5G's Latest Problem: Summer Temps Are Causing 5G Phones To Overheat

from the this-is-all-going-really-well dept

Buried underneath the blistering hype surrounding fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a quiet but growing consensus: the technology is being over-hyped, and early incarnations were rushed to market in a way that prioritized marketing over substance. That's not to say that 5G won't be a good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now, but early offerings have been almost comical in their shortcomings. AT&T has repeatedly lied about 5G availability by pretending its 4G network is 5G. Verizon's falsely telling everyone 5G will help cure cancer, but its actual deployments have been spotty and expensive.

5G device support barely exists. Apple is in no rush to get its first phones to market. The promise of 5G as a competitive and rural coverage panacea has been vastly overstated. And most surveys suggest US consumers (who already pay some of the highest data prices in the developed world) are more interested in lower bills than faster speeds. All of which is to say that 5G isn't quite the Earth-shattering revolution it has been heralded as by carriers and network vendors eager to sell more cell phones and network hardware.

There's another wrinkle being noticed by some of the folks putting these networks through their paces. Qualcomm's first generation 5G modem chipsets appear prone to overheating in summer temps, something oddly missing from the industry's marketing hype. It's a problem that's plaguing numerous carriers, according to Sascha Segan and PCMag:

"On a hot Las Vegas morning, my two Galaxy S10 5G phones kept overheating and dropping to 4G. This behavior is happening with all of the millimeter-wave, first-generation, Qualcomm X50-based phones when temperatures hit or exceed 85 degrees. We saw it with T-Mobile in New York, with Verizon in Providence, and now with AT&T in Las Vegas. It's happened on Samsung and LG phones, with Samsung, Ericsson, and Nokia network hardware."

Current 4G LTE smartphones integrate everything into one chip. Early 5G chipsets require numerous chips including a chip for the 5G mmWave modem and the mmWave antenna modules. As a result, current 5G chipsets take up a lot more room and generate notably more heat than their 4G equivalent. And while better chips are expected to arrive in time, it's another example of how early 5G adoption isn't really worth it, especially given this connectivity is being priced at a steep premium over already costly 4G LTE plans.

Again, faster, more reliable networks are always a good thing, and in time 5G will be an important natural evolution, whenever it's fully cooked and widely available. But the absurd hype we've been subjected to up to this point (5G will cure cancer! 5G will result in four day work weeks!) is actually undermining the technology. Instead of showing consumers why 5G is important, carriers and hardware vendors rushed 5G tech to market, overstated what it can do, and misrepresented where it's available, leaving consumers with the distinct impression 5G is largely just undercooked bullshit.

Filed Under: 5g, hype, overheating


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 6:41am

    Awwwwww!
    This rush to implement 5G needs to be reevaluated, but money talks as corporations pay/own politicians and politicians make laws that favor corporations.
    5G pros-->faster data transfer speeds
    5G cons-->potential weather radar interuptions, more towers, more radiation, more heat per phone?

    "but but global warming!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 7:02am

    Will the forecasted killer heat waves cause the batteries to explode?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 7:22am

    Hey, I do 4 day work weeks, no 5G needed. It was one of the reasons I took this job. Working 4, 10 hour days instead of 5, 8 hour days is great. That extra day every week is almost like a vacation every week for me. I used to work 6 days a week at my old job. So I basically gained 8 free days every month of not going to work.

    As for 5G, What do you need it for? I think the biggest data hog you do is streaming content like movies. Maybe streaming Youtube. That works just fine over 4G. 5G range is also not as good. You need almost double the towers to cover what you can get with 4G and older. I already have weak signals in certain areas in town already with 4G. I'd rather they fix that.

    I remember when 4G first came out and it was a battery hog. Apple didn't rush out for 4G either. Waited for the better, power-efficient 4G chip to be released. First-generation tends to stink anyway on a lot of things. Generally better to wait for at least the second-gen version.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      What does your work week have to do with 5G? One of the wildest tangents ever imo.

      I think the biggest data hog you do is streaming content like movies. Maybe streaming Youtube. That works just fine over 4G.

      True. However, if you buy a bigger shelf you will put more stuff on it. Back in the PC-XT days Bill Gates was famous for saying "640Meg ought to be enough for anyone". Now your computer won't even run on less than 4Gig. As computers get faster and memory gets cheaper software is written to take advantage of it to do more. The same is true of networking speeds.

      Your personal needs may not exhaust what 4G has to offer but faster speeds could enable more technologies to be built atop them. You probably wouldn't be happy with 3G and 4G was just an evolution of that.

      5G in its current form may be a massively overhyped boondoggle with more net deficiencies than benefits but most of us would like faster networking. We'll just have to wait for a proper 5G to roll out that doesn't suck.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re:

        What does your work week have to do with 5G?

        The parent comment and post talked about how telcos are claiming 5G will create a 4 day work week.

        His point was that his work week has NOTHING to do with 5G.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2019 @ 5:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The parent comment and post talked about how telcos are claiming 5G will create a 4 day work week.

          The claim was that it would happen from increased productivity—i.e., that we'd work 20% less, not that we'd work the same number of hours arranged differently.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        127.0.0.1 (profile), 17 Jul 2019 @ 1:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Maybe I'm getting old, but I recall it being 640K not 640Meg

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Canuck, 17 Jul 2019 @ 10:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Derp. PCs had less than one meg of RAM at the time.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 17 Jul 2019 @ 7:30am

    Bias?

    One of the phones that overheated belonged to someone right-of-center. This is obviously proof of liberal bias.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 10:14am

      Re: Bias?

      "One of the phones that overheated belonged to someone right-of-center. This is obviously proof of liberal bias."

      and it happened immediately after posting to TD, the browser quit and then the cell phone caught on fire - obvious liberal bias here.
      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 7:42am

    5g will be avaidable in citys and urban area,s ,it needs a lot of aerials to be installed ,more than 4g.
    Theres no way it will be avaidable in rural area,s .
    No more than cheap fast broadband will be avaidabel to rural consumers in america .
    5g reminds me of Virtual reality gaming and 3d tv ,just because the tech is good
    does not mean the general public will buy it or use it .
    If someone is using 5g at high speeds on a small phone it makes sense
    the phone might get hot .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      quadraphonic

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      In English speaking countries, ' is used as a contraction denoter and before an s when the s denotes the noun's subject.

      I do find it useful that I can always recognize your posts by commas before random s-es and after spaces though.

      Aside from all that... 5G doesn't require additional aerials, and will be available in rural areas. Only the high speed bandwidth part of 5G requires that tech. The rest of the 5G spec works just fine with 4G hardware under the correct configuration.

      Of course, the overheating is due to the high speed bandwidth part of the spec, so in this part you are totally correct.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert Beckman, 17 Jul 2019 @ 8:00am

    What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g?

    What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g? My iPhone has said it’s been on 5g for months now. Must have been some kind of OTA update from those nice folks as ATT. I wish you’d stop pushing this fake news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 8:03am

      Re: What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g?

      Someone out there won't recognize the ironic comedy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re: What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g?

        There are always those who are blind to irony and those who are blind to comedy.

        But the LOL tag should help.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 8:17am

      Re: What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g?

      Please enjoy a lol and a flag. Have a nice day.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Glen, 17 Jul 2019 @ 8:55am

        Re: Re: What do you mean Apple doesn’t have 5g?

        My sarcasm meter pinged his comment as a good, quality comment. I voted funny for it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Donald J. Trump, 17 Jul 2019 @ 9:04am

    ... ......this is why we need 6G!

    As I said before, when I was totally right...

    .....this is why we need 6G deployment as fast as we can, preferrabley next weak.

    It will stop the climate change hoax that the chineses (and lying libs) are perpertweeting on the VERY GOOD, SUPER, American people.

    6GNOW

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2019 @ 11:58am

    I saw a commercial on Youtube by a company I didn't recognize, may have been a chip maker, but it was about 5G and showed a woman trying on glasses with her phone camera while walking through an office or mall. The tag line was "How will you shop with 5G" or something about how 5G is going to change how we shop.

    What? I've seen a company's app commercial few years ago showing the person's cellphone showing their room and the blinds could change so they can preview the blinds.

    This 5G hype is so dumb

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 19 Jul 2019 @ 8:38am

    "...leaving consumers with the distinct impression 5G is largely just undercooked bullshit."

    Probably because 5G is largely just undercooked bullshit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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