back to article Gather round, friends. Listen close. It's time to list the five biggest lies about 5G

We thought the hype over next-generation mobile broadband networks couldn't get much thicker, but we were wrong. So let's just jump into the five biggest lies about 5G. 1. China is using the tech to spy on God-fearing Western nations No, it's not. 5G is upcoming technology, and China – because it is resurgent – is making a big …

  1. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Auction of spectrum solve issues...

    "...a big auction of new spectrum is going to solve all the issues with 5G..."

    Never, ever, never-ever "sell" spectrum.

    Instead, sell a lease for some extended duration (maybe 10 years).

    Then, make renewal of the lease conditional on 'good behaviour' during that period. Make sure that they realize that somebody is keeping score every single year, equally weighted. Low score equals eviction, with a new auction. Medium score means a shorter renewal duration. A high score might mean a new 15-year term. Their choice.

    (If you've already made a mistake along these lines, then correct it by re-nationalizing the spectrum, replacing any "ownership rights" with a replacement lease, under these same conditions. Damages would be minimal since all they need to do is behave themselves; they'd have a weak argument that they were planning to achieve a low score...)

    Only by keeping one hand on the dog leash have you any hope of instilling good behaviour.

    If you "sell" the public airwaves, then the telcos will form packs of wild dogs, and terrorize the public.

    Exactly as has happened...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Auction of spectrum solve issues...

      I believe the 24/28 GHz spectrum the FCC has been auctioning for "5G" is a 20 year license.

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Auction of spectrum solve issues...

      "Never, ever, never-ever "sell" spectrum."

      Well at least in Germany that's what's being meant by "selling" it. Essentially they sell a license which is valid for x years (e.g. 10 years). After that there will be a new auction.

      In civilized societies any such license (even the one you get for "free") is limited in time. For example in Germany you can get a license to an otherwise unoccupied piece of spectrum for a technical fee of around $200 which lasts a year, but can be extended for something like $20 a year. The costs basically cover the actual costs as someone needs to check if that frequency is really free.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "5G signals cannot magically travel vast distances. In fact, they can only go relatively short distances and struggles to penetrate into buildings and through walls"

    This depends upon the frequency bands used for any particular 5G deployment. In the UK, I believe bands around 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz are to be used, which should mean that 5G signals here have similar coverage and penetration into buildings as existing mobile networks. The so-called "mmWave" frequency bands that make possible the highest data rates are the ones that do not have the range and penetration.

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      700 MHz is supposedly the best

      700 MHz is supposedly the optimal frequency band for penetration of urban infrastructure.

      So I've read.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: 700 MHz is supposedly the best

        In general the lower the frequency the better the propagation.

        1. Charlie van Becelaere
          Joke

          Re: 700 MHz is supposedly the best

          If lower is better, why not move all the way to 60Hz?

          After all, there's an ample infrastructure already operating at that frequency all across North America - let's hop on the bandwagon that Tesla (the man, not the cars) spawned over Edison's DC connections!

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: 700 MHz is supposedly the best

            >If lower is better, why not move all the way to 60Hz?

            Twitter over morse is possibly an improvement

          2. Christian Berger

            Radio at such low frequencies...

            ... has been done:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_low_frequency

            It's just that the equipment is not really portable, and the bandwidth is severely limited.

        2. JeffyPoooh
          Pint

          Re: 700 MHz is supposedly the best

          JetSetJim suggested, "...the lower the frequency the better the propagation."

          Outdoors maybe. Long Wave (ELF, ULF, VLF) can circle the globe seemingly effortlessly. Bandwidth is inherently rubbish. Excellent for time signals, which are great fun.

          But inside the urban jungle, and especially inside buildings, the radio wavelength has to be sized to squeeze through doors and windows.

          I've read that 700 MHz was found to be optimal, but was originally occupied by UHF TV channels, so the early mobile networks settled into the 800 to 900 MHz range (for this and several other reasons).

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: 700 MHz is supposedly the best

          In general the lower the frequency the better the propagation

          Which is why (in the radio world) MW was used for national-level radio and LW was used for internation radio (like the BBC world service).

      2. Christian Berger

        It's complicated

        "700 MHz is supposedly the optimal frequency band for penetration of urban infrastructure."

        Yes, but then your cells will get rather large. Large cells mean lower capacity, as the capacity of every cell is limited.

        That's why it's also available in double digit Gigahertz range... which is great for places like stadiums. (where WLAN would be the far better option anyhow)

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: It's complicated

          > Large cells mean lower capacity, as the capacity of every cell is limited.

          Incorrect, large cells mean covering larger number of users, therefore more contention and lower service levels for each user. The capacity of the cell remains unchanged. The quantity of potential traffic to be served by a cell is what changes with range (and population density), and operators try to balance that to get maximum ROI for each cell without impacting performance to each subscriber (for a given value of acceptable performance which may vary per operator).

        2. JeffyPoooh
          Pint

          Re: It's complicated

          CB suggested, "...cells will get rather large."

          Range is a function of transmitter RF power and receiver SNR. Both are infinitely adjustable. So the cell size can be tweaked precisely no matter what frequency is used.

          The famous ("32.45") Pathloss equation offers smooth adjustability of all parameters.

          The only limiting factor would be when the physical size of the low frequency antenna starts to poke into adjacent cells. Which is just me being silly.

          By way of extreme example, an RFID pad at 125 kHz can have an effective range of maybe 3 cm. In part because the power is not high.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's complicated

            Surely the higher the frequency the higher the chances of it being blocked by humidity?

    2. Gareth Davies

      Article needs refining on this point....

      5G and mmWave 5G are being conflated here......

      5G will be as effective as 4G at penetrating buildings......

      5G mmWave won't get through a window......maybe even if it's open!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Article needs refining on this point....

        And 5G's speed increases will largely be short range, beyond which, speeds will closely match those offered by 4G.

    3. jockmcthingiemibobb

      Nope. Your sub 1GHz refracts around trees and has less through buildings than 2.5/3.5GHz. Try pushing your 2.4GHz WiFi through some wet trees if you don't believe me. The mm wave stuff essentially equates to a few 100 metres and won't penetrate bulidings at all (unless you enjoy sticking your cell phone to the window) so moby companies envisage masts on every second or third buildings. That's why bar a few showcase examples at festivals and tourist spots, "proper" 5G will never go outside cities.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have no idea why anonymous above is downvoted - it is technically correct and accurate.

      The responses offer no rebuttal - therefore it is other non commenting downvoters who have no technical knowledge, and worse, do not seek it.

      "The sky on a clear day, when seen from the earth, is usually blue".

      Downvote away......

  3. Chris Miller

    Engineers I know working on this have told me that 5G is not about phones - there's very little benefit in being able to get 2Gb rather than 20Mb to a phone - but improving connectivity for (buzzword alert!) IoT.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      It's mostly about capacity so far. You can do more with the very latest engineering - multiple antennae, beam forming - than you can with LTE equipment designed in the mid-2000s. Operators are also keen to use more spectrum, and refarm what they've got. The second picture down in this story (Hutch) shows what they're getting in real world tests so far:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/11/08/three_5g/

      1. Chris Miller

        Agreed. But is that capacity for phones or the (expected) vast cloud of IoThingies? (The answer is almost certainly "both", of course.)

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge

          An IoThingie probably doesn't use that much radio resource - until someone comes up with a constantly streaming video IoThingie, most I've seen seem to dribble data up & down.

          1. veti Silver badge

            You could have said the same about desktop Internet connections, 20 years ago.

            Build the infrastructure and the apps will follow.

            Sounds like a terrible idea to me, but it will work.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Build the infrastructure and the apps will follow

              After which, the IoThingie providers will be able to steal^W extract your personal data even more quickly than before.

              Cynical? Moi?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Increasing QAM and MIMO will increase the available data rates and the number of parallel streams, so you will theoretically be able to get more bandwidth. Where you get 10-15Mbps now, you may get 25-30Mbps (i.e. moving from one stream to two and increasing the performance of each stream slightly) - if you're close enough to a tower/site that maybe 100Mbps vs the current 42Mbps for LTE advanced assuming two streams max which I currently expect. Incidentally, these are the same techniques being proposed for 5GE.

          In terms of endpoint capacity, I'm not aware of any enhancements to the numbers of users supported per radio aside from 5G's use of additional frequencies which allows for more radios to increase capacity. In theory, higher bandwidth allows you to cycle between more clients as they complete their transfers faster, but the more active clients you have to cycle between results in more overhead vs data transferred.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      > improving connectivity for (buzzword alert!) IoT.

      That may be part of it, but another major use case (possibly higher up the list than IoT shite) is to provide domestic broadband as it gives the opportunity to have decent data rates to fixed antennas on properties (probably requires the homeowner to mount a decent antenna on their property, and then route that to an internal wifi router, but that's probably cheaper than laying FTTP, and should get better data rates than long-cable DSL)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes - capacity (as Andrew said) and fixed-wireless access (FWA) are the two business cases driving 5G investment so far, particularly in the US. But be aware that this FWA is just to save money on laying fibre to urban/suburban communities. They would have received fibre anyway: so it is really just about saving cost for the operator. As the US has no broadband competition don't expect those cost savings to be passed on to customers.

        FWA is certainly not about providing broadband to the places that can't get it now (e.g. rural areas). 5G doesn't help with that at all as it is a short-distance technology.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >> 5G doesn't help with that at all as it is a short-distance technology.

          Wrong.

          5G mmWave is a short distance technology.

          5G NR is similar to 4G but crucially it is better than 4G when capacity and topology are taken into account. The topology advantage offered by 5G NR could help with rural access by having picocells (the "lamp post" topology).

          You have to separate a technology problem from policy and regulatory issues.

          Many readers commenting on such non-broadcast wireless (and some article authors) on this site don't seem to understand cell capacity at all and are naively fixated on the peak PHY rates, fixated on the click bait headlines.

          It no different from saying "who needs 11ac wifi, 11n is enough." Without debate, 11ac supports more simultaneous users, each running the same use case, for the same cell size.

          Improving latency is a technology problem. Another difference is latency, which is a use-case enabler (as it is with 11ax). Again coverage is dominated by policy/regulatory issues, it is not a technology one. There are many stupid comments about autonomous cars in rural areas, autonomous cars will have a fallback mechanism - the engineers working on these know more than those whose education on the topic begin and ends with reading click-bait headlines.

          One thing is for certain, those without objective criticism are thankfully not in roles requiring forward thinking and vision - they'd be smugly on 2G... "who wants to browse the internet on a phone screen anyway without a full qwerty keybaord?"

          Down vote away.. but those with factual and technical rebuttals are welcome.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: 5G NR

            >5G NR is similar to 4G but crucially it is better than 4G when capacity and topology are taken into account.

            The real question is whether 5G NR is fully compatible with current 4G client devices and thus is being rolled out anyway; '5G' is just a way to make it sound shiny and new and get people to pay a premium for.

            >Without debate, 11ac supports more simultaneous users...

            Depends on what you are measuring and your client mix (numbers of antennas etc.). However, yes the potential is there to more easily manage more users on a single SSID, but the difference isn't as great as the headline claims make it out to be.

            > "who wants to browse the internet on a phone screen anyway without a full qwerty keyboard?"

            Actually, WAP was a really good protocol, it was very easy to convert into a spoken interface. So in answer to your question, probably anyone who will be using Alexa etc. as an interface to services: "Alexa play BBC Radio 4".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >> 5G doesn't help with that at all as it is a short-distance technology.

            Wrong.

            No, sorry, you are wrong.

            I wasn't talking about mmWave -- that is an incredibly short-distance technology!

            As you say, 5G NR is similar to 4G. 4G is a short-distance technology. Anywhere with population density allowing cost-effective deployment of picocells in lamp posts is not a rural area, and has no trouble getting broadband Internet access with xDSL-based technologies today. Yes, in those areas, 5G FWA may be able to bring higher speeds, without the cost of laying fibre, but it won't bring broadband to places which don't have it now.

            I repeat what I said...

            FWA is certainly not about providing broadband to the places that can't get it now (e.g. rural areas).

            P.S. And I am well aware of how cell capacity works.

  4. goldcd

    Of course it's nearly all bollocks

    I work in a "service to telco" industry - so am subjected to it on a daily basis (both ingress and egress of the bullshit).

    However, there is interesting stuff nestling in there.

    First up the bullshit - amazing speeds on your phone. Frankly we're not even needing what we've currently got. Most people when looking for a contract would happily take a tenner off a month, to downgrade to say the 2nd fastest 4G provider. To imagine we're all going to pay more per month, and buy a new phone, for more speed is delusional.

    The more interesting stuff is all in the future.

    First up - bandwidth is theoretically incredible - but scales inversely to the frequency. You can have the speed or coverage - but not both. Putting aside mobile handsets, there's a pretty decent case for high speed domestic broadband delivered over 5G. No longer does your street need to be dug up with cables to every house - stick a few access points on some lamp-posts and a dongle on your window and you now have gig-e. Problem is that this is of limited use to traditional mobile - just another way of DSL/Cable providers being able to connect you.

    "Edge Computing" - This comes in two flavours. The operator can run their network on virtualized components spun up closer to you, reducing impact on their back-haul. Secondly awesome consumer processing (ninja-GPU running your VR headset) can move out your local hardware to 'the cloud'. Problem is that these mini-data-centres don't actually exist yet and I'm unsure where the money to make them spring into operation is going to come from. Reality is that Huawei and their ilk will currently just sell you a new box/card that replaces the 4G-only thingie you had - and that's what's currently ticking those 5G boxes.

    "IoT" - we could do this today with IPv6 on 4G. IoT is a lot of devices, with minimal data requirements. If another person suggests that 5G will enable the telemetry of my self-driving car to be 'processed in the cloud', I will punch them. I get dropped calls today - but I don't die.

    "Slicing" - maybe the only thing I think has legs. Idea here is that part of the 5G spectrum in a particular area can be dedicated to a particular use.

    e.g. Telco X provides an eSIM for all the devices of a company (laptops, phones etc). You get normal global roaming as today, but in each office your provider allocates a chunk of the spectrum to just your company's devices and maybe spins up a router in the box at the base of the mast. i.e. merges office wifi and roaming/vpns into a seamless 'it just works' experience. Downside of this is that it's kind of contradicts the previous 'features' of 5G - Is the important thing the client, the connectivity, or the service?

    1. DCFusor Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Of course it's nearly all bollocks

      Let's all thank The Reg for going back to "biting the hand that feeds" - it was good at first, and now that we see it coming back, it's still refreshing, and the best. Everyone else seems to just print press releases and go with the flow (of money from said releasers).

    2. JohnGrantNineTiles

      Re: Of course it's nearly all bollocks

      ITU has a nice triangular diagram that shows three main use cases for 5G: faster Internet, IoT, and applications (remote surgery is often cited) where latency matters. The first of these is LTE with a few tweaks, and is the only one being delivered, or even really supported by the 3GPP standards, as of now.

      The main problem for IoT is battery life in devices that are so cheap you can have lots of them in different places; IPv6 over LTE is the problem there, not the solution, because of the amount of data to be transmitted to upload a couple of bytes-worth of information.

      Critical applications that need low latency need something more than just a bit less contention for a best-effort service, and no, slicing is not a viable way of achieving it.

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Of course it's nearly all bollocks

      Putting aside mobile handsets, there's a pretty decent case for high speed domestic broadband delivered over 5G. No longer does your street need to be dug up with cables to every house - stick a few access points on some lamp-posts and a dongle on your window and you now have gig-e.

      Anything, anything at all, that frees us from the tyranny and ineptitude of OpenReach can only be a good thing. It took me 2 years to finally get a competent engineer out, and after he found 2 intermittent issues that he was able to fix, claimed that the cable to house running through an old oak tree would require "the council to move the tree", rather than OpenReach moving the telegraph pole or installing a second away from said tree.

      Residential broadband is basic, well understood technology, rather than mystical rocket science. Quite how a monopoly company can be allowed to feck it up so badly for so long is beyond me.

    4. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Of course it's nearly all bollocks

      goldcd appears to have accidentally got it backwards, "...First up - bandwidth is theoretically incredible - but scales inversely to the frequency."

      Bandwidth scales inversely to the frequency?

      Inversely??

      They scale together, in rough proportion.

      Which is why optical fiber is so lovely.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinese law

    I agree with most, however in the case of the first point I think it's incorrect. As some one that has been involved in ZTE and have many good friends that still work there in Nanjing, I must disagree. The main issue is that the law in China states that a company MUST give the state any and all information when requested. Huawei being a partly state owned company cannot and would not refuse. Any and all large companies in China must have a representative from the polit-bureau and all decisions must run through them to get the CCP tick of approval. The founder, being ex military, a party member and rich would not be capable of saying no to demands and would never risk the reputation of his family or company to upset the state. All heads of large companies are there at the behest of the party and are replaceable by someone that will do whatever the CCP wants. The US, Australia and New Zealand are wise to er on the side of caution.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Chinese law

      True, however an antenna, an amplifier and similar devices simply can't snoop without it being incredibly obvious to even the most hamfisted and blind installer that it's designed to do that.

      So such concerns should be filed in the looney bin.

      It's more likely that they'd swap the UK PM for an identical lookalike without anyone noticing. That'd be much easier to do, and far more effective.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Chinese law

        > True, however an antenna, an amplifier and similar devices simply can't snoop without it being incredibly obvious to even the most hamfisted and blind installer that it's designed to do that

        The hardware is *designed* to snoop in that it has to receive and transmit signals on designated frequencies associated with the mobile traffic for the operator - it's the software that does the snooping and there is a *built-in by design* function to do this called Legal Intercept which allows for the lawful interception of traffic for a specified set of IMSI's or other identifying information. The ability to do this in the access network is somewhat limited as the user data is only seen in encrypted form at this point, however I'm sure an edge-compute node will get specified to do the decryption in a trusted manner at least.

        What everyone is instead banging on about is the concern that backdoors into this functionality is baked in to a vendors software - Cisco are known for it, so it would not be surprising (to those in the intelligence community) if other vendors also do it. However, such messing about will be tricky as the infrastructure involved is ordinarily walled off within private networks that *should* be security hardened, and it *should* be detectable when such interference happens.

        It is probably a storm in a teacup, but I'm not entirely sure how big the teacup is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chinese law

          >The hardware is *designed* to snoop in that it has to receive and transmit signals on designated frequencies associated with the mobile traffic for the operator - it's the software that does the snooping and there is a *built-in by design* function to do this called Legal Intercept which allows for the lawful interception of traffic for a specified set of IMSI's or other identifying information. The ability to do this in the access network is somewhat limited as the user data is only seen in encrypted form at this point, however I'm sure an edge-compute node will get specified to do the decryption in a trusted manner at least.

          Am I missing something, but apart from the packet header, if the contents are encrypted then it does not matter if it is being snooped or not. The sheer volume of encrypted data passing through each device would be sufficient to render on-the-fly decryption impossible, and finding anything specific to decrypt would be like finding a needle in a haystack in a hurricane.

          Remove reliance on one manufacturer in a mesh-like topology and even a coordinated DDOS or remote bricking of all their kit would reduce overall capacity but shouldn't take down what is a consumer network.

          We shouldn't be relying on it for sensitive information or critical systems, but if those are on public networks then someone needs a good kicking.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: Chinese law

            > Am I missing something, but apart from the packet header, if the contents are encrypted then it does not matter if it is being snooped or not. The sheer volume of encrypted data passing through each device would be sufficient to render on-the-fly decryption impossible, and finding anything specific to decrypt would be like finding a needle in a haystack in a hurricane.

            It's probably relatively easy to filter out a specific user's traffic for a given identifier at the access network - but you need to know which temporary identifier a user is using which requires some smarts, either in sniffing more signalling (and possibly exploiting vulnerabilities to get at decrypted signalling packets), or with cooperation in the core network (i.e. the MME telling you the TMSI for a given IMSI). All you need to do then is header inspection to identify packets of interest.

            You don't need to decrypt everything if all you're interested in is one person

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Chinese law

              The RAN is radio - analog. The intercept tap point would need to be on the RAN.

              Packet headers etc encrypted or not are after demod which is non-Huawei equipment.

              So let's get creative - what would be the transport that would be used to intercept *analog* from the tap point and transfer it to china without detection?

      2. Ozumo

        Re: Chinese law

        "It's more likely that they'd swap the UK PM for an identical lookalike without anyone noticing. That'd be much easier to do, and far more effective."

        This may already have happened, of course.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: Chinese law

          THE MAYBOT CANNOT BE DUPLICATED!

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Chinese law

            >THE MAYBOT CANNOT BE DUPLICATED!

            Maybe, but the Maybot is for turning; unlike the Iron Lady...

      3. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Chinese law

        It's very easy to prove that a device as provided is not capturing or sending any more data than it needs to. The problem here is that, if you have any suspicions that it might be used for that and you are in a situation where any such snooping would be a major issue for you, you have to retest for such after each and every software patch or upgrade.

        If you can't trust the provider of your kit you're making a fuckton of work for yourself.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Chinese law

      I'm still pondering how the equipment is useful for spying. If we have faith in our own engineers then they should be able to analyse and test a piece of equipment to ensure it is not doing anything rude. So assuming some backdoor process buried deep in a chip die, which responds to a trigger (local or not) and sends out short bursts of encrypted information that it has quietly been gathering. Is this impossible to detect, or do we have faith in our engineers.

      Or is the problem the reliance on the manufacturer for service and support and a requirement to give access to figure out problems?

      How much work is done on all software and hardware by experts to try and identify any such backdoors?

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Chinese law

        So assuming some backdoor process buried deep in a chip die, which responds to a trigger (local or not) and sends out short bursts of encrypted information that it has quietly been gathering. Is this impossible to detect, or do we have faith in our engineers.

        I can see one way it may be hard to detect... The router does a bit of packet inspection and listens to port 80. Anything NOT the "activation phrase" gets passed through to anything else listening to 80 (should such a thing be configured). As this is at the front of the network (on the bad side of any firewalls etc) it's not going to be a trivial matter to route around, and unless you send it the proper sequence of bytes you won't know it's there. (You could, I guess have another router in front of this router, but what if that one is compromised... Or if your data throughput is enough that a little extra is impossible to send).

        When I used to watch HTTP logs I used to see a lot of requests for non-existent files and folders - some bots (or 'elite hackers' aka script kiddies) looking for common wordpress screwups and the like (ie improperly protected config folders).

        So baddies build the chip to listen for "/favicon.ico/send_secret_data" (only using a "random" byte sequence) and it tells the router to start following commands from the initiating IP. You could even have the commands as part of the sequence of bytes, first few as an identifier/passcode and the rest as instructions. Doesn't take many bytes eg "1192168002004" would be "1" for 'Send all data from IP 192.168.2.4"

        Stuff like the interesting bits in the article on NordVPN are an example of what I am thinking. But with no logging and rare enough to make it disappear under the radar. Making the router think it's hooked up to the ISP directly and firing a ton of random strings at it might one day break through, but what are the odds of getting it right especially if they CnC codes have various levels of encryption and date-codes and the like attached (eg a simple "Do not respond if the encrypted date code is out by more than 3 seconds").

        Of course, any router maker could be doing stuff like this. Their problem however is if you encrypt your traffic, then they're unlikely to be able to crack it anyway - and if your server is busy then the amount of traffic that'll be passing through the router will be significant making it harder still to decrypt.

        And if you're doing stuff that would get you in trouble, put some real thought into how/where you purchase your gear, how you use it, and what you use it for. Either overcome your urges or take them well away from your home, and to a different place each time (that would not be detectable by pattern analysis). And turn your phone off before you leave or leave it at home - the same phone travelling towards and away from each location is soon found.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Chinese law

      "the law in China states that a company MUST give the state any and all information when requested"

      Sorry, but the US has a law by which, with a National Security Letter, anyone, any company, must comply to the instructions. Oh, and they must also keep secret that they are doing so.

      Don't see any real difference there, so if that is your basis to be wary of Chinese equipment, then you must agree that we also need to be wary of US equipment.

      And let's be honest : do you really think there is a country wherein a company based in that country can say no to the police or government of that country ?

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Chinese law

        "do you really think there is a country wherein a company based in that country can say no to the police or government of that country?"

        Possibly there might be, but realistically there's only a handful of countries that have enough high tech manufacturing capacity to build kit like this (eg, you couldn't in the UK without buying half the kit from abroad anyway), and all of those countries have governments that will quite happily insist on backdoors if they feel like it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chinese law

          "do you really think there is a country wherein a company based in that country can say no to the police or government of that country?"

          No. But if a backdoor was discovered, that company (and possibly industry), would become toxic overnight - not just in the "west". Which is a factor the Chinese government has to justify.

          If the US has the evidence, they could present it for public review and all their "problems" would go away.

          They haven't. Draw your own conclusions.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chinese law

        For me the issue is this: my country has a ridiculously one sided extradition agreement by which I can be extradited to the US without any legal proceedings in this country. Once there, I have no rights.

        This does not apply to China or Russia. I can't be extradited.

        Therefore, if I had anything to feel worried about, I would far rather be subjected to Chinese or Russian spying.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Chinese law

          "Therefore, if I had anything to feel worried about, I would far rather be subjected to Chinese or Russian spying."

          The Russian government has a noted habit of murdering people outside Russia. The Chinese government appears to be getting a bit into the extra-territorial kidnapping business as well. Currently it's just their surrounding countries, and for heinous crimes like printing books, but coming to a city near you soon.

      3. Kiwi Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Chinese law

        And let's be honest : do you really think there is a country wherein a company based in that country can say no to the police or government of that country ?

        It's possible that there are suitable laws in one or more countries against various levels of 'wire tap'.

        What is less likely are people 'patriotic' enough to insist on following those laws rather than being 'patriotic enough' to follow what the police/government claims as being "in the national interest" ('But TERRORISM!!!!!!!!11111!!")

        And then they also have to overcome the fear of reprisals. When my family was having issues with the local plod, we would strangely be more likely to be stopped for 'random traffic checks' with people even well outside the area (eg cousins of mine) getting stopped. Our businesses got a massive upswing in uniformed police officers being customers - although the presense of a couple of police cars parked out front did little to get us non-police customers (till they realised I told a few of our customers that the police were using us for a lot of their work now thus improving our image of trustworthyness :) ).

        Oh, and they'd often come in when we were busy and fairly loudly talk about how they're there looking for stolen stuff. Even an uncle who owns a tyre and mag shop had a large number of visits (larger than normal) from officers demanding to check the 2nd hand stock for stolen items. That he did not carry any 2nd hand stock was immaterial of course.

        Even if you refuse on solid legal grounds, TPTB can make it not worth your while. So even if there are legal grounds for a business to refuse to follow an illegal wiretap order, how many will follow it on patriotic grounds and how many more will follow it out of either fear of reprisals or simply a desire to live a peaceful life with as little police interference as possible?

    4. ciaran
      Facepalm

      Re: Chinese law

      Its just the "Fear Uncertainty and Doubt" from another era.

      If China or Huawei were able to build undetectable backdoors into equipment, the US wouldn't be saying "don't go there", they would be asking "HOW?!"...

    5. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Chinese law

      > The main issue is that the law in China states that a company MUST give the state any and all information when requested

      The US has exactly the same, along with gag orders to prevent those companies from telling anyone that they've received a National Security Letter.

      The US has also been caught intercepting outgoing Cisco kit and tampering with it.

      China, of course, had that Supermicro tampering scandal that turned out to very likely not be true, but inflicted some economic damage all the same.

      If any government or organisation is simply trusting the network with their information rather than encrypting in flight, then they are the problem, not the supplier of that network infrastructure.

      And all this is before you try and answer the question of exactly how the 5G kit could be exploited to China's advantage. We are, after all, still locking Huawei out of our sensitive and critical infrastruture, so we're essentially talking about 5G comms only.

      They could, conceivably, deny 5G service. But attempts to exfiltrate intercepted comms are likely to be picked up on quite quickly, even if they were to risk doing some 'local' processing first (at which point the Telco's would start asking why the power bill has suddenly shot up for their 5G kit).

      Even then though, the management side of this kit should be deployed in a hardened private network, if it isn't then there are competence questions to ask of the Telco themself.

      Concerns about whether a company could be leant on by their government are valid, but they apply to all foreign companies. Particularly those who's governments have been caught in the past (i.e. the US).

      If you ask me, the timing of all of this, when the US is fighting a trade-war with China, and is also arguably behind China in terms of developing and selling 5G kit is far more suspicious than the kit itself. Particularly given that the people who seem to make the most noise about this are the technically inept politicians, whilst those qualified *and in a position* to assess it seem to be signing off on use of the kit. It looks like FUD, smells like FUD and sounds like FUD.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chinese law

        Imho, there are other problems dealing with China. One is pay scale, although "right to work States" are dealing with that, and another is human rights, but the GOP is working that issue too. So, I guess I've raised a couple of soon to be non-issues.

        1. rcw88

          Re: Chinese law

          Human rights where?, China or the USA.. if the poster above is correct and someone can be extradited to the US without legal proceedings and then have no rights, then we are just dealing with two different sides of a coin... Its a question of whether you'd rather be up in front of a tank or a rifle wielding lunatic in the NRA.

    6. iron Silver badge

      Re: Chinese law

      "the law in China states that a company MUST give the state any and all information when requested"

      Hey Donald the law in USA, Australia, New Zealand and most if not all other countries states that companies must give the state, often in the form of the Police or three letter spy agencies, and and all information when requested. So quit talking shite and show us the proof that Chinese companies are spying for the state. I can show you the proof for US companies.

      1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

        Re: Chinese law

        Im guessing that Microsoft can tailor the Win 10 uploaded 'diagnostic' data as desired by such 3 letter agencies.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Chinese law

          >Im guessing that Microsoft can tailor the Win 10 uploaded 'diagnostic' data as desired by such 3 letter agencies.

          Well Kaspersky have already shown how any AV/security suite vendor can do exactly this with files of interest. So given MS are an OS and AV vendor, it would seem they have two channels that can be tailored to upload 'diagnositc' data and/or files of interest.

      2. JimBlueMK

        Re: Chinese law

        The issue is not the Huawei is necessarily spying for the state, but that the State can utilise the information it gets from Huawei to spy for itself. As the article points out the US spied on telephone systems in the US and overseas. It didn't get AT&T or other companies to do it, the NSA simply built the tools to do it. We only find out because of Snowden and I am sure that one day the Chinese equivalnet will appear to do the same for Chinese intelligence.

        I do not trust the Chinese state in the same way as I trust no government anywhere to protect my privacy. I am old enough to remember BT installing third party software to monitor my web browsing in the early days of broadband, the general rifling and sharing of information between the police and the construction industry to create blacklists and host of other privacy breaking initiatives.

        If you think China is an innocent, ask yourself why it feels the need to have foreign companies "share" their intellectual property if they want to do business in China?

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Chinese law

          As the article points out the US spied on telephone systems in the US and overseas. It didn't get AT&T or other companies to do it, the NSA simply built the tools to do it.

          Really?

          Room 641A:

          Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency, as part of its warrantless surveillance program as authorized by the Patriot Act. The facility commenced operations in 2003 and its purpose was publicly revealed in 2006.

    7. JoMe

      Re: Chinese law

      It's funny how the pompous writer doesn't get it. In China they are required by law to assist in spying on the west. All companies and private citizens are included in that requirement.

      I mean seriously, you can put your head in the sand all you like, facts remain facts either way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chinese law

        It's funny how the pompous JoMe doesn't get it. In every country in the world you are required to do what the State demands of you. In some cases, on pain of death, or other unpleasantness to you or what you value.

        TFTFY.

        1. JoMe

          Re: Chinese law

          Besides your mindless ranting, you honestly need to decide what your point is. My point is that the Chinese government have a law, on the books, that requires both citizens and companies to spy on the west at every opportunity; this is actually evidenced in spy tools found embedded in firmware and additional components on hardware boards that literally are designed to capture and forward information.

          The follow up to that point is that unless Huawei are in the business of ignoring the law - actively - they are embedding technology to both capture information and forward to Chinese authorities.

          Do you understand now, or am I using words that are too big?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Chinese law

            >My point is that the Chinese government have a law, on the books, that requires both citizens and companies to spy on the west at every opportunity;

            Well at least they are up-front and honest about it, unlike the UK/USA where such matters are kept under wraps etc..

            > this is actually evidenced in spy tools found embedded in firmware and additional components on hardware boards

            I think 'evidence' is the problem, no one has actually put any into the public domain...

            >The follow up to that point is that unless Huawei are in the business of ignoring the law - actively - they are embedding technology to both capture information and forward to Chinese authorities.

            Which begs the question: does Chinese law require companies not to disclose embedded tools and components - which might help to explain why the relevant UK agencies are reasonably relaxed...

      2. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Chinese law

        All companies and private citizens are included in that requirement.

        And the rest of us are different how exactly? There's lots of Youtube footage of people refusing to follow unlawful orders from the local police and being arrested - these are primarily in the US of course but other places have the same issues. Legal citizen is illegally arrested and carted off to jail. Some are released with an apology, some are charged with a crime but have the resources to fight it, some are charged but have less resources, so wind up without the ability to fight.

        In some countries (including NZ and US) it's actually possible to be "detained indefinitely" without ever being accused of a crime, only that "He might be thinking of....".

        So.. If your government sends people to your door and you're told "Do your patriotic duty and help us spy on our eneimes" will you refuse and face the consequences or do your "patriotic duty" (I think it is with good reason that 'duty" and "doody" often sound very much alike...)

        1. JoMe

          Re: Chinese law

          In China, it's a lawful requirement that you spy on the west. This isn't just "patriotic". It is punishable by jail and torture if you do not comply.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chinese law

      AC, "...the law in *.* [almost ANY country] states that a company MUST give the state any and all information when requested."

      TIFIFY. You'd spelled "*.*" incorrectly.

      Including the USA with their Secret Snoop Warrants. Pure deception to claim it's just China, given all the tech news over the past 18 years.

      It's such bald face deception that's most bothersome.

    9. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Chinese law

      The main issue is that the law in China states that a company MUST give the state any and all information when requested.
      And that is different to many western countries how?

      If a US body presents an NSL (requires no judicial oversight) or a FISA warrant (rubber-stamped by the FISA court) to a US company, the exact same rules apply.

  6. dnicholas

    New and shiny but practically pointless

    I'm sitting on the toilet, contemplating the day ahead. I have 22mbps down and 13 up. I don't need faster mobile broadband. For a long time, at least

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

      I have to agree. 4G isn't perfect, but it is rare that I've had 4G on my phone and thought "gee, this is slow". Now, crappy coverage outside cities? Absolutely seen that. Speed isn't the issue with 4G, coverage is. And 5G doesn't fix this.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

        4G, is more than good enough for any requirement I have for a mobile device. In fact 3G does most of it.

        But greater speed and capacity I'm sure will encourage people to develop new things that can make use of it. Hopefully it will also be something that a lot of people can get benefit and value from.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

          "But greater speed and capacity I'm sure will encourage people to develop new things that can make use of it."

          You mean bloat?

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

            No.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

        I live in rural Valencia (nearest village of 2400 souls is 5.5Km) I have 4G over 95% of the time wherever I go, the country is hilly and lowish mountains, occasionally the signal drops to 3G and this is with a relatively young company called Yoigo.

        Oddly, with Movistar who own and built most of the infrastructure I would be lucky to get a signal if there is a cloud in the sky.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

        My local Conservative club manages to have absolutely zero mobile phone signal indoors. Outside it's fine.

        It's remarkable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

          @disgustedoftunbridgewells

          Maybe they're paranoid. Or Luddites. Or they're taking back control.

          Or all three. Or EE...

    2. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

      I'm sitting on the toilet... For a long time, at least

      Thanks for sharing that, but I don't think we really needed to know about your constipation.

    3. PerlyKing Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

      Quick SI recap:

      * Lower case "m" means milli, as in a thousandth of: 1mm is one thousandth of a metre, 1mbps is one thousandth of a bit per second.

      * Upper case "M" means mega, as in a million of: 1MB is one million bytes, 1Mbps is one million bits per second.

      If you're getting 22 millibits per second I think you probably do need faster mobile broadband. If it were 22Mbps you'd be OK.

      Pet peeve over, as you were.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

        Off Topic, but does it bug anybody else that it's millipede and not megapede? Unless arthropleura has that name trademarked, it really should be the other way around.

        1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

          It didn't bug me until just now!

        2. Duffy Moon

          Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

          "Off Topic, but does it bug anybody else that it's millipede and not megapede? "

          Not really. That would mean 'big legs' or 'million legs'. OK, they don't actually have one thousand legs, but 'millipede' still seems more appropriate.

          1. Semtex451
            Alien

            Re: New and shiny but practically pointless can of millipedes

            Blame Latin or just blame good old humans. We're still using the unit of distance 'mile' which as the same sort of origin problem with 'thousand' vs 'thousandth'. But a 'billion' used to mean 'a million million' till the leftpondians got hold of it and made it a thousand million. There's no sense in getting wound up by humans and their ineffective communication methods nor their puny data telegraphic "standards"

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Megapede? Kilopede, surely?

          Surely it should be Kilopede?

          However, that would make it (the vegetarian millipede) sound meaner and deadlier than the (voraciously carnivorous) centipede.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

          No, because "milli" means 1000 (as "centi" means 100). "Centigrade" is etymologically correct (100 divisions), "centimetre" ought to mean 100 metres. But doesn't.

          It's the SI use that is etymologically wrong.

          "Megapede" would mean "big foot", as correctly used by T Pratchett in the Megapode.

          It bugs me that SI used such confusing prefixes. Kilo is OK. The others are "just names" ripped out of context.

          1. ArrZarr Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

            Curses, we must ensure that history is ISO Compliant.

            Quick, Ichabod, to the scrapheap!

      2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

        I can live with people writing 20mbps as it's fairly obvious what their intention is. Unfortunately when they start capitalising, you start getting 20MBps (wow, 160 Mbps....) instead so then have to spend time clarifying what they mean (sometimes they do actually mean MBps because they tested with wget which reports MBps instead of Mbps)

    4. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: New and shiny but practically pointless

      But with 5G you could be streaming your movement in 4k@120fps to your doctor1 for realtime analysis!

      1or to any other interested parties if it floats your boat

  7. Expat-Cat

    I would like to get 3G first, without having to go up to the top of the house, or up the hill into the forest where I get great connectivity (the wonders of rural life, but I will soon have a 1Gb/s fibre connection, work that one out)

    Anyway, about the security aspect. Not saying that the following has any technical reality, but the worry is less "Butler with an ear at the door" and more "Manchurian Candidate" (ironically appropriate?). That is, in any box of electronics, it's hard to spot any oddities, and even harder within firmware. I am sure that if you open up any 2 routers from one manufacturer, you will find some difference in components, especially over time and with replacement parts etc. So the paranoia is that all works fine until the day that the special signal is sent, and some zombie buried feature wakes up and drops your comms network into the bin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >I would like to get 3G first

      Good luck - most networks are trying to get rid of that.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "So the paranoia is that all works fine until the day that the special signal is sent, and some zombie buried feature wakes up and drops your comms network into the bin."

      You mean manufacturers should avoid incorporating anything running W10?

    3. d-m

      Perhaps you'll want to use that fibre connection with a HeNB cell for those 5G speeds ;)

  8. commonsense

    It's not a race...

    "The fact is that the 5G standard isn't even finished. A first part of it is there and companies are wildly rushing toward it"

    Sounds like a race.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: It's not a race...

      More like a stampede than a race, actually. A race suggests a clear finish line, this sounds more like a headlong rush to a waterhole, which might be a mirage, or in which crocodiles might be lurking. It might of course also be a pristine spring of crystal-clear water, but I do not doubt some wildebeest will wee in it before most get there

      1. The Mole

        Re: It's not a race...

        Agreed, I thought the race was whether the US, EU or Asian companies get to market first and therefore potentially take the largest slice of business from operators (afterall once you are in you have a very good chance of staying as expansions happen).

  9. STOP_FORTH Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Minor nitpick

    Sensible article and mostly reasonable comments. However, how the flip can I watch video faster? More fps or will a feature film whizz past my eyeballs in twenty minutes? More pixels because of increased bandwidth could work, but I can't see the point of 4K or 8K on a handheld.

    If I am transferring files or documents more bandwidth equates to faster delivery, but anything streamed gets there at same rate.

    Less buffering, I'll grant you.

  10. chuck_u_farley

    Security

    Telecoms is far too important for any National Security Agency not to be interested in - every serious telecoms provider is deeply hooked in to the intelligence agencies. When you buy telecoms equipment, you are (amongst other things) just choosing an Intelligence Agency.

    I used to work for a major network equipment manufacturer, and I can certainly recall a number of software features added that had an interesting provenance

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Security

      Well don't stop there, tell us more.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Security

        Maybe his comms went down...

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Security

      When you buy telecoms equipment, you are (amongst other things) just choosing an Intelligence Agency

      Anybody particularly worried about being spied on by the Finnish security service? Looks like Nokia have an excellent USP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Security

        Well, the Finns did manage to support both the worst sides in WW2.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Security

        But as Nokia is built largely out of Lucent and Alcatel (and even parts of Siemens) maybe you are ending up with Finnish-French-US-German secret service! I wonder whether that is better or worse?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The madness is everywhere

    So, anonymous because.....well, should become obvious.

    The endless bull isn't just sourced from the telco/providers. I had passing sight of a tender, issued from a chunky arm of govt, asking for an economic impact assessment of 4G vs 5G. Fair enough, hire someone to tell you if it's worth getting excited about. But in the scenarios the bidder was told to model were three assumptions they were *instructed* to model around. Assumption 1: Latency goes from 50ms in 4G to 1ms in 5G. Everywhere. Assumption 2: The minimum coverage by geography for 5G would be 20% higher than 4G. Assumption 3: Magically, without any real explanation as to why, the digital divide in terms of access to high speed connectivity (and the skills to use it) has magically disappeared.

    Now I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that on the basis of those building blocks the report is gonna say that 5G is now the most economically powerful, most inclusive and downright Unicorn-y change in communications infrastructure ever imagined. Hoorah! Open the taps of public funding!

    1. ItWasn'tMe

      Re: The madness is everywhere

      Ah, constructing the questions to get the desired answer. Do they really believe that such false/unrealistic assumptions won't be spotted at a later date?

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: The madness is everywhere

        It'll do to get the Publics money spent and the 'future company directorship nod', after that will anyone 'important' care..

  12. bpfh Silver badge
    Unhappy

    5g is already here and iPhone 8’s support it...

    Or was that because a US network decided to rename 4g to “5g e” to make it look better to the great unwashed...? Shades of high speed and full speed USB or different flavours of HD TV to make you think you have better than you actually do...

  13. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    What I've been also saying.

    Give me 3G or LTE, I'm satisfied with the speeds on these two.

    I won't be happy to be surrounded by dozens of microtowers all because some $carrier decided to listen to the 5G siren song and go the whole hog.

    Question : will existing 3G and 4G still be available in places of supposedly 5G coverage? Because of older phone models that still have 3G or LTE baked in.

    Question 2 : Wasn't LTE supposed to be upgradeable?

  14. trevorde

    I'm holding out for 6G (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/23/trump_5g_tweet_blowup/)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And there was me thinking that 5G would be the panacea to all my technological woes. Bugger.

    I guess it must be Cloud/Big Data/ AI that I really really need then. That'll fix everything once I acquired my IOT.

    Great. Anyone fancy a pint? I'm off down the pub.

  16. ukgnome

    It also won't microwave birds or ready meals, it won't cause cancer and it won't bring about the end of days.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Terminator

      Awww

      I was looking forward to that :(

  17. Tom Wood
    Black Helicopters

    China is not using 5G to spy on people

    You say, on a page plastered with Huawei adverts... ?

    1. Michael B.

      Re: China is not using 5G to spy on people

      I got Adobe ads, I'll gladly trade you.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: China is not using 5G to spy on people

      You can see adverts? What's all that about then?

  18. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I love it...

    I love the futility of it all seeing as Vodafone can't even deliver the 4g I pay for every month on a consistent basis.

  19. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    All well and good.

    that there really is no Race for 5G.

    That won't stop most of the handest makers and the network outlets from going full 5G or bust regardless of its availability;

    The Salesdroids will drone on and on about 5G Speeds (in a perfect environment) and that how you can download the latest episode of GoT in 5 seconds (or whatever it takes) even if where you live can hardly get 4G let alone 5G.

    There is also one other certainty and that is the likes of Samsung, Hauwei etc will crow loudly over their 5G devices and how they have it and Apple don't and won't have it until probably 2021 and even when the infrastructure to enavble 5G might be 2 years away from being installed.

    Let the Hype begin (if it has not already)

    As I can only get 4G at home when standing by an upstairs window and that the walls to my home are more than 1ft think (most of it was built in 1605) I'm pretty sure that I won't benefit from 5G this side of me kicking the bucket. I know that I'm not alone in going 'Meh' over the hype.

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: All well and good.

      3G - there are places in the UK where 2G is unavailable - and in parts of some towns even basic mobile phone calls cannot be made. (One example that I have seen is in the town of Portree on the Isle of Skye where there are areas with no signal.)

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: All well and good.

        3G - there are places in the UK where 2G is unavailable - and in parts of some towns even basic mobile phone calls cannot be made. (One example that I have seen is in the town of Portree on the Isle of Skye where there are areas with no signal.)

        We have the same here in NZ. Several providers got rid of their 2g networks before the 3g infrastructure was finished (I am talking within the last 6 months BTW).

        Lots of talk about 4g and 5g and fast fibre, I know people in places where even basic ADSL is patchy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All well and good.

          And has the sky fallen in yet?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All well and good.

      I don't get these kind on comments - every connectivity technology update has these. "I don't even get 1 mbps, I don't get 3g/4g..."

      What has that got to do with 5G? Or 100Tbps FTTH or 10G for that matter?

      If an area did not see investment for 3g/4g or ADSL, then it has nothing to do with the technology update does it?

      Or in your case the lack of investment in ensuring compatibility with medieval constructions.

      Are you saying all technology improvements are put on hold all over the world until every non-spot the world over is covered by 2G? Or just till your personal non-spot is covered?

      One is silly and the other selfish.

      "I know that I'm not alone in going 'Meh' over the hype."

      Definitely - one thing the internet has given us is to be certain to find at least one other person that agrees.

      Every technology goes through a hype cycle. Seeing past the hype is where the smart commenting and articles are at, there are no points for banal dismissal.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: All well and good.

        I think the point is that were there is no investment in current technologies, the likelihood of any investment happening in "5G" is pretty much zero. There is often reverse investment in these non-5G areas.

  20. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Huawei's code quality is *diabolical*, I mean really, REALLY bad.

    Just saying

  21. Marty McFly
    Mushroom

    #1 reason: Blame Trump

    Good Lord, Reg! I'm not going to jump on an anti- or pro- Trump position. It is just every other news outlet is first to blame Trump for everything. I am so sick of it that I have not watched or read main stream news in 9 months. Please, not you too. And if there is any validity, at least stuff it at the end behind the tech stuff.

  22. AndrueC Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Well...yes.

  23. slartybartfast

    What about the articles/videos doing the rounds online that claim 5G will produce seriously dangerous levels of radiation? Is there any truth in this? Is it just another lie?

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Boffin

      What about the articles/videos doing the rounds online that claim 5G will produce seriously dangerous levels of radiation? Is there any truth in this? Is it just another lie?

      Probably bollocks.. If not, well your bollocks will be the first to go....

      Seriously... We have large amounts of radiation in various forms and across a wide range of the EM spectrum. This is just another form of it. The sun probably spews a billion times that amount of radiation out anyway, of that and several other types.

      If the people behind it are making sure it's not coming near their homes then you have something to worry about. If they're trying to make their areas get it first, you have nothing to worry about.

  24. horriblicious

    The author of the article is wrong about the first item regarding spying. First, you can't argue the the US uses technology created by it's companies to spy but the Chinese would not do so. It is likely both may do this (The US strenuously argues against China on this because they know it can be done because they likely do it) so the question becomes who do you trust more as regards sensitive data. For this, my vote goes, reluctantly, to the US - I would prefer neither country did this, but that is not the real world. Points made by others regarding Chinese law are both useful, and not useful. The Chinese Communist Party has never felt itself to be bound by law, so if the law actually said they would not spy, but the CCP told a company to spy, guess what happens. (In that sense a law that tells companies they must comply is "refreshing"). Past behavior as regards intellectual property rights and spying is also not reassuring. So yes, the Chinese will use 5G as a spy tool.

  25. Joe Gurman

    "China is not using 5G to spy on people."

    It's awfully tough to prove a negative. Some would say impossible.

    Thus I'd say point 1 is at best arguable.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "China is not using 5G to spy on people."

      "China is not using 5G to spy on people."

      It's awfully tough to prove a negative. Some would say impossible.

      Thus I'd say point 1 is at best arguable.

      Pretty sure 5G isn't exactly widely rolled out right now. So quite certain that China is not using 5G to spy on people.

      In a few years time, when it is rolled out, I can say I am pretty sure that China IS using it to spy on people where and when they can, just like every other government and city council and everything inbetween.

  26. Joe Gurman

    Allow me to suggest a number 6

    (With apologies to The Prisoner)

    When the dust has cleared in three of four years' time, despite all manner of gnashing of teeth at El Reg, Apple will turn out to be the only manufacturer of 5G end user hardware to have made a significant profit off it, despite not being first to the post.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >> But let's just say it out loud: China is not using 5G to spy on people.

    One more thing to hammer that point home: in most nations today we have 2G 3G and 4G hardware from the "yellow menace". There are no indications or reports of widespread snooping.

  28. billvo

    False Equivalence in Spying

    Keen observers will note that the intent and outcome of nation-state spying is somewhat different between Communist China and the Democratic-Republic that is the USA. Which of these is intent on slurping all foreign tech, producing it domestically, and then selling it world-wide? Which is intent on crushing its neighbors and expanding its borders to the ends of the earth? Maybe it's not a great idea to put an unfriendly expansionist imperial power in a position to remotely control critical national infrastructure. So much for cutting the crap...

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: False Equivalence in Spying

      Which of these is intent on slurping all foreign tech, producing it domestically, and then selling it world-wide?

      Oh easy! That'd be the US!

      Which is intent on crushing its neighbors and expanding its borders to the ends of the earth?

      Easy again, also the US (although they are going it from multiple points around the rest of the world and are leaving their neighbours as a 'buffer zone' for now).

      Maybe it's not a great idea to put an unfriendly expansionist imperial power in a position to remotely control critical national infrastructure.

      Right, got it. So don't trust the US or buy hardware from them then.

      (I still got a ways to go to reach 1500 downvotes, in case any one wants to help me out???? :) )

  29. DerekCurrie
    Holmes

    China: Criminal Nation naïveté

    Kieren, let me first thank you for shedding light into the tangled razor wire of murk that is 5G. The nonsense is already thick and heavy thanks in part to the usual suspect: Marketing morons (vs mavens) intent upon con-jobbing their victim customers. “5GE” proves the intent.

    However, I have to shine my high beams on some errors:

    1) Your comprehension of the current state of China is outright naïve. I’ve been following China’s hacking of the world since 2005 and writing about it since 2007. I personally champion anyone, any company daring to be creative within China. I buy their gear. But they are incredibly rare and brave. The imposed standard of thought in China remains baseline totalitarianism. My usual condensed lecture: ‘Communism’ destroys personal incentive. If everything belongs to everyone, or even worst to the government, there is no incentive to create. Instead the incentive of crime replaces it. This is the history of every communist nation. Without any creative incentive, instead such nations are forced to steal in order to keep up or pretend to ‘compete’. That is the state of China.

    If Huawei proves itself to be the extremely rare creative company within China, then bless them! But everything indicates that at the very least the company has a very high level of incompetence (proven by Huawei news over the last month alone) or they still haven’t stolen enough IP to know exactly what they’re doing. Their connection to the Chinese government is blatant and undeniable. The Chinese government’s ongoing and ever evolving efforts to suck the world‘s IP into itself is undeniable. The distress of China’s youth regarding the country’s enforced totalitarianism is undeniable. - - If fellow commenters wish to question my assertions, I’ll be posting reading references for those who value facts.

    Meanwhile: Don’t expect a word of respect from me for #MyStupidGovernment’s President or unconstitutionally subversive spy divisions. Nevertheless, there remains a fundamental difference between the spying efforts of the USA and China, as indicated in my chatter above about China need to steal the world’s intellectual property (IP), including 5G IP.

    2) Of minor concern amidst the mire is the fact that AT&T’s published average speed of their ridiculously named “5GE” does not even qualify as REAL 4G, aka LTE Advanced (as opposed to the BS marketing term ‘4G’ that is merely fast 3G). This makes, IMHO, AT&T out to be double-liars.

    Sorry to bash. But the above is obvious according to my long term experience with the subject at hand. There’s belief, there’s propaganda, and then there are the proven, verified and reproducible facts of the matter. I prefer the latter.

    1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

      Re: China: Criminal Nation naïveté

      Unfortunately the US bugged Merkel's 'phone. This seems to have annoyed the Germans so much that they refuse to be bullied into not buying Chinese equipment. Don't they teach diplomats and politicians about soft power any more?

    2. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: China: Criminal Nation naïveté

      My usual condensed lecture: ‘Communism’ destroys personal incentive. If everything belongs to everyone, or even worst to the government, there is no incentive to create.

      Communism doesn't lead to a lack of creativity. Most of my best efforts are given away. I create because I serve a Creator who has given me a talent and a love for creating. I know many others who live to somewhat communist ideals who are along the same lines (although my definition of communism is a much older one, dating back to the early Christians who lived that lifestyle).

      The implementation of it, however, has been rather bad in most of not all state-wide versions of it.

      I've seen a fair amount of innovation coming from Chinese companies. I also have seen a great deal of IP theft from them as well, but they are not alone in that being joined by the US (also known to spy on the companies in their allies to attempt to gain unfair advantages for their own failing industries).

      Maybe your longer lectures aren't so off-the-mark, but from what I've read of this one I'm glad I've never attended one :) (That said, I've liked most of your posts I've seen :) )

  30. Claverhouse Silver badge

    So far it's not China extraditing non-Chinese citizens halfway across the world to a hideous jail-sentence, under a mere pretence of a legal system, for being journalists revealing misdeeds of PRC military forces.

    1. horriblicious

      Well, let's do the counter-example then. In Canada we are holding a Huawei executive, owner's daughter no less, for possible extradition on a US warrant. She is out on bail and living comfortably in mansion in Vancouver awaiting the hearing.

      The response from China:

      2 Canadians arrested, thrown in jail cells that are lit 24 hours a day and interrogated 8 hours a day. Very limited access to consular staff and no legal counsel.

      Another Canadian, in jail for drug smuggling (and I have no sympathy for that idiot), has a 1-day hearing and a death sentence imposed.

      The Chinese ambassador has been just short of vulgar criticizing how politicized our legal system is and how our government "should behave" with a thinly veiled "or else". Oh, and we are apparently racist too.

      Latest action - Our exports of billions of dollars worth of canola seeds are apparently infested with pests according to Chinese authorities. Including pests that only live in Asia too.

      I couldn't give a skinny-rats behind for one avowedly anti-American yahoo that thought he could claim journalism as a shield for his own personal crusade. He wanted to take on the US, and he certainly got their attention. Now he gets to play the martyr.

      But now you are at least aware of how China reacts if you touch one of their "chosen". After this behavior, it will be a cold decade in hell for any Canadian government that allows purchase of Huawei networking gear.

  31. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "Just keep doing what you do and in five years – if you live in a big city – you'll find that you can watch videos on your upgraded phone much faster."

    I am not sure about anyone else but I prefer to watch videos at 1 x speed, which seems that my current 4G connection can managed OK. As for being able to stream 4K/8K content, A well encoded 480p video can look just as good on a screen that is only 6 inches across.

  32. Andy 97

    Someone needs to post this article on LinkedIn.

    I now class 5G about the same way as I do for P.P.I insurance refunds and Brexit.

    Marketeers, please stop!

  33. Nickckk

    5G as a frying the body radio technology

    Try this

    https://youtu.be/WBpZFqR6Qzk

  34. Tom 35

    you can watch videos on your upgraded phone much faster.

    Do I have to upgrade my eyeballs too?

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