Here’s why 5G is more expensive – optical fibre sets a new price surge


Optical Fibre

The commercialization of the 5G network is getting into advanced stages. Over the past three years, there have been multiple improvements in 5G services. However, relative to the previous 3G and 4G networks, the investment in 5G network construction is much higher. For this reason, operators of 5G networks charge much higher fees than they did for 3G and 4G networks. While there are already several complaints that the 5G network is too expensive, the fee is going higher. The problem is getting more serious because of a surge in optical fibre prices. According to recent reports, the prices of optical fibre cables have gone up by as much as 70%. Europe, India and China are the three hardest hit areas.

Optical Fibre

According to the Financial Times, after the fierce price war in the past few years, the price of optical fibre and cable has opened a new round of the prosperity cycle. The products are in short supply and the delivery period is long. According to market intelligence firm Cru Group, Europe, India and China are the regions most affected by the crisis. With optical fibre prices up 70% from a record low in March 2021, from $3.70 to $6.30 per fibre-km.

Optical fibre price rose 70%

Optical fibre is a slender and soft solid glass material. It consists of three parts: core, cladding and coating layer, and can be used as a light transmission tool. Compared with the copper metal used in traditional cables, optical fibre cables have a long transmission distance. It also comes with low loss and high bandwidth. Thus, they are gradually replacing copper wires as the main material for network transmission.

In 1966, Chinese Americans Kao and Hockham published a paper, and the concept of optical fibre was born. Then in 1970, Corning Corporation of the United States successfully developed an optical fibre with a loss of 20dB/km for the first time, and the era of optical fibre communication began.

China Mobile claims more 5G base stations reduce radiation

Since the commercialization of 5G networks, there have been several reports that it affects the physical health of people. However, most of these claims are just hearsay with no scientific backing. Is 5G base station radiation really harmful to the human body? Today, China Radio and Television published a report on this.

A single 5G base station comes with low radiation. Thus, will the intensive construction of 5G base stations also increase the radiation? China Radio and Television claim that the intensive construction of base stations shortens the communication distance and reduces the corresponding transmission power. Therefore, the more 5G base stations you build, the less radiation you get.

According to reports, the main emission direction of the electromagnetic waves of the communication base station is the horizontal direction. When the two base stations are far apart, in order to keep the signal stable, a stronger transmission power is required for signal transmission. The radiation has both ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. Sun exposure and X-ray irradiation belong to the former while microwaves, radio waves, Wi-Fi, communication base stations, etc. belong to the latter.

Some home appliances emit more radiation than 5G base stations

According to China Mobile, all its 5G base stations must meet the national standard in terms of emission frequency. This means that they will have less than 40 microwatts/square centimetre. For a more intuitive comparison, the radiation amount of the induction cooker is about 580 microwatts/square centimetre. Furthermore, the radiation amount of the hair dryer is about 580 microwatts/square centimetre. At 100 microwatts per square centimetre, the amount of radiation generated by a wireless router within 1 meter is approximately equal to 60 microwatts per square centimetre.

From this point of view, the radiation amount of 5G base stations is very negligible. In fact, the radiation amount of some of our home appliances is much more than what the 5G base station emits.

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