5G mobile networks could interfere with signals from weather satellites in the neighbouring frequency band leading to forecasting errors, study warns
- US researchers modelled the impact that ‘5G leakage’ would have on forecasting
- They used a tornado outbreak from February 2008 as a case study for modelling
- Interference would have thrown off precipitation forecasts by 0.9 millimetres
- Similarly, temperature predictions would have been out by 2.34°F, the team said
Signals from weather satellites could suffer from interference — leading to forecasting errors — thanks to how 5G mobile networks use similar frequencies.
This is the warning of researchers from the US, who modelled the impact of so-called ‘5G leakage’ on forecasting of past weather events.
They found that interference from the high-speed mobile networks could alter forecasts of precipitation by up to 0.9 millimetres and temperature by 2.34°F.
Signals from weather satellites could suffer from interference — leading to forecasting errors — thanks to how 5G mobile networks use similar frequencies (stock image)
‘Our study — the first of its kind that quantifies the effect of 5G on weather prediction error — suggests that there is an impact on the accuracy of weather forecasts,’ said paper author Narayan Mandayam of Rutgers University.
In their study, Professor Mandayam and colleagues modelled the impact of so-called 5G ‘leakage’ — a phenomenon in which emissions from a transmitter would accidentally encroach on neighbouring frequency bands used for other purposes.
They simulated the effects of this leakage on the forecasting of the ‘2008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreak’, in which 87 whirlwinds were generated over a 15-hour period, with many hitting populated areas in Jackson, Memphis and Nashville.
The researchers found that the signals from the 5G frequency range have the potential to bleed out into the neighbouring bands used by the sensors on weather satellites to measure the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere.
This data is used by meteorologists to make weather forecasts — and so the leakage has the potential to upset their predictions.
In fact, the team found that leakage from 5G networks in the order of 15–20 decibel Watts — a measure of the power of the radio waves — could have altered the precipitation forecast during the 2008 tornado outbreak by up to 0.9 millimetres.
In a similar fashion, temperature predictions for the ground level could have been thrown off by up to 2.34°F (1.3°C), the researchers have suggested.
‘Our study — the first of its kind that quantifies the effect of 5G on weather prediction error — suggests that there is an impact on the accuracy of weather forecasts,’ said paper author Narayan Mandayam of Rutgers University
In their study, Professor Mandayam and colleagues modelled the impact of so-called 5G ‘leakage’ — a phenomenon in which emissions from a transmitter, pictured, would accidentally encroach on neighbouring frequency bands used for other purposes (stock image)
‘It can be argued that the magnitude of error found in our study is insignificant or significant, depending on whether you represent the 5G community or the meteorological community, respectively,’ Professor Mandayam said.
‘If we want leakage to be at levels preferred by the 5G community, we need to work on more detailed models as well as antenna technology, dynamic reallocation of spectrum resources and improved weather forecasting algorithms.’
The full findings of the study were presented during the 2020 IEEE 5G World Forum.
EXPLAINED: THE EVOLUTION OF MOBILE BROADBAND UP TO 5G
The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.
Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched.
Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively.
More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.
5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G.
Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time.
That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.
Potential uses for 5g include:
- Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call
- Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
- A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds.
5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.
By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.
The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future