What is 5G?

5G is, as its name suggests, the 5th generation of mobile communications which will therefore succeed 4G, and before it 3G and 2G. Among the flagship promises of 5G is first a speed multiplied by 10.
It should make it possible to manage an ever greater number of connected devices. We are no longer just talking about smartphones, but also about computers, cars and a whole ecosystem of connected objects, especially in the professional world. Behind this last notion lies above all the idea that more and more autonomous machines will be connected to the mobile network: smart city, security, connected home …

What is the interest of this new technology?

The main promise of 5G will be to offer ubiquitous connectivity, or “ultra connectivity”, in the terms used by Arcep. It is the ability to remotely control billions of devices, machines and devices of all kinds and in all sectors of activity.

For the average user, 5G will offer more comfort on a daily basis. It will be able, for example, to download movies in 4K or even 8K, but also to play online without problem of latency (the transmission delay in computer communications).

Demonstration with this dragon in augmented reality in a stadium in South Korea during a baseball game. Big marketing coup from the operator SK telecom.

This is only for entertainment then?

Not at all, quite the contrary. The end of latency is what was lacking until then for the development of autonomous cars, for example. Thanks to this technology, vehicles will be able to interact directly with each other or with street furniture. Manufacturers have already made good progress on the issue. Ford, BMW, Peugeot and DS Automobiles have notably joined forces with chipmaker Qualcomm and are stepping up demonstrations of rapid vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data transfer. Ile-de-France has already allocated 100 million euros to become the world’s leading autonomous vehicle region. As of this year, dedicated lanes will be equipped with computer systems on the Ile-de-France motorways.

5G will also allow the development of telesurgery. A doctor in Paris will thus be able to operate on a patient on the other side of the world, via a robot. According to the South China Morning Post, a first remote operation on an animal was held on January 8 in China thanks to a communication established in 5G.


Are we going to have to change phones?

Obviously, you will have to go upmarket. To receive 5G, you will need a new modem built into your smartphone capable of supporting the new frequencies. No worries, all manufacturers are already in line to offer their models.


What about health?

First, a reminder of the situation: since 2011, radiofrequency electromagnetic fields have been classified in the category of phenomena which may possibly be carcinogenic. So there is uncertainty. It was the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a structure attached to the World Health Organization (WHO), which made this classification.

The category in which the waves fall is called 2B (possible carcinogens). There are 4 other levels: 1 (carcinogenic), 2A (probably carcinogenic), 3 (unclassifiable) and 4 (probably not carcinogenic). Clearly, the 2B classification is a group for which the scientific literature has not been able to establish a causal link with certainty demonstrating the harmfulness of waves.
However, caution remains in order. At the beginning of the year, the services of the Minister of Health recalled that 5G will have to be part of the current regulatory framework. Regarding public exposure to airwaves. Impossible for this new norm to break free from it because it would be a promising new or revolutionary one.

“It is the National Frequency Agency (ANFR) which is responsible for checking the compliance of radio terminals placed on the market, ensuring compliance with the regulatory limit values ​​for public exposure, keeping the protocol up to date. measurement, but also to manage the national system for monitoring and measuring exposure to electromagnetic fields. ”


5G: The jargon to understand

  • Frequencies below 6 GHz (or “Sub-6GHz”): these are the frequencies that are currently used by operators. As with 4G, they will gradually be converted into a 5G network. There are two types: very low frequencies (such as the 800 MHz gold band) and high frequencies, such as the 2100 MHz band.
  • Millimeter waves (or “mmWave”): these are waves whose frequency is greater than 6 GHz. They are the ones that offer speeds equivalent to those of optical fiber. They are dedicated to 5G and they do not have a great scope. They will therefore be used mainly in town.
  • SA and NSA (acronyms for Standalone and Non-Standalone): these are two types of 5G network. The first is a network where 5G works alone and does not depend on the 4G network, while the second depends on it. You are therefore connected in 5G, but you continue to transit on a 4G core network. Ultimately, all operators will offer an SA network.
  • DSS (acronym for Dynamic Spectrum Sharing): This is a function that allows 4G and 5G technologies to coexist on the same frequency bands. Initially, operators will decide to dedicate certain frequencies to 5G.
  • Carrier aggregation: this is the ability of the network to serve a single client with more than one connection (upload or download) simultaneously. This capacity can operate on conventional frequencies, below 6 GHz, and / or on millimeter waves.


Finally, 5G was made official in France on Wednesday November 18, 2020, and not November 6, 2020, the release date of Booba’s single titled 5G.


Sources :


Réseau 5G : déploiement, fonctionnement, usages et smartphones compatibles