In the United States, civil aviation is concerned about the deployment of 5G

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In the United States, a standoff begins between telephone operators and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – a government agency in charge of civil aviation regulations – because of a new update of 5G networks . On 19 next January, Verizon and AT&T, two major telecommunications companies, plan to activate new cellular frequencies including C-band , to speed up connections for tens of millions of phones nationwide.

The FAA is concerned about the addition of this frequency. She fears that the C-band will interfere with certain radio altimeters, security tools of planes which depend on nearby waves. The operators deny any risk of interference. The FAA explains that planes rely on parts of the spectrum that are close to the waves used by the C band. According to it, this could cause potential security problems.

That’s why, to avoid risks, the agency announced last December that flights that relied on a radio altimeter might have to be rescheduled. However, the Federal Communications Commission – an independent agency – had determined that 5G did not pose a problem for modern altimeters.

A history of frequencies What is certain is that the whole 5G market depends on the C band. 5G smartphones currently connect to the wave spectrum millimeters and low-band spectrum. The frequencies in the millimeter wave spectrum can carry a lot of data very quickly, but they don’t extend very far. In contrast, low band spectrum frequencies can cover large areas but can only support a small amount of data and are therefore slower. The C band covers a good part of the territory with fairly high speeds. Thanks to it, 5G devices would work ten times faster than 4G phones.

To find an agreement, wireless operators and airlines agreed end 2022 to test the performance of certain radio altimeters in real conditions. The FAA will then lift restrictions on planes, only if airlines can prove that their altimeters can work when C-band is on. The carriers have also promised not to transmit C-band at fifty airports the FAA has selected for at least six months.

This is not the first time that the FAA has opposed the introduction of certain new technologies. Vox reminds that until 2013, it was forbidden to use computers and telephones on planes.