Three Years Ago — 5G Belgium : Chaos Across the Spectrum [UPDATE — Physics Today Infographic : 5G Pinch Points]

“The interferences caused to GSM-R receivers have been a very strong concern for Railway operators over the last years. Several cases of interference have been reported in various Member States, causing non-acceptable operational and even safety issues.”

EU Agency for Railways

May 31 2019 — In a recent post, I told you that the Dutch Intel Agencies have come to the conclusion that their espionage station will need to be shut down because of interferences with the new 5G network. Well, that is for the spies to worry about? Sure, but today’s story is about all of us. Read carefully.

Belgium’s telecoms regulator, the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT), has begun a public consultation to assess interest in using the 26GHz band for 5G services. Amazingly, the document does not say one word about possible interferences with — for instance — very important weather satellites. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: Netherlands — Dutch Espionage Station Shut Down by 5G Interference

RELATED POST: 5G — Belgium Postpones Spectrum Auction to 2020. And Maybe Later… Why? [UPDATE]

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RELATED POST: Havana Syndrome — What Are the Frequencies Used by US Intel for Microwave Spying?

RELATED POST: Belgium – Huawei Opens Europe Cybersecurity Transparency Centre in Brussels (March 5 2019)

“The frequencies allocated for wireless broadband communication could lead to costly interference for scientists and others who rely on specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.”

Infographic: 5G pinch points

Physics Today (May 27 2022)

UPDATE (May 31 2022) — Physics Today is the membership magazine of the American Institute of Physics. The current issue has an excellent infographic on the problematic of the 5G pinch points.

The article does not offer new information, but a nice picture is indeed worth a thousand words…

The transition to the fifth generation of wireless broadband technology (5G) has been rocky. To facilitate faster and more reliable digital communication, as 5G promises, radio-spectrum regulators have approved the operation of 5G transmitters and receivers within various wavelength bands in the 1–25 GHz range. Radio waves in the L (~1–2 GHz) and C (~4–8 GHz) bands travel long distances but have limited bandwidth. Those in the 24 GHz band don’t travel as far but have the wide bandwidth needed to increase data-transfer rates by an order of magnitude.

The problem is that the radio spectrum is already used by many other players, and recent 5G licenses granted in the US have approved the use of wavelengths that are close to those used for essential scientific and technical applications. Existing technologies that are potentially threatened include satellites that measure water vapor, altimeters that record an airplane’s vertical position, and the host of instruments that private and public interests rely on for GPS navigation. The neighboring chunks of spectrum are close enough that the 5G signal power may bleed into nearby bands and cause signal interference, especially when 5G activity ramps up.

Here we’ve identified some notable 5G pinch points between the new communication standard and several key scientific and technical applications.


“Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies.”

Letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

January 17 2022

UPDATE (January 18 2022) — On Monday, major American airlines sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warning that “the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.”

As I have explained before, 5G can interfere with the instruments and create a serious safety hazard.

Thousands of flights could be grounded by interference, adding to the disruptions in the global shipping network that have fueled inflation.

Airline executives believe that the measures promised by Verizon and AT&T are not enough to prevent interference with aircraft sensors.

They asked that the 5G technology not be activated within two miles of 50 major airports.

According to the Seattle Times [FAA sets rules for some Boeing 787 landings near 5G service] :

Federal safety officials are directing operators of some Boeing planes to adopt extra procedures when landing on wet or snowy runways near impending 5G service because, they say, interference from the wireless networks could mean that the planes need more room to land.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that interference could delay systems like thrust reversers on Boeing 787s from kicking in, leaving only the brakes to slow the plane.

That “could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway,” the FAA said.


“Aircraft with untested altimeters or that need retrofitting or replacement will be unable to perform low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed,” the agency said in a statement.

The order regarding Boeing 787s covers 137 planes in the U.S. and 1,010 worldwide. The 787 is a two-aisle plane that is popular on longer routes, including many international flights.

The FAA said that based on information from Boeing, the 787s might not shift properly from flying to landing mode if there is interference, which could delay the activation of systems that help slow the plane.

The FAA is conducting tests to learn how many commercial planes have altimeters that might be vulnerable to spectrum interference. The agency said this week it expects to estimate the percentage of those planes soon, but didn’t put a date on it.

Let me ask again. Why was that work not done years ago? Why on earth not?

And by the way… Medevac helicopters may also be affected by the technology. According to a Bloomberg report, 5G interference on radio altimeters on emergency helicopters could ground operations. The 5G will not necessarily shut down the altimeter, but could cause it to give inaccurate readings. [The Guardian — US airline officials warn of ‘catastrophic’ crisis in aviation with new 5G service]


“We look forward to using the additional time and space to reduce flight disruptions associated with this 5G deployment.”

FAA (January 3 2022)

UPDATE (January 4 2022) — Top US phone firms agree delay and no deployment around airports –On Monday, Verizon Communications and AT&T Inc have agreed a government request to delay the rollout of 5G services.

The US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made the request over concerns about aviation safety.

The two companies will not deploy 5G around US airports for six months as a temporary safeguard.

Over the next two weeks, regulators, airlines and wireless carriers will look at ways of minimizing the potential impact of interference on flight operations.

Just one question. Why was that work not done years ago? Why on earth not? Please, keep in mind that I wrote this post in May 2019!


“5G interference could adversely affect the ability of aircraft to safely operate.”

Dave Calhoun (Boeing) and Jeffrey Knittel (Airbus Americas)

Joint letter to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (December 2021)

UPDATE (December 22 2021) — Boeing and Airbus Warn US Transportation Secretary — In my last update of this post, I told you that 5G can interfere with sensitive aircraft equipment like radio altitude meters.

In a letter to to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, top executives at Boeing and Airbus warned that the technology could have “an enormous negative impact on the aviation industry.”

Research by trade group Airlines for America found that if the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 5G rules had been in effect in 2019, about 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo flights would have faced delays, diversions or cancellations.

“Airbus and Boeing have been working with other aviation industry stakeholders in the US to understand potential 5G interference with radio altimeters,” Airbus said in a statement.

“An Aviation Safety Proposal to mitigate potential risks has been submitted for consideration to the US Department of Transportation.”

In November, AT&T and Verizon delayed the commercial launch of C-band wireless service by a month until January 5 2022 and adopted precautionary measures to limit interference.

This month, the FAA issued airworthiness directives warning 5G interference could result in flight diversions, saying it would provide more information before the January 5 2022 rollout date.

Aviation industry groups have said the measures did not go far enough, with Boeing and Airbus saying they made a counter-proposal that would limit cellular transmissions around airports and other critical areas.

Last week, United Airlines chief executive Scott Kirby said the FAA’s 5G directives would bar the use of radio altitude meters at about 40 of America’s biggest airports. [Boeing and Airbus warn US over 5G safety concerns]

This issue has never been investigated by the competent authority in Brussels despite the location of the national airport.

And then, it could get worse… I understand that the Brussels government will pass a law allowing another tenfold increase of the power of telecom antennas in the city.

Soon or later, an airliner will crash in the capital of Europe. And this tragedy will not be an accident.

This is simply madness!


“The utilization of 5G devices onboard aircraft could lead to risks of interference that could potentially result in errors in altitude readings.”

DGAC (Feb. 16 2021)

UPDATE (February 16 2021) — French Regulator : “5G can interfere with aircraft critical instruments.” —

Today, the French Civil Aviation Authority [DGAC] warned that 5G smartphones,  can interfere with aircraft altitude instruments.

“The utilisation of 5G devices onboard aircraft could lead to risks of interference that could potentially result in errors in altitude readings,” a spokesman for the agency told AFP.

The potential phenomenon is due to “signal interference from a close frequency source of a strength that is similar or even superior to that of altimeters”.

The DGAC recommends that in cases of disruption to an aircraft’s equipment that the flight crew immediately notify air traffic controllers, who can then alert the authorities at the airport.

DGAC has laid out conditions for the positioning of 5G base stations in order to limit the risks of interference during landing at French airports.

The strength of signals from 5G base stations placed near France’s main airports has been restricted, said the DGAC, which has been conducting additional testing since November 2020 when French telecommunications operators were given the green light to begin rolling out 5G services.

The DGAC is monitoring 5G base stations around all French airports in cooperation with the agency responsible for radio frequencies.

This issue has never been investigated by the competent authority in Brussels despite the location of the national airport. This is simply madness!


“There is no question that additional study is needed to understand the full extent and severity of 5G interference with radio altimeters and whether any mitigations are feasible—or even possible—to ensure flight safety.

Peter DeFazio– Chairman of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (Dec. 2020)

May 31 2019 — In a recent post, I told you that the Dutch Intel Agencies have come to the conclusion that their espionage station will need to be shut down because of interferences with the new 5G network. Well, that is for the spies to worry about? Sure, but today’s story is about all of us. Read carefully.

The Belgian 5G Dossier is surreal. I recently summarized the current situation:

RELATED POST: 5G — Brussels Government Gives Up on New Environmental Law

No one knows when the next government, whenever it is formed, will allow the auction of the 5G frequency bands. And no one knows if the auction will allow three or four operators.

No one knows whether the next government will allow or not Chinese equipment to be used in the development of the 5G infrastructure.

If allowed, what will be the retaliation by the US administration against Belgium? If not allowed, how will the Belgian telecom operators develop their 5G infrastructure which they had planned to build around Huawei and ZTE equipment.

And no one knows what maximum power operators will be allowed to use in Brussels because the project to modify the Law has been postponed.

This summary is about — mostly — the old frequency bands. But, earlier this month, Belgium’s telecoms regulator — the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) — has begun a public consultation to assess interest in using the 26GHz band for 5G services.

Interested parties have until today (May 31 2019) to offer views on using the 26GHz band, proposals for migrating its current users and a future regulatory framework for the spectrum.

The BIPT believes it possible to assign six blocks of 200MHz without migrating the band’s existing users, while a further ten blocks would be available once the spectrum is vacated.

European Union member states are required to authorize the use of at least 1GHz of the 26GHz band by 31 December 2020 in order to facilitate the rollout of 5G, subject to demand and the absence of significant issues migrating existing users.

The 26GHz band is currently home to 850 two-way radio links, with blocks awarded to Telenet and Orange Belgium. (Not long ago, I documented the failure of these links during a storm.)

All over the world, scientists are worried that 5G wireless networks could interfere with technology that uses satellites to make accurate weather forecasts.

What Are Interferences?

All the radio devices are susceptible to produce and to suffer from interferences, and it is not possible to guarantee an interference free radio environment.

There can be many different signals with different power levels measured in a specific frequency range of the radio spectrum.

The receiver terminals have their own sensitivity and capabilities to “listen” to the desired signal. When the discrimination of the desired signal is not possible, we speak of interferences.

A NASA report provides an investigation into the history of some well-known Electromagnetic interference (EMI) system failures and anomalies in military and commercial electronic systems. Here are two textbook examples.

During the early years of ABS’s, Mercedes-Benz automobiles equipped with ABS had severe braking problems along a certain stretch of the German autobahn. The brakes where affected by a near-by radio transmitter as drivers applied them on the curved section of highway. The near-term solution was to erect a mesh screen along the roadway to attenuate the EMI. This enabled the brakes to function properly when drivers applied them.

An F-16 fighter jet crashed in the vicinity of a Voice of America (VOA) radio transmitter because its fly-by-wire flight control system was susceptible to the HIRF transmitted. Since the F-16 is inherently unstable, the pilot must rely on the flight computer to fly the aircraft. Subsequently, many of the F-16’s were modified to prevent this type EMI, caused by inadequate military specifications on that particular electronics system. This F-16 case history was one of the drivers for institution by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the HIRF [High-Intensity Radiated Field] certification program.

Interferences Already Plague the Belgian Spectrum

The interferences caused to GSM-R receivers have been a very strong concern for Railway operators over the last 10 years. Several cases of interference have been reported in, causing non-acceptable operational and even safety issues.

Measurement campaigns performed during 2013-2014 concluded that current GSM-R receivers are affected by intermodulation products generated from wideband
or narrowband signals from mobile network operators, even though both railway and public operators use their assigned radio spectrum in compliance with the relevant
European and national regulations.

For obvious reasons, I will not provide additional details but you can easily imagine what the “bad guys” could do if they understand this issue. And it is not very hard to figure it out.

Of course, the Belgian population is totally unaware of this very grave safety issue because the media never covered this scandal. Surely, you would like to know who is responsible for the erroneous design of the GSM-R filter and/or the inadequate legal text?

And guess what? This issue is just the tip of the iceberg! In Brussels, pilots have complained for years that they have great difficulty to understand the orders given by the airport controllers because the communication is very noisy due to an excessive amount of interferences.

Bruxelles Environnement — the administration responsible for the measurement of RF signals — has not detected a single illegal RF signal over the last ten years. During WWII, radio operators in city such Brussels or Paris knew that they had 40 minutes maximum to transmit a message before a truck of the Gestapo was parked in front of their building.

The airport authorities have simply given up on the hope that this administration would actually do the work.

According to a well-informed source, the airport has acquired a dozen of R&S spectrum analysers equipped with a directional antenna. They will conduct their own search of illegal sources of microwave signals in the area, restricted of course to the frequencies that matter to them…

Brussels is a spooks’ paradise!

RELATED POST: City of Spies — Hellish Week for Belgian Spooks

RELATED POST: Belgium Top Spook : “Not my Job to Monitor Foreign Spies!”

5G networks could interfere with weather forecasts

In the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration remains at an impasse with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over how to protect weather satellite observations from interference by 5G telecommunications equipment.

At a hearing by the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment on 16 May, acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs warned that US weather forecasting capabilities could be severely degraded if the FCC proceeds with its plans for green-lighting transmissions within a 24 GHz spectrum band that it recently auctioned to telecommunications companies. He said NOAA and NASA have concluded that the out-of-band emissions limits set by the FCC are insufficient to prevent interference with weather satellites’ ability to detect water vapor. He reported that the FCC has taken issue with the input parameters NOAA and NASA used when modeling the interference effects.

Meanwhile, the FCC is facing pressure from Congress to address the concerns raised by NOAA, NASA, and other parts of the scientific community. Leaders of several committees have urged the FCC to reconsider its approach to opening up the 24 GHz band, which includes frequencies as low as 24.25 GHz. Weather satellites detect 23.8 GHz emissions from water vapor in the atmosphere. [Physics Today]

UPDATE (August 3 2019) — Member countries will discuss and vote on how to regulate the 5G signal in the 24 GHz band at the United Nations International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) conference in October 2019.

“The precipitating issue here is the potential for what’s called out-of-band interference,” says Jordan Gerth of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Water-vapor molecules emit electromagnetic radiation at 23.8 GHz, and instruments such as the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder aboard NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System infer atmospheric air-temperature and moisture data from the 23.6–24.0 GHz emission band.

The measurements are used to calibrate numerical weather-prediction models, such as NOAA’s Global Forecast System.

Radio signals transmit at their highest power at a central frequency, and the signal progressively loses power at more distant frequencies.

A 5G signal, therefore, could leak across the 250 MHz gap between the water-vapor emission band and the 24 GHz 5G band, which could make it nearly impossible for microwave instruments to differentiate between water vapor and emissions from multitudes of 5G smartphones. Microwave instruments have no other frequencies they can use to sense water vapor.

Filtering for noise from a 5G network would be difficult, especially for broadband transmitters, says Joel Johnson of the Ohio State University.

“If there’s thousands of these little transmitters all over the place, then it’s very hard to correct for them.”

Documents provided by two other passive microwave experts—who, like many sources for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity—indicate that 16 operational weather satellites worldwide use passive microwave sounders or imagers to gather water-vapor data.

Another 18 future satellites worldwide scheduled for deployment from 2021 through 2036 could be affected by 24 GHz 5G interference. [Physics Today]

The successful hurricane Sandy forecast (white) is compared with one (green) that removed the contribution of water-vapor data from the model of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK. Rather than predicting the hit along the New Jersey and New York coasts, the forecast without water-vapor data put landfall in Maine.



Belgium opens consultation on use of 26GHz band for 5G —

GSM-R and Interferences: Managing the co-existence — EU Agency for Railways

Interferences into GSM-R due to public mobile radio networks — EUROPA


5G Belgium — Chaos Across the Spectrum

5G Belgium — Chaos Across the Spectrum [UPDATE — International Conference to Vote on 5G Signal Regulation in the 24 GHz Band]

5G Belgium — Chaos Across the Spectrum [UPDATE — French Regulator : “5G can interfere with aircraft critical instruments.”]

5G Belgium — Chaos Across the Spectrum [UPDATE — Top US phone firms agree delay and no deployment around airports]

5G Belgium — Chaos Across the Spectrum [UPDATE — U.S. Airlines Warn of Chaos if 5G Is Deployed]

Three Years Ago — 5G Belgium : Chaos Across the Spectrum [UPDATE — Physics Today Infographic : 5G Pinch Points]

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1 Response to Three Years Ago — 5G Belgium : Chaos Across the Spectrum [UPDATE — Physics Today Infographic : 5G Pinch Points]

  1. Some wireless technologies appear to be very much expensive.


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