In terms of infrastructure, 5G is very different to previous networks. It uses a new beam steering technology that connects users through smaller more directional radio signals from the base station rather that a wider signal that is sent to all mobiles.
Beam steering is more efficient as it can connect more users through the smaller radio signals and this actually reduces the overall exposure. It’s a similar concept to theatre ushers.
The usher uses a small pencil beam torch to show you to your seat, rather that switching on the full theatre lighting. Since the overall lighting is low, ushers can seat people without disturbing others.
5G works in-conjunction with 4G and will use a combination of existing mobile base stations and new small cells on street poles, lampposts and buildings as the technology evolves and more people need connection. It’s therefore of crucial importance to use the most accurate, reliable and proven methods to evaluate human exposure to radio frequency fields in the vicinity of base stations.
“5G is set to revolutionize wireless communications and play a major role in our future connected society and facilitate the road towards a more advanced Internet of Things,” says Mike Wood, who chairs IEC Technical Committee 106.
When fully deployed, the technology will not only increase downloading and uploading speeds over the mobile network, but also provide the connection for billions of IoT devices, as well as reducing latency, which is the time that networks take to respond. This opens a wide range of new possibilities, for example in robotics, vehicle and automotive safety systems, and remote medical applications.
TC 106 prepares international standards on measurement and calculation methods to assess human exposure to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields. It recently published a new IEC Technical Report on evaluating human exposure to radio frequency fields in the vicinity of base stations.
The report helps stakeholders — including facility managers, building owners and governments and local communities — to ensure that they are testing their networks and base stations correctly. “As 5G advances at a rapid rate and networks are deployed, testing base stations to ensure they meet the radio frequency (RF) exposure standards is an essential step for operators, regulators and the community, providing a reassurance on safety,” says Wood.