5G: Risk for Aviation Industry

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What does 5G mean?

5G is the 5th generation mobile network.5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds,ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users. Higher performance and improved efficiency empower new user experiences and connect new industries.

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What are the differences between the previous generations of mobile networks and 5G?

Previously mobile networks like 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G delivered analog voice, then changed to digital voice eg: CDMA and slowly as the technology started to advance, the 3G network brought mobile data. 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile broadband. But 5G is a unified, more capable air interface. It is the next generation of mobile internet connections. It lets people download and upload data much more quickly, and allows more devices to access the mobile internet at the same time.

Why 5G is a Risk Factor for the Aviation industry?

5G is committed to providing its users fast and agile access to the network and it lets people download and upload data much more quickly. To do this, it relies on greater use of radio signals. In the US, the radio frequencies being used for 5G are in a part of the spectrum known as C-Band. These frequencies are close to the ones used by radio altimeters on airplanes, which measure the height of the aircraft above the ground and also provide data for safety and navigation systems. The concern is that interference from 5G transmissions could stop these instruments from working properly, and cause safety problems, particularly when aircraft are coming into land. Recently, the US aviation regulator, the FAA, warned that 5G interference could lead to problems with a number of different systems aboard Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. These could make it difficult to slow the plane down on landing, causing it to veer off the runway.

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How will  Aviation be kept Safe?

To keep Aviation safe, the use of Radio altimeters should stop. But that will restrict the ability of some aircraft to land, for example, in poor visibility. The flight can get delayed or get cancel if the risk of 5G remains near the airports. It also suggests a large part of the US aircraft flight will get “deem” because of the restrictions on their operation. But the airline industry suggests that this network should not be active within two miles of affected airports.

Do other countries share similar concerns?

Not to the same degree. This is due to the different rolling-out patterns of 5G. In the EU, the networks operate at lower frequencies in comparison to the U.S. Lowering the frequency has provided immense help in taking off and landing flights. Also, it has reduced the risk for Aviation. To reduce the risk of interference, U.S network providers are planning to use the same. Nevertheless, some countries have taken further steps to reduce possible risks. In France, there are “buffer zones” around airports that restrict 5G signals.

Have 5G firms provided a permanent solution?

Verizon and AT&T have agreed to “temporarily” delay the rollout of 5G at what AT&T said was a “limited number of towers around certain airport runways”. The firms had already postponed the network rollout twice and had agreed to the temporary buffer zones mentioned above. Many said due to high frequency it might affect the flights. Thus, in airports, high-frequency signals should be less.

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity

-Albert Einstein

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Suraj Chaudhary is the founder of HighApproach, a student, a web designer, and a writer who is figuring things out.

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