What do you think about this airline vs 5G brouhaha?

Mel Beckman mel at beckman.org
Tue Jan 18 21:25:29 UTC 2022


Here’s a recent PCmag editorial on the subject, and it seems like many people want to put Internet speed above airline safety:


This issue definitely impacts network operations for 5G providers, so makes sense to discuss here.

Here’s a comment from a friend of mine who has been both a network engineer and a pilot for United Airlines, posted on the article linked above:

“As a pilot, I can tell you that landing in instrument conditions is by far the most critical flight regime possible, during which the radar altimeter reports are a matter of life and death. There is no alternative technology, such as GPS, with the required accuracy and reliability, to provide approach guidance down to the runway in zero-zero weather, which is what the radar altimeter does.

The collective tech industry needs to admit that it made a huge blunder when it urged the FCC’s clueless Ajit Pai to “blow off” the clearly demonstrated FAA spectrum conflict. Sorry, passengers, but if you look out your window, you’ll see that aviation owns this spectrum and is entitled to interference-free operation. Replacing all radar altimeters isn’t going to happen in time for 5G anyway — it took more than ten years just to deploy anti-collision technology. So do what you should have done from the beginning: follow the FCC rules of non-interference to existing users, who have clear priority in this case.”

I tend to agree with him, and it looks like the 5G providers and FAA agreed last week to put some buffer safety zones around runway approaches at 50 major airports:



On Jan 18, 2022, at 12:33 PM, Michael Thomas <mike at mtcc.com> wrote:

I really don't know anything about it. It seems really late to be having this fight now, right?


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