Monday, May 16

Verizon, AT&T and the US air sector have been at war for months over a curious dispute: the effect that 5G can have on flights

2022 starts with troubled waters in the US aeronautical sector. Just a few days before the country activates its new 5G C-band service, with which it intends to improve wireless connectivity, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decided the last week provide 50 of its airports with “buffer zones” designed precisely to reduce the risk that 5G could interfere with sensitive aircraft instruments, such as the radio altimeters they use to determine their height. When selecting the terminals, the FAA assessed their location, the volume of traffic or the frequency of days with low visibility.

The decision marks the umpteenth chapter in the thorny dispute that they have maintained for months aviation-related companies—manufacturers, trade organizations, and airlines—and telecommunications giants Verizon and AT&T. The reason: the fear of the former that the new 5G service who want to implant the latter end up interfering with their activity. In fact, Verizon and AT&T have already had to postpone their plans. Originally they planned to activate it on December 5, a date that was later postponed a month and is now set for January 19.

What do they say about each other?

That: What do the airlines say and what the technology operators?

The aeronautical sector insists that 5G C-band communications, from 3.7-3.98 GHz, may interfere with your operations and especially in its radio altimeters, a key sensor whose value is even highlighted by the US Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA). a report analyzing precisely the possible impact of C-band on aviation.

To strengthen their arguments they point to the FFA itself, which in December issued directives in which it establishes that airlines and other air actors must limit operations that require a radio altimeter when there is “5G C band interference”. “Is [directiva de aeronavegabilidad] was motivated by the determination that radio altimeters cannot be relied upon to perform their intended function if they experience interference of operations of wireless broadband in the frequency band of 3.7-3.98 GHz (band C 5G)”, collects the document.

Airlines warn that meeting new requirements will have a direct impact on your work and will interrupt normal operations. To gauge your scope Airlines for America, a trade organization that represents some of the largest carriers in the country, issued a report on how 5G would affect its flights this year. His numbers are strong.

“Yes the AD [directiva de aeronavegabilidad] be applied with delay to the operations of A4A members in 2019, around 345,000 passenger flights, 32 million travelers and 5,400 cargo flights would have been affected in the form of delayed flights, diversions or cancellations”, warns the study, collected by Business Insider. Boeing has also shown its concern.

During a meeting held in the summer with the Federal Coomunications Commision, representatives of the aviation industry have already insisted that “you can expect major interruptions in the use of the National Airspace System” with the new 5G. Just a few days ago the FAA itself stirred up the waters again by announcing that it will require Boeing 787 operators to take extra precautions when landing on certain wet or snowy runways after implementation.

And on the other side, what do the operators say? For starters, companies trying to roll out wireless communication rely on experience. “Air safety is of paramount importance, but no evidence that 5G operations using C-band spectrum pose a risk to aviation security, as confirmed by real-world experience in dozens of countries already using this spectrum for 5G,” in December moved Verizon to Bloomberg.

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One FAA report stated in November that there are no documented incidents of “harmful interference” in other countries, which did not prevent him from slipping that operators “should be prepared for the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technologies may cause certain security equipment to malfunction, which would force to take mitigation measures that could affect flight operations.

En 2021 Verizon y AT&T more than 70,000 million dollars were spent to acquire a wide C-band spectrum. Its objective is to expand the 5G service throughout the country in a mid-range frequency band with good speed. Today, ultra-fast 5G connectivity already operates in certain areas, but with high-band millimeter wave technologies, which only allows limited regions to be covered; or low band frequencies, which slows down the service.

The creation of “buffer zones” in fifty airports could be a first step to defuse the situation. The measure, which will apply for six months, will lead AT&T and Verizon to turn off their 5G transmitters in those areas to “minimize potential interference with sensitive aircraft instruments used in low-sensitivity landings.”

“It is essential that these discussions are based on science and data. It is the only way to allow experts and engineers assess whether there are any legitimate coexistence issues”, noted in November AT&T in a note collected by The Verge. Desde la Airposts Council Internationa-North America (ACI-NA) value was subtracted on friday to the list of FFA terminals and what they understand to be a “poorly planned and coordinated expansion” of 5G was censored.

Images | Chris Sampson (Flickr) Y Simply Aviation (Flickr)