As India’s telecom operators prepare to launch 5G services, the country’s aviation safety regulator has written to the telecom department concerned about potential interference of the 5G C-Band spectrum with aircraft radio altimeters.
A radio altimeter is an instrument that provides direct information about the altitude above the ground for various aircraft systems. The main concern of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stems from the fact that these altimeters as well as part of the 5G telecom services operate in the C band.
For telecom service providers, C-Band offers a great place to deploy 5G services, ensuring coverage as well as higher bandwidth, resulting in faster internet speeds. For aircraft operations, the use of altimeters in this range ensures very accurate measurements of the aircraft’s altitude.
“The DGCA is working in close coordination with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and has apprised it of its concerns over likely interference of 5G C-Band spectrum with aircraft radio altimeters.”A senior government official said.
These red flags are based on concerns raised by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over the last year since telecom operators in the US, such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile etc, began rolling out 5G services. In the US, an agreement between the FAA and the telecom operators resulted in a delay in the rollout of 5G services in the C-Band near airports that were assessed to be difficult for pilots to make visual approaches.
The radio altimeters pick up the faintest signals reflected off the ground in the assigned frequencies to achieve highly accurate results.
“Now we have auctioned C-Band spectrum within the frequency starting from 3.3 GHz to three.6 GHz (in India). Plane radio altimeters primarily use frequencies starting from 4.2-4.4 GHz. So, there’s a vital 500 MHz hole between the 2 frequency ranges.”An official from DoT said.
The official mentioned the difficulty within the US grew to become vital as a result of operators there are deploying 5G companies within the 3.7-3.98 GHz frequencies, which is nearer to the radio altimeter frequencies.
Earlier this 12 months, Air India needed to cancel a few of its flights to the US as airways globally scrambled to reschedule flights amid considerations that the rollout of 5G cell companies within the US may doubtlessly intrude with plane navigation methods.
During the last 12 months, the FAA has issued several directives to airlines to put in sure filters or modify their tools to make sure that 5G airwaves don’t intrude with their navigation methods.