C-band 5G towers could affect planes in conditions with poor ground visibility due to interference. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) states that the 5G bands employed by AT & T and Verizon could have an adverse impact on planes’ landing systems which are designed to work under low-light conditions.
5G is just breaking mainstream in the US and around the world but it is facing issues spanning from environmental concerns to possible health hazards and now aviation interference.
The FAA ruling suggests that The C-band 5G towers could compromise the planes’ altimeters. The Administration has thus alerted 6,834 planes not to depend on their altimeters when making a landing in certain airports across the country.
An altimeter is a device used mostly by pilots which provides them a measurement of the plane from a fixed level. The C-band 5G towers could interfere with it and distort the data which could entail a serious threat while landing when ground visibility is poor.
C-band Towers could “interfere with the accuracy of an airplane’s radio altimeter”
FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said that the 5G signals could render inaccurate data to the pilot regarding the measurement from the ground level and said the Administration is analyzing the issue with stakeholders to sort out the possible issue.
Speaking with Verge, he said, ‘Landings during periods of low visibility could be limited due to concerns that the 5G signal could interfere with the accuracy of an airplane’s radio altimeter, without other mitigations in place. These limitations could prevent the dispatch of flights to certain locations with low visibility, and could also result in in-flight diversions. We are engaged with the wireless operators, as well as our interagency partners, to do everything possible to make sure the mitigations are tailored to prevent disruptions.”
FAA Demands Assurance of Safety
The FAA has declared 6,834 planes that could suffer from possible 5G towers interference. However, they can prove to the Administration that their altimeters can function without any radio signal hindrances. If they convince the aviation authority, they can fly as per usual.
Check out: 4G vs 5G Comparison
What is C-band 5G?
C-band is another technology in the 5G network that is utilized for its higher broadband efficiency with its operation in a 3.7 to 3.98GHz spectrum. This falls under mid-band frequencies in the 5G vocabulary. But it has fallen on the wrong end with the FAA. The concern is C-band and altimeters in the cockpits don’t operate on the same band. However, the frequencies are close enough that could interfere with the radar system or render inaccurate measurement of the ground to the cockpit.
Verizon and AT & T have suggested a temporary measure, however. The telcos are prepared to lower power emission from their C-band 5G towers to lessen FAA concerns. They have also postponed the C-band tower implementations till January 2022. But the stakeholders are yet to land a proper and permanent solution to sort out the issue altogether for all parties.
Also read: UK Preparing For 2G/3G Shutdown By 2033
5G network has the potential of up to 10 Gbps but the spectrum issue has complicated its real performance rollout. The C-band has incurred fresh suspicions from the FAA regarding its possible interference with the altimeters.
What are your other preoccupations with the fifth-gen mobile network? Do leave your feedback below in the comments.