Airplanes feeling communication strain to 5G towers


Maxwell Fury Via Pixabay

5G towers increase internet connectivity, but create concerns

Andrei Lynch '22, Staff Reporter

Recently, International flights to U.S. airports have stopped over 5G signal interference concerns. 

Verizon and AT&T released their 5G services fully on Jan 19, which use frequencies between the 3.7-3.95 GHz range. The companies are beginning to shut 1G to 4G services worldwide.

John Wu, Riordan Technical Director, stated that 5G “is an improvement to the 1G to 4G networks based on reliability, speed, and lower latency.”

Regardless, the Federal Aviation Administration cautioned these companies from using the services near airports over supposed interference to Boeing 777 radar altimeters. 

These radar altimeters use 4.2-4.4 GHz; they provide information on the aircraft’s height in the sky and are crucial for landing in poor visibility.

The FAA warned that airlines “should be prepared for the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technology could cause certain safety equipment to malfunction, requiring them to take mitigating action that could affect flight operations.””

Christopher Yee ’22 said, “Yes, it is the belief of the FAA that 5G telecommunications will negatively affect the safety of airplanes taking off and landing.” 

United Emirates, British Airlines, and Air India canceled Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York-bound flights. The flights have used different routes, rescheduled, or even changed the aircraft model. 

Yee said, “I would feel horrible if my flight were to be canceled because of this. However, I don’t think that we will have issues pertaining to the safety of flights and airplanes.”

The agencies say that the issue may take some years to settle. Some probable solutions include new FAA standards, replacing towers, and moving the position of the antennas. 

Travelers should be prepared for 5G for the future because, as Wu stated, “5g is here already and will be for the next decade.”