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A picture of someone looking at the Eden biomes and holding their phone with their headphones on

5G at Eden

We’ve installed a 5G mobile network here at Eden as part of our Eden Universe research project, to test and trial ways 5G could enhance visitor experiences and help make our site more sustainable. 

Telecoms and mobile network operator aql have built a 10m tall 5G station next to our main site. For the purpose of the trials, the network will be accessible by Eden devices only to start with.

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“5G will offer lots of new opportunities, some ground-breaking and some potentially changing our day-to-day lives dramatically.”

What is 5G?

5G, which stands for 5th generation, is the newest and fastest mobile network available.

Like other mobile networks, 5G uses radio waves – a type of electromagnetic radiation – to transfer data wirelessly. Radio waves with higher frequencies can carry more information, so each new mobile network generation uses higher-frequency radio waves to achieve faster data transfer. By using higher frequency waves, 5G could be up to ten times faster than 4G.

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Ofcom 5G Electromagnetic Spectrum Infographic

How does it work?

Let’s say you want to watch a film on your smartphone. Firstly, where is that film? It’s probably stored in a huge data centre on another continent. When you click play, your mobile transmits radio waves encoded with a request for the film. Your nearest transceiver station receives these radio waves, decodes the request and re-encodes it into a laser, which is whizzed around the world through fibre-optic cables crisscrossing the ocean floor.

Once the request has reached the data centre and been decoded, the process occurs in reverse, whizzing the encoded video across the world. Your smartphone receives the encoded radio waves and decodes them into the film, which starts to play. This all happens in the time it takes to press play, because both radio waves and lasers are travelling at almost the speed of light.

What are the impacts of 5G?

UK5G Climate and Environment

The Eden Project is part of the UK5G Climate and Environment Working Group, tasked with informing UK policy on the environmental impacts of 5G. We are using our own 5G network and 5G enabled experiences to evaluate impacts and will share our findings with the government panel. 

Eden Project was one of nine consortiums chosen for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) 5G Create fund, and will begin trialling a series of 5G enabled experiences with select visitor groups from October 2021. 

Reducing your online carbon footprint

The average internet user spends over 6 hours a day online [i], which translates as 4.5 million google searches, 188 million emails and 4.5 million YouTube videos watched every minute around the world [ii].

Our actions make a big difference to the carbon emissions caused by the IT sector. 

Read our tips below on how to reduce your carbon footprint by minimising your electronic waste and online energy-use.