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Chinese IT giant used pandemic to develop 5G networks

The coronavirus pandemic not only brought down the global economy , but also stimulated some high-tech industries – 5G mobile networks , robotics , cloud data systems and artificial intelligence. Some data in this area was shared by the Chinese company Huawei.

During the pandemic, network traffic around the world increased sharply – only by 40% in the first week, which is not surprising – people began to hang on the Internet in self-isolation. The time schedule for loading networks has also changed. The usual peak at 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. was added at 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. , with the main peak in the morning hours – thanks to distance education. 

The second peak is in remote workers. For example, in China, 200 million students study and another 200 million work online. According to China Mobile, traffic in distance education has grown eight times. The epidemic also affected the geographical dynamics of traffic – in business districts it fell by 59%, but grew by 32% in residential areas compared to 2019.

With the abolition of quarantine, traffic will decrease, but it will not be the same, this can be seen from statistics from those areas of China that have returned to normal life. At the peak time of the closure of Chinese cities, traffic grew 1.8 times, but after the opening of cities it still remained 30% -40% higher than before the pandemic.


Until now, killer-application for 5G networks has not appeared in the world. The need to switch to a new format was associated with the spread of unmanned vehicles. But it turned out that in the context of the rapid construction of new infectious hospital buildings, only 5G networks can quickly provide the necessary speed and coverage. So, in two new hospitals in Wuhan, 5G networks were deployed in just 72 hours, and in just seven provinces, 1951 new base stations were installed at the same time.

During the pandemic, new technologies appeared in Chinese hospitals: intelligent robots that collected throat swabs; artificial intelligence-controlled systems for remote temperature measurement; interdepartmental cloud platforms for monitoring and managing the fight against the epidemic; diagnostic systems using artificial intelligence, providing a complete decryption of computed tomography of the lungs with visualization in seconds. All this required high-speed Internet access without delay, which only 5G networks could provide in new hospitals.

Robots in hospitalsRobots in hospitals

Other consumers of the gigantic data sets were transport and medical robots, which during the epidemic began to appear in large numbers in the hospitals of Hubei, Sih, and Jinting. For example, robots for conducting epidemiological control with the functions of remote temperature measurement, disinfection and spraying, which required an upstream channel bandwidth of 30 Mbit / s with a delay of not more than 200 ms. It is clear that in such a compact time it was not possible to develop them from scratch – alteration of patrol robots went into business. There are cheaper analogues with disinfection functions only.

There appeared in the corridors of hospitals and transport robots carrying drugs and food. In some cities, unmanned vehicles were allowed to deliver food to medical personnel. All these robots and drones could not function without 5G networks.

It is clear that these new robots did not play an important role in the fight against the pandemic (unlike powerful information networks with support for artificial intelligence), but investments in these technologies during the pandemic gave a powerful impetus to their development. 

Moreover, they are not going to curtail investments, but on the contrary: the New Infrastructure program adopted in China provides for seven main sectors for accelerated development with powerful support from the state: 5G networks, industrial Internet, high-speed intercity transportation, data processing centers, and artificial intelligence systems , high-voltage power and high-speed charging stations for electric vehicles. The total budget for these programs will be 17 trillion yuan ($ 2.4 trillion). 

“Investing in the future is never too early and will continue despite the pandemic dying out”



How Russia and the United States nearly started a nuclear war in 1995

The Norwegian meteorological rocket incident remains the only time in history that the Russian president has activated his nuclear briefcase.

On January 25, 1995, Doomsday could have come in the world: the Russian Federation was preparing to launch a nuclear strike on the United States. How did it come about that the states that left the confrontation of the Cold War in the past and had just normalized relations with each other found themselves on the verge of mutual destruction?

The beginning of the war?

The cause of the crisis was an ordinary Norwegian meteorological rocket. Its launch from the small island of Anneia at 7 am local time (10 am Moscow time) towards Spitsbergen caused a stir in Russia. 

Black Brant XII.

Black Brant XII. Legion Media / ZUMA Press

Equipped with scientific equipment to study the aurora borealis, the Black Brant XII was similar in size to the nuclear-powered American Trident D-5 ballistic missile, intended for launch from submarines. In addition, it flew along a trajectory along which, as the Russian Defense Ministry believed, American missiles would fly in the event of a nuclear war. 

In December 1994, Norway informed 28 states, including Russia, about the planned launch, but did not give a specific date, limiting itself to specifying the period: from January 15 to February 10 of the next year. Due to bureaucratic delays, this information did not reach the Russian Missile Warning System, which sounded the alarm.

Decisive minutes

An emergency meeting with the country’s top political and military leadership was convened in the Kremlin. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov and President of the Russian Federation (as Supreme Commander-in-Chief) Boris Yeltsin had three strategic missile forces control terminals activated – the so-called nuclear suitcases.

Vladimir Sayapin / TASS

The military believed the lone missile could have been fired to create an electromagnetic pulse that knocked out Russian radars and communications systems. Following it, a massive blow could be expected.

For several tense minutes, as leaders watched it flight, it was decided whether Russia would launch a nuclear strike against the United States. 

“Little is known today about what Yeltsin said at the time, given that it could have been some of the most dangerous moments in the entire history of the nuclear era,” The Washington Post journalist, David Hoffman wrote three years after the incident : “They make it clear that the Cold War nuclear readiness system continues to operate, and how catastrophic its consequences could be, despite the fact that the feud between the great powers is already over.”   

The situation was discharged only when it became clear that the rocket had gone towards Spitsbergen (not far from which it fell into the ocean). The nuclear cases have been deactivated. Russian President Boris Yeltsin (center) and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (right).

Russian President Boris Yeltsin (center) and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (right). Igor Mikhalev / Sputnik

The incident with bringing Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces to combat readiness, soon became the property of the world community. When, four years later, the Norwegians were about to repeat their launch of Black Brant XII and reported this to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the US additionally warned all key Russian military departments about it through their channels. As a result, this time there were no unpleasant surprises. 


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Germany conducted exercises in case of nuclear war

Bundeswehr / Birthe Brechters

The Bundeswehr with partners in the North Atlantic Alliance ( NATO) trained in operations in a nuclear war.

The German army, together with Italian, Belgian and Dutch colleagues, conducted exercises in the event of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons.

The location of the exercise “Steadfest Noon” was chosen airbase “Nörfenich”, where the tactical squadron of the Luftwaffe 31 “Boelcke” is located. Together with the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr, the air forces of other NATO countries, in particular, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, took part in the exercises.

According to a report by Bild, the exercise scenario involved training procedures for safely removing nuclear weapons from storage, delivering ammunition and installing them on aircraft. The training flights took place without nuclear weapons, and in parallel with the aviation exercises at the Büchel airbase, where the tactical squadron of the Luftwaffe 51 Immelman is located, the Resilient Guard air defense systems were trained to protect the airfield from air attacks.

The training sites for the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr were not chosen by chance, since the Nörfenich airbase is a reserve storage site for the B61, a hydrogen bomb that forms the basis of nuclear weapons of the US strategic nuclear forces. 

Some of this ammunition is stationed at NATO bases in Europe. The exact number of hydrogen bombs that are stored at European sites and which ones are not reported. In Europe, the B61 is carried by Panavia Tornado fighter-bombers (pictured) and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters.

Recall that the B61 thermonuclear bomb is the main weapon of the US strategic nuclear forces, although it entered service in 1968. Since 2012, a new guided version of the B61-12 has been under development, which will replace all B61 and B83 bombs that have been in service since 1983. It can be used both on strategic bombers and tactical aircraft. About two billion dollars were spent on the development of the 12th modification of the aerial bomb.

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The Pentagon wants to use 5G for military purposes

© Al Drago; George Frey/Reuters

The US military has partnered with more than a dozen companies for “large-scale experiments” with 5G technology, including efforts to increase the “lethality” of certain systems, as part of a $ 600 million project. 

Duplicating 5G technology as the “Founding Tool for Modernizing All US Defense,” the Pentagon announced a massive research initiative on Thursday that will donate hundreds of millions of dollars to 15 private contractors to conduct tests at five US military sites.

 “The Department of Defense today announced a $ 600 million award for 5G experiments and testing at five US military training grounds, representing the world’s largest full-scale 5G trials for dual-use applications,” the Pentagon said in a statement that it will bring together experts from multiple industries and disciplines. 

Projects will include piloting 5G-enabled augmented / virtual reality for mission planning and training, testing 5G-enabled smart warehouses, and evaluating 5G technologies to improve distributed management and control.

Selected for the project include telecommunications companies AT&T, Nokia and Ericsson, exploration and information technology contractor Booz-Allen Hamilton, research arm of General Electric, GE Research and a subsidiary of aerospace giant General Dynamics.

One initiative, led by AT&T at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, will apply 5G to its “Distributed Command and Control” system to “Assist in lethality in the air, space and cyberspace”, improving communications for mobile command posts in combat scenarios. At the Lewis-McCord joint base in Washington State, AT&T will also work with Booz-Allen and two other firms to develop 5G-enabled virtual reality technology for training, mission planning, and even Operational Use. 

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