Curious theories that the COVID-19 virus is somehow related to the high frequency, short-range wireless emanations of 5G antennas have been rejected by Australia’s biggest telco, Telstra.

The reaction came as Byron Shire Council passed a motion to block development of 5G antennas after local campaigners claimed they were a health risk. Elsewhere on the Far North Coast of NSW, residents of the town of Mullumbimby continue to block technicians from installing hardware on a half-completed 5G tower over health fears.

Higher frequency wavelengths can carry more data as they have more peaks and troughs – 5G uses frequencies in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range to support 1000 more devices per metre than 4G. But the weeny antennas required to create such tiny wavelengths function over very short ranges – about 300 metres. There need to be many more 5G towers installed in a given area to offer blanket coverage and this higher prevalence frightens some in the community.

By comparison, lower frequency 4G has a range of about 14km, while the much lower frequencies of 3G can carry far less data than 4G on their limited peaks and troughs but they leverage those long waveforms to offer the greatest range of all. When installed in elevated locations, 3G can push 50-70km.

Theories that connect COVID and 5G are not new. In New Zealand, rumours swept the capital that NZ’s rigorous and highly successful COVID-19 lockdown was staged so 5G towers delivering government control of the population could be installed without people noticing. And recent polls suggest as many as 1 in 8 Australians believe 5G and COVID-19 are linked.

The theories persist despite the fact viruses spread by attaching to receptor sites on host cell membranes via proteins in a cell capsid, while the electromagnetic waves of wireless propagate through air based on the characteristics of their antennae and the level of electrical current used to generate them.

5G is an important technology that will open up the internet of things in a way security installers and end users can scarcely imagine, with more information supporting greater and more accurate situational awareness in every conceivable electronic security application. We can hardly wait.