Radiofrequency Energy and Safety

A city with multiple 5G networks is shown. Possible services enabled by the 5G networks include smart homes, smart agriculture, connected vehicles, remote management, etc. (Coourtesy of ISED)

Originally published by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)

Note: The following text is taken from a new excerpt on small cells and 5G from ISED’s online information about RF safety.

What are small cells?

Small cells are physically smaller radio installations that can complement larger radio installations to improve coverage, add capacity, and support new services and user experiences.

There are various types of small cell with varying power ranges. The smallest are for indoor use (sometimes referred to as femtocells) operating on power levels similar to Wi-Fi routers. The largest are for outdoor use and typically consist of a small equipment cabinet and small antennas. The largest are often located on existing facilities like street lights, power utility poles and buildings.

Small cells must comply with the same limits that apply to other antenna installations.

What is 5G?

5G is the 5th generation of wireless technology, a significant evolution of today’s 4G LTE wireless networks. 5G will provide the infrastructure to allow for more data and connectivity, the Internet of things with billions of connected devices, and tomorrow’s innovations in various fields such as healthcare, public safety, transportation, agriculture, and smart cities. 5G will operate in both the lower frequency spectrum (below 6 GHz) as well as at higher frequencies called millimetre wave spectrum (above 6 GHz).

5G should not be confused with Wi-Fi operated in the 5 GHz frequency band as they are different wireless technologies.

RF safety requirements for 5G

The current Canadian limits already cover the frequency ranges that will be used by 5G devices and antenna installations.

Similar to current wireless devices and installations, 5G devices will need to meet RF exposure requirements before they can be sold in Canada. Antenna systems operators using 5G technology will continue to have the same RF exposure compliance obligations. Furthermore, compliance with RF exposure requirements will continue to be an ongoing obligation.

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