Total Local Dose in Hypothetical 5G Mobile Networks for Varied Topologies and User Scenarios

Sven Kühn, Serge Pfeifer and Niels Kuster, Applied Sciences 2020, Volume 10, Issue 17, 5971, online 28 August 2020; doi: 10.3390/app10175971

In this study, the total electromagnetic dose, i.e., the combined dose from base station antennas and mobile devices, was estimated for a number of hypothetical network topologies for implementation in Switzerland to support the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication systems while maintaining exposure guidelines for public safety. In this study, we consider frequency range 1 and various user scenarios. The estimated dose in hypothetical 5G networks was extrapolated from measurements in one of the Swiss 4G networks and analyzed by means of Monte Carlo analysis. The results show that the peak dose is always dominated by an individual’s mobile phone and, in the case of non-users, by the bystanders’ mobile phones. The reduction in cell size and the separation of indoor and outdoor coverage can substantially reduce the total dose by >10 dB. The introduction of higher frequencies in 5G mobile networks, e.g., 3.6 GHz, reduces the specific absorption rate (SAR) in the entire brain by an average of −8 dB, while the SAR in the superficial tissues of the brain remains locally constant, i.e., within ±3 dB. Data from real networks with multiple-input multiple-output were not available; the effect of adaptive beam-forming antennas on the dose will need to be quantitatively revisited when 5G networks are fully established.

The scientific and technical impact of the study can be summarized as:

  • The study provides guidance for a sustainable implementation of future mobile communication networks
  • The results allow to differentially analyze the impact of the network topology on the dose of different user types ranging from non-users to power users
  • The study is the first of its kind to analyze the combined dose from the network and the user’s own mobile device