Verizon 5G: strong enough to disable aircraft radar altimeters, but not strong enough to download a web page

Here’s a better-than-usual Verizon mobile data situation in Jupiter, Florida:

Three bars of 5G yields 3/1 Mbps of data, which turns out to be not enough to browse the modern JavaScript and CSS-bloated web. (This was on Indiantown Road, which I hope will soon be renamed, a 6-lane main artery lined with busy strip malls.)

Meanwhile, the Garmin Pilot app (a flight planning tool) informs us that aircraft radar altimeters aren’t going to work because of 5G deployment:

So the 5G signals are strong enough to call aviation safety into question, but not strong enough to support denouncing Donald Trump, Joe Rogan, and Robert Malone on Facebook, the streaming of Neil Young tunes, or reading news regarding the January 6 insurrection.


9 thoughts on “Verizon 5G: strong enough to disable aircraft radar altimeters, but not strong enough to download a web page

  1. Aviation industry claims that the band-pass filter on their altimeter receivers is so bad that the receiver may be jammed by an adjacent 5G channel. If you look at the numbers, you’ll see that the altimeters operate in the 4.2-4.4GHz band centered on 4.3GHz. According their own measurements, the transmitter emits in a 100MHz bandwidth, well within the 200MHz allocation (e.g. page 8):

    They whine, though, that the altimeter receiver filter is so poor that it lets through almost an entire 1GHz band, i.e 5x of the 4.2-4.4GHz allocation, and therefore an overlaps with the 5G 3.89GHz allocation (4.2 – 0.5 = 3.7) may occur. Given that extraordinary claim of 1GHz required receiver bandwidth, Europe/Japan should also be affected because their upper limit is 3.8 GHz.

    • Ivan: One thing that I haven’t ever seen or heard about is an example of an aircraft operating near a 5G tower that actually displayed an inaccurate radalt indication. Every news article on the subject that I’ve seen is about potential interference, not an example of interference.

    • I guess the same is true regarding on-board WiFi devices and cell phones.

      (I only noticed cell phone interference is when the wire of my Bose X falls next to the pocket with cell phone in it. No such problem with Sennheiser ANC headset, so I guess Bose skipped on using a shielded audio cable while Sennheiser, better known for audiophile equipment, uses shielded cables no matter what.)

      Funnier yet, the cigarette-pack ASD-B receiver I use with ForeFlight on iPad communicates with the iPad using… drumroll… WiFi. Yes, Virginia, during IFR operations, too.

      FAA is just playing their usual “better be paranoid than sorry” game again. After all, for them there is no downside in prohibiting something.

  2. Well, just out of curiosity, I tried to locate any real life cases/docs attached to the FAA hysterics, but all I found were pure hypotheticals. I am still impressed by the 1GHz receiver “selectivity” (if that is true).

  3. You mention Neil Young, but what about Joannie Mitchel, Phil, and, I forget, Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist or someone like that, they are out there on the front lines of science battling the forces of ignorance like that Malone guy you like to trot out — are you able to stream their “tunes”? If not, maybe it is time to think about returning to Maskachusetts so you can keep hum along with these supporters of science?

  4. What I don’t understand is: given the importance, all the advertising dollars and hype surrounding 5G, why wasn’t this potential problem identified years ago and dealt with in a collaborative way before it became “newsworthy?”

    It seems stupid to me that 5G carriers, the FAA, the FCC and aircraft altimeter manufacturers – all interested in the ‘cutting edge’ of technology for their survival – could let this problem fester to the point where mass media (in which frankly a lot of reporters know next to nothing about the technology) have to “get involved” with warnings like it will grind US commerce to a halt.

    America should be better than this. Correct me if I’m wrong that at one time, we were. It’s a disgusting trend of “never let a crisis go to waste” in my view. We should have the best systems in the world, not this garbage where airlines warn that commerce will grind to a halt because this consumer technology – might (allegedly) cause planes to crash.

    W…..T…..F ?

    • To be a little more blunt and disgusting: this is like a basic hygiene problem that someone has neglected, deliberately or not. It festers until the big zits start to emerge and the media gets involved photographing them and asking why nobody used any astringent? Are we the Clearasil Country now when it comes to technologies like 5G and aviation?

      Maybe we need Gunnery Sergeant Hartman:

  5. What’s the latest with radar altimeters and small helicopters? Does 5G change anything?

  6. Your skepticism about 5g and previous record for giving advice has caused me to go out and buy some shares in AT&T. Wish me luck

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