Why is America So Afraid of the 5G Technology?

The release of the 5G technologyhas been causing rising tensions between the US and China. The two countries are at Loggerheads over the Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei.  The Americans recently spoke up against the technological giant claiming that Huawei stole trade secrets and committed fraud and that the company has ties to the Chinese government and the Chinese military.

As is to be expected the company has denied these charges and even defended its records on privacy and security. However, despite its attempt to clear its name,allies of the United States such as Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Canada, New Zealand and Japan have imposed restrictions on Huawei equipment or are presently nurturing thoughts of doing so and they all claim to be doing this for security reasons.

In spite of all these claims, there is a school of thought which seems to think that the real reason why the US is suddenly out for the tech giant is because of the 5G technology which they have recently developed.

Will Knight writing for technological review has pointed out five things about the 5G technology which has potentially caused tension between China and the United States.

Knight explains that first of all, that the 5G technology is not a protocol or a device rather it’s an array of networking technologies meant to work in concert to connect everything such as home appliances or cars over-the-air. 5G will provide a whopping 20-gigabyte bandwidth per second this size of bandwidth is enough to download high-definition movies in seconds and use virtual reality on smartphones. The technology will be released this year and over the coming years, more advancement will be made to the technology.

He says 5G is better than any similar technology ever made because it operates on two different frequency ranges. “In one mode, they will exploit the same frequencies as existing 4G and Wi-Fi networks, while using a more efficient coding scheme and larger channel sizes to achieve a 25% to 50% speed boost. In a second mode, 5G networks will use much higher, millimetre-wave frequencies that can transmit data at higher speeds, albeit over shorter ranges.”

According to Knight, 5G will pose one of 5G’s biggest security issues ever witnessed in technology, due to how widely it will be used. “As with any brand-new technology, security vulnerabilities are sure to emerge early on. Researchers in Europe have already identified weak spots in the way cryptographic keys will be exchanged in 5G networks, for example. With so many more connected devices, the risk for data theft and sabotage…will be that much higher.”

In spite of all these potential security risks, it is said that with adequate research, 5G can be made secure in the future.  “If you do it correctly, you will actually have a more robust network,” says Muriel Médard, a professor who leads the Network Coding and Reliable Communications Group at MIT.

In the face of all the risks involved, the US government seems to have decided that it’s simply too much of a risk for a Chinese company to control the 5G infrastructure and this is the real reason why the US has consistently made efforts to stall the company’s expansion into Western markets.


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