The MIT Technology Review article on the advent of 5G communication systems states that:

Higher frequencies carry significantly more data. But they are also far more easily blocked by buildings, foliage, and even rain, making their use for mobile communications quite challenging

However, I can read on the Wikipedia page for gamma radiations that gamma rays have such a high penetrating power that it can even pass through the human body, let alone rain. Its penetrating power is higher than its lower frequency counterparts.

Given the Wikipedia fact, I would want to assume that 5G radiations - occupying higher frequency bands than their 4G predecessor - should be easier to setup because they would more easily penetrate the obstacles. Why is it then that the MIT article says they are "more easily blocked"?


1 Answer 1


In terms of frequency/wavelength the X-ray part of the electromagnetic spectrum (>300 PHz / <1 nm) is a long way away from the microwave/far infrared part (30-300 GHz / 10 - 1 mm) which might be used for 5G communications.

As well as absorption by buildings, foliage etc, atmospheric absorption of these waves with a peak due to Oxygen at 60 GHz, resonance frequencies of gas molecules particularly at 24 GHz and 60 GHz, scattering by rain drops which are roughly the same size as the wavelength of the waves, re-radiation of the absorbed waves and reduced diffraction effects which could be used to help with non-line of sight communication all contribute to the difficulties of using this part of the electromagnetic spectrum for 5G communication.


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