How 5G impacts flights? – UPSC Prelims

How 5G impacts flights?
  • Airlines take off and land using autopilot systems, which use data from radar altimeters to determine the altitude of the aircraft.
  • Hence, they are a crucial part of flight operations for pilots, particularly while seeking to make low-visibility landings in poor weather conditions.
  • Altimeters emit radio waves at 4.2-4.3 Gigahertz (GHz) frequency, which could interfere with a 5G band called C-Band, which lies between 3.7-4.4 GHz.
  • Whereas, not using auto-pilot would lead to more fuel consumption and higher costs for airlines.
What are the steps taken by US regulators?
  • US regulators left about a 200 MHz buffer between the altimeters’ frequency and the 5G C-Band frequency.
  • However, some airplanes like the Boeing 777 are using some older radio altimeters, which are finding it difficult to function in this buffer.
  •  So some US telcos have temporarily deferred the 5G roll-out.

Can this impact India’s 5G roll-out?
  • India’s 5G auctions are expected to include spectrum bands of 3.3GHz -3.6GHz, which means the C-Band may not be operational, at least in the near future.