Impact of 5G network on Aircraft Equipment


The fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity is known as 5G. It allows consumers to download and transfer data faster, as well as connect many devices to the mobile internet at the same time. It does so by making more use of radio signals. The radio frequencies utilised for 5G in the United States are part of the C-Band spectrum. These frequencies are similar to those used by radio altimeters on planes, which measure the aircraft’s height above the ground while simultaneously providing data for safety and navigation systems. The global market of aviation industry is concerned over the implications of 5G rollover and the free market research tool of global market database gives detailed insights into the future impacts and solutions the FAA and wireless companies are working on together.


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In early 2021, the United States auctioned mid-range 5G spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz range on the C band spectrum to mobile phone operators AT&T and Verizon for around USD 80 billion. The C-Band frequencies used by AT&T and Verizon, which usually operate from 3.7 to 3.98 GHz, have been a source of concern for airlines since these mid-band waves may interfere with radio altimeters. The frequencies used by radio altimeters, which were created in the 1920s to assist pilots in determining a plane’s altitude and distance from other objects, are similar to those used by 5G services. Altimeters use frequencies in the 4.2-4.4 GHz band, and specialists in the United States are concerned that the auctioned frequencies are too close to this range. 5G interference, according to aviation specialists in the United States, could have rare but disastrous effects for air travel, since certain planes may be unable to land at airports near 5G towers. In addition to altitude readings, altimeter readouts are also used to aid automated landings and to detect harmful currents known as wind shear.

The RTCA, a United States organization that gives technical recommendations on aviation matters, issued a paper in late 2020 warning of the risk of catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities, in the absence of effective mitigations. More significantly, the FAA, the United States’ aviation regulatory, warned that 5G interference could cause problems with a variety of systems aboard Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Such factors could make landing difficult, forcing the plane to stray off the runway.

Global Market Database analyst states, AT&T and Verizon’s activation of C-Band frequencies is expected to improve 5G networks for millions of Americans. On January 19, 2021, the long-awaited deployment began. Airlines for America, a trade group, submitted a letter to US Transportation Secretary and others two days before the 5G rollout, urging authorities to intercede and prohibit 5G implementation within 2 miles of airports. Hence, in response to following concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration and other airlines, both organizations temporarily postponed plans for 5G networks near select airports. Verizon and AT&T agreed to maintain buffer zones around at least 50 airports, including key hubs like New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, to decrease the likelihood of interference.

According to market database, several airlines have already decided to delay or cancel flights to the United States, while others have chosen to fly a different brand of aircraft. Emirates, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and Lufthansa have all declared plans to replace Boeing 777 aircraft with Boeing 747-8 planes. Emirates has cancelled flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, New Jersey, Florida, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle, a major East-West airline. Flights to San Francisco, Newark, New York, and Chicago have also been cancelled by Air India. Customers can further use global market login and get detailed insights into market database of the United States airline industry and the impact of 5G network over it.

In 2019, the European Union established regulations for mid-range 5G frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz range, which is lower than the frequency used in the United States. The bandwidth was auctioned throughout Europe and is currently being used without trouble in several of the bloc’s 27 member states. France’s spectrum (3.6-3.8 GHz) is further away from the band (4.2-4.4 GHz) used for altimeters in the United States, according to FAA officials, and France’s 5G power level is much lower than what is approved in the United States.

The 5G mobile communication frequency in South Korea is 3.42-3.7 GHz, and no reports of radio wave interference have been reported since the introduction of 5G in April 2019, according to Global Market Database. There are currently 5G mobile communication wireless stations in operation near airports in South Korea, but no concerns have been reported. The business intelligence tool of global market database further states that wireless providers in nearly 40 countries across Europe and Asia are now using the C band for 5G, with no documented effects on radio altimeters that utilize the same internationally defined 4.2-4.4 GHz frequency.

The airline industry in the United States has been actively working on new altimeter standards, but they would not be available for public review until October 2022. The FAA, Verizon, and AT&T have agreed on actions that will allow more planes to safely utilize important airports while also allowing more towers to provide 5G service, according to a statement released on January 28, 2021. The FAA has received more specific data on the exact location of wireless transmitters as well as a more detailed analysis of how 5G C-band signals interact with sensitive aircraft equipment from AT&T and Verizon. The FAA used this information to determine that it is possible to map the size and shape of the zones around airports where 5G signals are mitigated in a safe and exact manner. As a result, wireless carriers will be able to safely turn on more towers as they roll out new 5G network services in major markets across the United States. Global Market Database enables its customers with a market database and free market research tool that further helps them with detailed insights into different market sectors and market trends.