5G has, even since the very early days of its introduction (as, at that time, nothing more than an abstract concept) inspired a heavily mixed reaction from the public. For some, the technology represents a global turning point – the opportunity to explore the full limits of modern tech, and to make the very most of our private and professional lives without feeling tethered to Wi-Fi signals or ethernet ports.
Still, as with any change, there are those who resist it, and fail to see quite how beneficial it could be for communities across the globe.
And, to be sure, the fifth generation wireless cellular network is, like any new technology, not without a few setbacks, teething problems, and issues that must be addressed prior to its widespread rollout. While phone manufacturers are already releasing their own 5G ready devices, and cellular network companies the world over have already begun to install tech in a number of prominent cities – and a lucky few are already living and working in the future of mobile technology – a new and perhaps unexpected question hangs in the air: is the technology going to interfere with weather forecasting, and make it impossible for us to prepare for the weather each day.
Whether you are a meteorologist, or just don’t like going out in the rain, read more below to separate the fact from the fiction.
First, a Whistle-Stop Tour of the Benefits
For those of us who have yet to try 5G for ourselves, it remains difficult to imagine quite how beneficial this technology will be.
The number one benefit is the fact that we will have ease-of-access to incredible speeds and low latency, without needing to log into unsafe public Wi-Fi networks. What this means is that the full power of gaming software that offers a smooth, high quality style of gameplay like, for instance, GGPoker can be realised; streaming movies, and even live sports, can be achieved without freezeframes or latency; making video calls with friends, family or co-workers will no longer be held back or interrupted by slow speeds or poor connectivity.
In short, life will be transformed. All that’s left to do, unfortunately, is wait for the gradual rollout to take hold, and for this technology to finally achieve a status of near-ubiquity in our towns and cities.
What Does this Have to Do with the Weather?
In mid-2020, a new study was published at the 2020 IEEE 5G World Forum, in which it became apparent that the unique signals emitted by the fifth generation wireless cellular network could interfere with current methodologies for measuring water vapor within the atmosphere, resulting in skewed results for meteorologists attempting to make accurate weather predictions around the world.
At this point in time, the extent to which these 5G-induced discrepancies will matter is up for debate. While research remains slim, and in its very early stages, it remains to be seen whether 5G can be responsible for significant misrepresentations, or whether it will only make the slightest difference which can, with the right understanding and calculations, be corrected by meteorologists as and when the data comes in.
Of course, as a result of these findings, plenty of attention and resources will be given to understanding quite how the fifth generation wireless cellular network is capable of interfering with meteorological data collection, and we can anticipate further insight in the near future. Until then, it looks as though global efforts to rollout 5G continue on, albeit at the relatively slow pace with which we have become familiar in recent years.
For now, those living within 5G catchment areas can do their own amateur research, and make some regular comparisons with their local weather predictions to see whether or not this technology will derail meteorology around the world.