Wireless 5G services may pose severe risks to aircrafts: Their rollout has been temporarily limited in the US

Fareeha Arshad

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With the recent introduction of 5G in the United States, there has been a massive row between telecommunication service companies and aviation. Many airlines have claimed that the new fifth-generation wireless technology or the 5G services may interfere with technologies present within aeroplanes and helicopters and result in dangerous repercussions. The issue has led Verizon and AT&T companies to limit their services around a few airports at the moment. This resulted in the cancellation of many flights last week. However, the question remains: Do wireless 5G services affect aircraft technologies?

The 5G networks are known to increase the internet’s speed, connectivity, and bandwidth. However, it operates on the C-band segment of the radio waves. The problem lies in the fact that this part of the electromagnetic spectrum is close to the segment of radio waves in which the airlines operate. Because of this, the 5G network towers near the airports can disrupt the radio altimeters in aircraft that aid pilots to measure the altitudes of the plane. This especially helps them during harsh weather conditions when aircraft stay close to land while flying.

However, the 5G companies, Verizon and AT&T, have reported that their services will not interfere with any air traffic operations. Also, there hasn’t been much work done to prove this fact and the risks associated. Regardless, the 5G rollout has been momentarily limited around a few airports in the US, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and the Los Angeles International Aiport, to avoid any interference with the aviation industry. In addition, the 5G technology has been already rolled out in many other countries without any troubles so far. This has left AT&T, and Verizon frustrated over the recent holdups in the US.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I write about current affairs, history, science, and lifestyle.

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