Boeing and Airbus Warn of Risks from 5G, Ask for Implementation Delay

Zarathustra[H]

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No, it won't give you COVID or spread microchips, but Boeing and Airbus are concerned with 5G interference with radar altimeters used for instrument based landings in low visibility conditions and are asking the Biden administration to delay the rollout.

The request is to delay the rollout of 5G until mitigation plans for radar altimeter interference can be put in place. One such suggestion is to limit 5G transmitter power in the vicinity of airports.

I have to presume the new millimeter wave frequencies are to blame here, as other than that 5G operates in the same EM spectrum as traditional cellphone signals based on LTE and earlier. Maybe the solution is to just limit the millimeter wave portion of 5G around airports? This should be especially feasible since that spectrum is of limited use, being line of sight and very short range only.
 
I actually didn't realize 5G wasn't in full rollout mode already.

The little 5G symbol has been popping up on my Pixel 5a ever since i bought it in August, and I thought I was a late adopter...
 
The article fails to mention what specifically is the issue? Is the 5G somehow operating out of band or is the radar/altimeters sensitive to the 5G due to inadequate filtering of their own spectrum? More details needed, hard to eval who is at fault.
 
The article fails to mention what specifically is the issue? Is the 5G somehow operating out of band or is the radar/altimeters sensitive to the 5G due to inadequate filtering of their own spectrum? More details needed, hard to eval who is at fault.

Agreed.

This story is on many outlets today, all of the ones I can find are lacking in details.
 
The article fails to mention what specifically is the issue? Is the 5G somehow operating out of band or is the radar/altimeters sensitive to the 5G due to inadequate filtering of their own spectrum? More details needed, hard to eval who is at fault.
People trained in the technology will evaluate what the issue is. If the "Fault" is that the instrument based landing systems are 50 years old and need equipment updates, they will probably need 5 to 10 years to get that done. Observation: If that is the case, one could argue that the instrument based landing systems were there 'first' in any event.

no big deal. In the meantime, 4g is pretty quick on my phone, I'm not rushing out to buy a new 5g phone anyway. 5g can wait.
 
Verizon and ATT have already pushed their rollouts back past that January date already I believe
 
The article fails to mention what specifically is the issue? Is the 5G somehow operating out of band or is the radar/altimeters sensitive to the 5G due to inadequate filtering of their own spectrum? More details needed, hard to eval who is at fault.
This is an old story being rehashed today. The issue is with just some bands being close to the ones used on the altimeters. The issue is more or less isolation of bleed with older equipment that was not developed with the expectation that the adjacents bands would be used for something else so the equipment did not incorporate what has no become necessary shielding.
 
not soapboxing but it might be popping up again 'cause there was a senate hearing on it on thurs.
 
I don't even own a cell phone, so I could care less about 5G as well. But if it's due to negligently outdated equipment so CEOs and bean counters could get their bonuses, then screw them, the airline industry can suffer.

Well, commercial jets are very expensive and need to be amortized over several decades in order for airlines to not run at a loss. It is not uncommon for regular commercial flights to be on 40+ year old airframes.

Sure, they can be and are upgraded with newer equipment over time, but this is by no means as easy and quick as upgrading your cellphone.

It is a little suspicious though that this is first coming out now. 5G has been in the works for some time...

As has been previously mentioned in this thread, upgrades like this need time for validation testing and rollout across industry. It's a 5-10 year proposition.

I mean, it's easy to say "fuck the airlines", but then you realize that the options are to either stop flights or fly with greater risk of accidents, and that the impacts are to the public as a whole, not just the airlines.
 
It is a little suspicious though that this is first coming out now. 5G has been in the works for some time...

Yeah they've had plenty of time, spent most of it complaining vs fixing the issue. Today's world moves fast, either keep up or go extinct, I really hate the litigate vs innovate philosophy. Not exactly the correct comparison but close enough.
 
Yeah they've had plenty of time, spent most of it complaining vs fixing the issue. Today's world moves fast, either keep up or go extinct, I really hate the litigate vs innovate philosophy. Not exactly the correct comparison but close enough.

Consumer technology can go fast. It is not subject to the level of safety testing necessary for something that controls the altitude of a plane.

As previously mentioned, an upgrade to planes like this is a 5-10 year proposition once testing and roll-out are considered. Regulated industries absolutely cannot keep the same pace as consumer technology, and we should be glad they don't. The 737 Max is an example of what happens when they try.


In consumer products you might get a "you're holding it wrong" cellphone antenna problem. Product still sells, maybe you get some bad press. In the airplane industry something like that can result in hundreds of people falling out of the sky at 800mph. They simply need much stricter testing and that takes time. Lots of it.

Not just testing in product development, but also testing after every installation in every airframe to make sure it is working properly.
 
This was due to bean counters, corruption and management that favored share holders vs human life.

Well, yeah, that was the reason why they tried to speed up development, because they were behind the competition on a more efficient modern small jet.

But the root cause was they tried to take shortcuts to get to market more quickly resulting in assumptions and engineering rationales taking the place of proper validations in many places, and thus overlooked the angle of attack sensor weaknesses, something that in retrospect should have been obvious. A critical safety system relying on a single sensor that could fail, with no backup sensor.

I mean, I would have installed at least three sensors. Under normal conditions the system would read all three and expect them to be within a certain tolerance of each other. If one goes out of telerance, the system flashes a warning light demanding service, and relies on the other two until service is completed before the next flight. If all three are out of tolerance with each other, a more serious warning light with audible alarm goes off, and kicks the system into manual pilot controlled mode. This way the only way the problem happens is if two sensors get stuck in the exact same position at the same time (highly unlikely) and you by far reduce the risk of something like this happening.
 
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Found some more information today suggesting that it is the C-Band frequencies (4-8Ghz) that are the concern.

5G's C-Band Frequencies sit right up against the frequencies used by radar altimeters, separated only by a narrow guard band, which is not believed to be sufficient to prevent interference.

So it sounds as if improper shielding or isolation of the altimeters is not the problem. If they are using the same or similar frequencies, no amount of shielding would be effective.

What is interesting is that about 40 other countries have approved C Band for 5 G use, and this concern only seems to have been voiced here in the U.S. Maybe the FAA is just more conservative than other countries air regulators?
 
Skimming over the report it sounds like they have not done testing that would replicate this so the designs of the alitmeters would not require that kind of filtering, they have only tested with the assumption that adjacent bands are completely empty. It is possible that testing in EU already accommodates this?

This seems a 'oh crap we never thought of this' moment and that redesigning altimeters for this would cost a lot and take time.
 
Maybe I'm totally off-base here, but isn't the FCC supposed to figure this crap out BEFORE they allocate the spectrum? Isn't that sort of thing basically the entire reason the FCC exists? I guess too many of them were "working" from home the last couple years?
 
Since it is already deployed in a lot of places, you would think these airplanes would not fly there due to these safety concerns

It also seems boeing filed that they wanted a 100mhz guard band and the fcc then put in place a 220mhz one for extra safety.
 
Since it is already deployed in a lot of places, you would think these airplanes would not fly there due to these safety concerns

It also seems boeing filed that they wanted a 100mhz guard band and the fcc then put in place a 220mhz one for extra safety.
that was brought up during the hearing, 39 countries have already deployed it without issue or worries from these two.
 
that was brought up during the hearing, 39 countries have already deployed it without issue or worries from these two.
Ah i see that now, damn me for not being an original thinker as usual haha.

This really is smelling more like money or political bullcrap driven. (wraps head in foil).
 
Maybe I'm totally off-base here, but isn't the FCC supposed to figure this crap out BEFORE they allocate the spectrum? Isn't that sort of thing basically the entire reason the FCC exists? I guess too many of them were "working" from home the last couple years?

The problem appears to be that FCC investigated it, and deemed it safe, but FAA disagreed, so it turned in to an Agency vs. Agency fight.

I don't have enough knowledge about the subject matter to determine who is right. The fact that many other countries have deployed it without incident suggests this might be overly conservative, but then on the flip side, when it comes to avoiding hundreds of people falling from the sky at 800mph, overly conservative might be a GOOD thing.
 
Maybe the FAA is just more conservative than other countries air regulators?
That's exactly what it is. There's a theory that an aircraft component COULD potentially operate out of spec, and said component COULD potentially produce inaccurate data as a result. From what I hear (granted, I'm in Telecom, not aviation) it's the FAA being overly cautious. Nobody has been able to generate an issue even in a lab.

It's like the whole "Secure erase" debacle with computer hard drives. There's a theory that data could be recovered. IIRC, it's a theory that one guy wrote up "back when the zeros and ones were visible with the naked eye", and has never had a single case of it actually happening. However, because the theory exists, the security industry went crazy and mandated multiple wipes.
 
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