antennas, or 1,000 Watts, as on existing macro cell towers. Small cell antennas with 4G LTE transmitters would therefore send out a constant RF signal that is 120 degrees wide and shaped like a cone. Again, even though it would be transmitting at 10-100 Watts, the 4G LTE signal from one of those small cell antennas could be as close as 30-100 feet from your house at the second story level, creating very high RF levels that we have measured in second story bedrooms from these 4G LTE signals.
4G Is as Problematic as 5G — Measuring and Shielding
5G activists with whom I have spoken who helped us write the 5G article for the Building Biology Institute told me they are most concerned with the presence of 4G LTE transmitters on new small cell antennas being much closer to people's homes on every street, even if they transmit at only 10 or 100 Watts (compared to 1,000 Watts for macro towers). At least you can measure the 4G LTE signal from a small cell antenna with every RF meter/detector we have available to us, because they use low and mid band sub-6 GHz frequencies, all of which we can measure with our RF meters. Also, most RF-shielding materials will shield signals in these bands, including paint, building foil and RF-shielding fabrics.
In the super-20 GHz mmWave band, 5G signals will also be able to be blocked by solid RF-shielding materials like two layers of paint or foil. Also, Aaronia has a silver fabric that appears to block signals in those mmWave frequencies, but all other fabrics won't do as well. Their RF-shielding pattern is on a downward path on the graph as you approach 18 GHz, which is as high as we can measure with current equipment. To see the graph, click here.
What Will New Cell Phones Be Like?
New cell phones will have 4G LTE, 5G and WiFi receivers and transmitters. Your phone will connect to whichever antenna provides the strongest connection wherever you are located. Inside most homes in the world today, this would be a WiFi network. However, if you have 5G technology embedded in your new phone, you will connect to a nearby 5G small cell antenna if one is close to your house in your network...provided your phone is stationary.
If you are a visitor and don't have the password or the home does not have WiFi, your phone would connect to a nearby 5G antenna if there is one, but primarily if your phone is stationary. If your phone moves, it will tend to lose its 5G connection and connect instead to a local 4G antenna, as it does now. That 4G transmitter would be on its own or alongside a 5G transmitter on the small cell antenna outside your home if your neighborhood has them. If not, your mobile device would connect to an existing 4G LTE antenna on a distant macro cell tower, as it has done for the past decade.
Beam formed 5G signals in the mmWave band are best received when the 5G-enabled cell phone is stationary inside someone's house. When the phone is moved around, it will be passed from one zone to another coming from the 5G antenna, or it will be passed back to a nearby 4G LTE tower or to the person's indoor Wi-Fi network with data flowing at slower speeds. (Dynamic 5G where the 5G small cell antenna can track the phone as it is moved around is not yet possible, but engineers expect that to happen within a few years.) The fast 5G download primarily happens when the 5G-enabled phone is kept in one place. Journalists for Wired magazine lost the 5G signal and were switched back to slower 4G when they walked into stores when testing 5G downloads in test cities. They only received the fast 5G signal when outside on the city sidewalk. Remember, 5G service in the mmWave band will be limited to certain areas within select cities. See coverage maps for mmWave 5G service above.
Also, 5G-enabled cell phones do not currently send data back at 5G mmWave frequencies, according to engineers with whom I spoke. They use 4G LTE frequencies and protocols when sending data back to a 5G tower.
Alasdair Phillips wrote a very succinct piece recently saying that 5G in the mmWave band will primarily be deployed in dense urban areas. It is not considered by industry as a carrier or blanket network because it does not go as far nor does it penetrate building materials as sub-6 GHz signals do, which are now 4G LTE and will be expanded and upgraded to 5G.
4G LTE antennas on existing macro cell towers can locate your phone down to 50 feet. If the cell industry gets its way, small cell antenna arrays with 4G LTE transmitters will appear on every block, able to locate your phone down to 3 feet. Then, massive amounts of data can be uploaded using 5G transmitters on the same small cell antenna. Harvesting that data, data that we willingly provide through social media and other platforms, will be worth trillions of dollars to the cell industry as new income in the coming years. That is why the cell industry is pushing so hard for the installation of 4G antennas in every neighborhood, so they can better locate your phone to extract data, not to mention the surveillance and other issues that become possible with the massive movement of data. 5G connections allow that, particularly with "fixed wireless."
Fixed wireless, as opposed to mobile wireless, is a big component of 5G. I am told by 5G activists that cell carriers are planning to compete head to head with existing cable and telephone companies that provide wired Internet service to homes and businesses over coaxial cable and telephone lines. Cable and telephone companies are regulated by Public Utility Commissions in every state, capping how much they can charge customers for delivery of Internet data.
Cell carriers, on the other hand, are not bound by these restrictions because their "last mile" is wireless. That means, they are unregulated and can charge whatever the market will bear, without restriction. Cell carriers are laying thousands of miles of fiberoptic cable to bring terabytes of data to their small cell antennas for pennies. That data will then be sprayed into residential neighborhoods wirelessly, bathing homes in high-strength radio frequency signals at close range.
Characteristics of 5G Transmitters Relative to Your Health
What many people do not know is that 5G antennas in the high band only transmit beam formed signals when mobile devices initiate a connection. That means, if we consider mobile wireless service in a residential area, 5G signals will not sweep through neighborhoods like 4G LTE signals do. Engineers and 5G activists know this.
4G antennas will be always-on, constantly spraying homes with hard-to-shield radio frequencies at very close range. Yet, this is also part of cell company activity in the era of "5G." Granted, the effective radiated power of these 4G LTE antennas will be lower than is currently the case from 4G LTE cell antennas on existing macro cell sites, but instead of a mile away, the 4G antenna on the small cell antenna on your street will be 25-100 feet from your bedroom window. RF readings have been measured in the hundreds of thousands of microWatts per squared meter in these rooms, especially second story bedrooms, well above the building biology recommended safe level of ten microWatts per squared meter or less in sleeping areas.
Bear in mind, however, that while mobile wireless 5G transmitters on small cell antennas in residential neighborhoods will only transmit when mobile devices initiate a connection, consumer equipment units (CEUs) mounted on or inside customer's homes to bring wireless Internet into the home will draw a relatively constant beam formed connection. That is how Verizon's 5G Home wireless Internet service works. Their 28 GHz small cell antenna mounted on a utility pole sends a signal to a CEU on a customer's wall or inside their window, which then sends the Internet over an Ethernet cable to their modem/router. That router then distributes the Internet data inside the home using traditional WiFi and Ethernet jacks.
Thus, if you are electrically sensitive, we would advise you to stick with your hardwired Internet service from the cable or telephone company. We have strategies to help keep those services hardwired without the need for WiFi. Again, see my article, Safer Use of Computers for details.
As more and more fixed wireless devices go into residential homes and businesses, along with the use of new 4G/5G hybrid cell phones, 5G signals will increase in neighborhoods, especially in dense urban areas. 5G signals to fixed and mobile devices in neighbor's homes will be narrow, so try to avoid bringing these devices into your home if you want some degree of protection. See below for information on shielding materials.
The bottom line is, if you live in or visit a city and regularly walk on city streets, you will be bathed in 4G and 5G signals at close range, much closer than 4G LTE signals have been in the past for most of us. The cell industry is focusing most of its investment dollars in establishing 5G service in dense urban areas first because that is where the bulk of their customers are. It is a matter of economics for them.
5G Small Cell Antennas Will Transmit a Weak Reference Signal
One thing I learned in the autumn of 2019 when I attended a 5G industry conference was that small cell mmWave 5G antennas do send out what industry calls a reference signal looking for a 5G-enabled device. Those bursts will last 10 or 20 milliseconds and will occur a few times a minute. To conserve power, this signal is very weak. It was measured at -60 to -70 dBm, or decibels per meter, at two booths on the recent trade show floor, where measuring devices were located. We used $35,000 to $60,000 spectrum analyzers to measure 28 GHz 5G signals coming from antennas in the rafters of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Those antennas were not part of the show. They have been installed by a cell company for attendees of all the trade shows at the Convention Center.
That -60 to -70 dBm signal is equal to 0.1 to 0.01 microWatts/meter squared. You can see that equivalence by clicking here and scrolling down on the chart to -60 dBm and then scrolling over to the column for uW/m2 (microWatts/meter squared). That -60 to -70 dBm would be measured outside a house conceivably coming from a beam formed 5G signal sent in the mid or high/mmWave band from a small cell antenna located in front of your house. The walls and window glass of your house would then block that signal considerably from getting into the house. Granted, no one wants to have any RF coming to their house from any source, but a signal that weak and at that wavelength would not penetrate walls very well. That 0.1 to 0.01 microWatt signal would also be overshadowed by the RF signals measuring 5-20 microWatts/meter squared or more that I routinely measure standing in front of every urban and suburban home I evaluate in my EMF practice here in Southern California coming from distant 4G LTE cell towers all around most houses. Those 4G signals have a much longer wavelength and do penetrate the walls of every house. You have to be out in the country to avoid having 4G LTE towers nearby.
In fact, in most homes that I evaluate, I routinely measure 20-150 microWatts/meter squared of RF in second story bedrooms, where neighbor's houses don't block the signals mostly coming in from nearby outside 4G LTE macro cell towers. How do I know that these RF signals are from 4G cell towers? By the high-pitched squealing sound they make that I have learned to associate with cell towers. I have seen and heard this on my Gigahertz Solutions HF59B RF meter for years (and now also on my Safe & Sound Pro II RF meter). Sometimes the WiFi of my client's router or a neighbors router is mixed in, but the strength of the neighbor's signal drops off with distance.
That is the milieu in which we all live in any city or town in America before small cell antennas of any kind are added. We already have a toxic soup of 4G LTE signals right now. Fifth generation (5G) cell technology to be implemented over the coming decade will add many more 4G LTE and 5G small cell antennas to our neighborhoods, especially in dense cities (if they are not stopped through neighborhood efforts).
How Can We Measure 5G?
Current RF meters can only measure RF signals up to 8-12 GHz. That means they cannot measure 5G signals in the new super-20 GHz mm wave range. They can, however, measure 4G transmitters that will be going up on small cell arrays outside your home and on city streets. New, enhanced 5G equipment transmitting at the same low to midband sub-6 GHz frequencies will also be picked up by your existing RF meter.
RF meters that measure in the super-20 GHz high band range are really spectrum analyzers. They are expensive, they only measure in average mode and they only use diodes for measurement. They are considered not sensitive enough for 5G, according to experts such as Prof. Trevor Marshall. New, affordable RF meters designed to specifically measure super-20 GHz 5G signals are, however, under development.
If you have an RF meter and you measure a signal from a new small cell antenna near your house, you are measuring 4G or new, enhanced 5G transmitters in the low to midband range, not signals above 20 GHz. Yet, as I mentioned above, this is all part of what is now being called "5G". These low to midband 4G and 5G frequencies are still quite harmful even if they are not in the super-20 GHz band and should be avoided. Thus, there is more to be concerned about than just beam formed signals above 20 GHz, which is what most people are presently focused upon. At least, we can measure RF signals below 6 GHz.
When deciding how to measure 5G, then, remember that you will be able to measure existing 4G frequencies and new 5G frequencies in the sub-6 GHz range. RF meters that do that include several
affordable models that are relatively accurate and have good quality sound. These include:
How Can We Protect Ourselves From 5G?
4G and 5G signals can be shielded by various materials, depending upon the frequency of the signal. That is why it is important to know that 5G will come in two frequency ranges. In the low and mid bands, RF-shielding paints, copper mesh, aluminum building foil and most RF-shielding fabrics are all relatively effective at blocking RF, if you are careful in your analysis and application of the material.
In the super-20 GHz mm wave high band, however, only paint and building foil will be effective. Copper mesh and most fabrics, on the other hand, lose their effectiveness above 12-18 GHz.
Besides paint and building foil, you can best protect yourself in your own home by not purchasing a 5G-enabled cell phone, keeping cell phones off when at home, and using hardwired alternatives for all your devices, as mentioned above. Do not bring new 5G-enabled wireless devices into your home, such as new routers and smart speakers. Opt out of your electric, water and gas utility’s smart meter programs, if possible. If not, shield your smart utility meters with a smart meter guard, such as from Smart Meter Guard or Smart Meter Covers.
Hire a building biologist to measure the RF levels inside and outside your home and help guide you on how to shield effectively and find hardwired alternatives to wireless devices. We can also trace and help repair/reduce/eliminate other forms of EMFs. Find a building biologist in your area at the Find an Expert tab at the top of the Building Biology Institute website.
Also be aware that industry experts doubt that the economics of 5G will allow large scale deployment by the cell industry of 5G in rural areas any time soon. These experts feel 5G will be mostly concentrated in dense urban areas, where most customers are located. EHS people need to avoid areas of high population density. If you are electrically sensitive, you need to consider living in a rural area away from other people. Reports in the industry say that cell companies will not invest in putting mmWave antennas in rural areas. What will go up in rural areas are more 4G antennas, including small cell LTE Advanced antennas and low and mid band 5G coverage from T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. The latter will primarily be in towns. It would be rare that a cell carrier would put up a small cell antenna in front of only one or two homes in a rural area, unless they are trying to provide coverage for travelers on the highway. So, don't live near major roads when out in the country.
In my opinion, every electrically sensitive person should own an accurate RF meter and learn how to use it properly. Measure any place you plan to live or spend any length of time in to be sure RF levels are acceptable for you. See my list above of recommended RF meters. We recommend nighttime RF levels be below 10 microWatts per meter squared, and as close to 10-20 microWatts in the daytime. That is hard to achieve in most residential areas, let alone in a city. I routinely measure 50-150 microWatts in upstairs bedrooms in suburban areas from distant cell towers (and sometimes from WiFi in my own client's home — we then endeavor to educate them about the need to switch to hardwired Internet connections and then shut off their WiFi most or all of the time).
What 5G Will Mean to Our Health and to the Health of Our Planet
The most troubling aspect of the deployment of RF signals in the high mm band above 20 GHz is the particular effect that short and long term exposure to these frequencies is expected to have on human health. The short wavelength of these signals means they will not penetrate much deeper than the skin, but the skin itself is a large organ with it's own integrity and biological properties. Exposure to signals in the mm band is known to harm the skin, as well as the eyes. Some report that the helical nature of sweat glands provides a path for mm Wave frequencies to penetrate deeper into the body than only skin deep. Researchers speak about "Brillouin Precursors." These can open small channels through the cell membrane, inducing a large electrostatic potential in the process. (See Jeremy Naydler's article here.) People are already reporting adverse health effects in cities where 5G signals in the mm band are being tested.
We are quite concerned about the massive increase in RF signals that will bathe particularly our urban and suburban environments in ever-increasing amounts of microwave energy as 5G is deployed, threatening the health of people, animals, insects, plants and even microorganisms. We encourage you to learn about and join efforts to slow and halt the deployment of 5G. It must be properly tested. It will, in my opinion, ultimately be deemed to be harmful, just as cigarette smoke, lead, asbestos and GMOs were all found to be harmful. See Recent EMF News on this site for links to websites with information on the dangers of long term exposure to existing wireless signals, both outside and inside your home.
Right now, we are still in the middle of our honeymoon with wireless/cellular technology. Most people don't feel any ill effects, or they and their doctors do not notice the connection between symptoms they do have and the EMFs they are exposed to. Researchers have shown that wireless devices are harmful to 100% of cells and tissues when holding cellphones at close range next to your head and body, even from a call as short as two minutes. These researchers estimate that two-thirds of the population can repair that damage when they sleep at night. Yet, one third of people cannot repair that damage, which is a staggering number. Those individuals often go on to develop frank disease.
That is your real risk. Unfortunately, you don't even know how high the RF exposure is from devices in close proximity to your body because they bathe you in silent, invisible RF signals throughout the day and sometimes, at night if you charge your cell phone on your bedside table. Remember, follow the principles to reduce use, increase distance and favor hardwired connections wherever possible.
Unfortunately, in my opinion we haven't yet reached critical mass, as we had to do with tobacco, asbestos and lead in gasoline, where enough people had to get sick and die before the public demanded action from regulators and industry. Sadly, we are not at that point with the public at large when it comes to wireless devices and almost everyone wants to use them. We have indeed seen this movie before.
What to Pay Attention to in Neighborhoods
I say, what you really don't want is a 4G small cell antenna in front of your house. This is because the 4G LTE antenna will be always-on, transmitting RF 24/7 into your house with a signal that is 120 degrees wide. Again, even if it is only 10 to 100 Watts and not 1,000 Watts like an existing 4G LTE cell tower a mile away, the new 4G LTE small cell antenna in front of your house will be only 25-100 feet away with always-on 4G cell signals. Colleagues have measured up to 400,000 microWatts/meter squared of RF power flux density with their Gigahertz Solutions HF59B RF meter in second story bedrooms. (You can also measure this well with the Acoustimeter RF meter—measuring in peak, not average—as well as the new Safe & Sound Pro II RF Detector from Safe Living Technologies).
Remember, if you can measure an RF signal with your RF meter coming from any small cell antenna, you are measuring the 4G LTE signal transmitting in the low or mid band, not a super-20 GHz mmWave 5G signal. Our RF meters cannot measure 24, 28 or 39 GHz, which are the frequencies cell carriers are using in the mmWave band (with more frequencies to come as they are auctioned off by the FCC).
In my efforts to help my electrically sensitive clients to avoid RF exposure from coming Fifth Generation cell technology, I am telling them that as they oppose small cell antennas in their neighborhood, if a small cell antenna does end up in front of their house in spite of their efforts to stop it, what they don't want, as I said above, is a 4G model. The 4G LTE signal will be always-on and constantly broadcasting in a wide path.
The super 20 GHz mmWave 5G signal, on the other hand, from any small cell antenna transmitting in those super-20 GHz frequencies will be on-demand. When it does transmit, the signal will be 2-15 degrees wide, aimed at the house of the neighbor who has a new 5G-enabled cell phone. This sounds like heresy, but I am realizing that if one only has a beam formed mmWave 5G antenna in front of their house instead of a 4G LTE transmitter, that would be somewhat less of a threat than a 4G antenna because that beam formed mmWave 5G antenna would not be transmitting high levels of RF energy into their house on a constant basis, as would be the case with a 4G LTE antenna.
That beam would be narrow and only sent into the home of a neighboring customer with a 5G-enabled phone. This is also only in certain urban neighborhoods. 5G service in the low band, on the other hand, from T-Mobile and AT&T would be different, meaning, not beam formed, more wide and always on.
From what I have learned from multiple engineers, that is my current understanding. I am in no way saying a small cell antenna of any kind is safe in front of anyone's house. I am saying, if it happens that the EHS people with whom I work end up having a beam formed mmWave 5G antenna in front of their house, that might not be as devastating as having a 4G LTE antenna of any power, because 4G LTE antennas are always-on and their signal is wide. Neither belong in residential neighborhoods and we need to join organizations and individuals protesting the placement of small cell antennas of any kind in residential neighborhoods.
I have seen 4G LTE antennas covered in a cylinder at the top of a small cell array on a light pole, with a square pizza box-sized rectangular 4G or 5G antenna below it. Below both is another box, which is the radio for either or both antennas.
If a 5G antenna (without the cylinder or some other 4G shape) does go up in front of one of my clients' houses, if they don't get a new 5G-enabled cell phone, or if they shut that feature off (I believe you can do that), then I contend that that narrow 5G beam formed signal will not go into their house when it is sent out from that 5G antenna to their neighbor's house. This may be somewhat of a silver lining, but it in no way means anyone should not still oppose the presence of a small cell antenna in their residential neighborhood. I want to be clear about that. I am only trying to help my EHS clients in case a mmWave 5G antenna does end up on their street.
How can you tell if a small cell antenna is a mmWave 5G antenna and not a 4G antenna? Once it is activated, if you cannot measure a signal with your RF meter, it will be a 5G transmitting in the mmWave band. If you do measure a strong signal on your RF meter that you know is coming from that antenna, then it has a 4G or a low band 5G transmitter in it.
You can put your RF meter in front of your chest and turn around in a circle in place. If the RF signal on your meter drops when your back is to the antenna and increases when you turn so that you are facing it, and if the RF signal level and sound increases as you walk towards it, that is proof that that is the source. You will also have other signals mixed in from stronger 4G cell antennas farther away that all sound the same (a high-pitched squeal), but you can use your hands to block the signal on different sides of the RF meter and use your body. The water in our bodies and hands is an excellent shield that blocks RF signals. This helps determine the direction of RF sources.
If you have a 4G small cell array near your house, you can shield the RF signals with Y-Shield paint (two layers) or building foil, plus window shielding. That will block both 4G LTE and 5G signals in the low to mid band, as well as super-20 GHz 5G signals. (Fabric, except the Aaronia silver fabric, will not block mmWave 5G signals well.)
Don't Forget the Many RF Sources Inside Your Home
Also, it goes without saying that everyone needs to pay extra attention to eliminating all RF sources inside your homes, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. from cell phones, tablets, laptops, cordless telephones, smart TVs, etc. We have hardwired alternatives for all of that. Go to my website on the Safer Use of Computers page, at https://createhealthyhomes.com/safercomputers.php.
I see clients worry about 5G who have RF all throughout their house daily. Clients often have me evaluate their homes because of fears of 5G. We routinely find a half-dozen sources of very high RF right inside the house. Chief among them are the clients' cell phones. Bluetooth is now on constantly on most iPhones that I measure. Check that out with your RF meter and listen to the sounds cell phones make, right in your pocket.
This is all very complicated, to say the least, but I hope it helps readers of this website. I suggest that folks consider reading through this material more than once, possibly with some time between readings so the information sinks in. You will pick up and remember more of it with each re-reading.
I also suggest that you consider downloading the online course on 5G that we wrote on the Building Biology Institute website, available by clicking here.
What Do 5G Activists Say?
5G activists recommend the following points:
Resources on 5G
See links to 5G resources at the beginning of this article.
In particular, you can purchase the online course entitled, 5G: Understanding the Technology & Protection Strategies (IBE 221.4) published by the Building Biology Institute, available by clicking here. Download a free three-page summary Fact Sheet of the online 5G course at the same link and by clicking here.
To learn more about and support the work of 5G activists around the nation and world and to learn more about 5G, go to such websites as:
One of the best resources of information on the debacle of wireless use without testing or taking into account the needs of electrically sensitive people is the documentary, Generation Zapped. It is available from a number of sources linked to from the home page of this website in the Recent EMF News section.
Scientists are circulating a letter warning of the potential health risks of 5G. Access the letter at https://ehtrust.org/scientists-and-doctors-demand-moratorium-on-5g-warning-of-health-effects/.
Finally, here is an interesting article from an industry magazine, Computer World, published on September 29, 2018 by Mike Elgan, entitled, "Why 5G will disappoint everyone — Wireless connections that are 20 times faster? What could be disappointing about that?". Read the article by clicking here.
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