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Take off with 5G connection on the plane

Being reachable at all times, even above the clouds, is soon to become a reality. At least the EU is confident about this. The United States, on the other hand, is more sceptical - and rightly so.

At the moment, I usually have no reception at all on the plane. Unless I'm lucky and the airline I'm travelling with offers a wi-fi connection.
According to its own press release, the European Commission wants to make reception possible through 5G use on planes.

Connection with satellite network

To ensure a connection with the mobile network, so-called "picocells" would be used for this purpose. These set up a local 5G network that connects to a satellite network. This in turn sends the data on to the ground.

Legally, this has been possible since 2008, when the Commission reserved certain frequency ranges of the 5G network for communication in aircraft.

The problem with the measuring devices

The reason the US strictly warns against this is because of the frequency ranges. With a radar altimeter, a pilot can measure the altitude from the ground. On the underside of the aircraft is the antenna, which the device uses by means of a radio signal. From there, the signal is sent towards the ground. During the landing phase, a correct display of this data is important. If the messages are incorrect, the aircraft will have a bumpy landing at best.

The radar altimeter in an aircraft operates in the frequency range between 4.2 and 4.4 GHz. The frequency range of 5G is between 3.7 and 3.98 GHz in the USA, and between 3.5 and 3.8 GHz in Europe. Europe thus has a larger safety margin.

This is partly why Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss has already allowed switched-on mobile phones since 2020, but the US airspace remains excluded.

Outlook for future air travel

. It is not yet known when the picocells will actually come. In order to be able to implement the EU's plan, it still needs some adjustments and developments. Since WLAN use on board has so far been associated with costs for passengers, a 5G service could also have financial consequences for the occupants. In addition, the end of flight mode would also mean the end of peace and quiet on the plane rather quickly. And last but not least, at least in Switzerland, controls are continuously being carried out to determine whether 5G signals can affect air traffic in any way. This has not been completely ruled out to date and is therefore highly controversial.

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In my world, Super Mario chases Stormtroopers with a unicorn and Harley Quinn mixes cocktails for Eddie and Peter at the beach bar. Wherever I can live out my creativity, my fingers tingle. Or maybe it's because nothing flows through my veins but chocolate, glitter and coffee. 


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