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U.S. FAA issues impact notices on 5G wireless aviation

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FILE PHOTO: A commercial aircraft approaches to land at San Diego International Airport as U.S. telecom companies, airlines and the FAA continue to discuss the potential impact of 5G wireless services on aircraft electronics in San Diego, California, U.S., January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began publishing notices early on Thursday that detailed the extent of potential impact of new 5G wireless service on sensitive aircraft electronics.

The FAA has been in talks with airplane makers, airlines and wireless carriers to reduce the impact of new wireless service set to begin on Jan. 19.

The FAA has warned that potential interference could affect sensitive airplane instruments like altimeters but on Wednesday reported progress.

AT&T and Verizon Communications, which won nearly all of the C-Band spectrum in an $80-billion auction last year, on Jan. 3 agreed to buffer zones around 50 airports to reduce the risk of interference. They also agreed to delaydeployment for two weeks, averting an aviation safety standoff.

The FAA began publishing what are known as ‘Notices to Air Missions’ at midnight Thursday local time offering details on “aircraft with untested altimeters or that need retrofitting or replacement will be unable to perform low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed.”

More than 300 notices had been posted by 01:00 ET, including many around major airports and hospitals where medical helicopters are used. The FAA did not respond to a question about how many in total were to be published.

Many of the notices https://notams.aim.faa.gov/notamSearch/nsapp.html#/details say certain procedures are unavailable unless the FAA approves alternative methods of compliance “due to 5G C-Band interference.”

The wireless industry provided additional transmitter location data and the FAA said it was able to determine that in the initial 5G deployment, aircraft will be able to safely land in low-visibility conditions on some runways without restrictions.

Some notices include details of how instrument approaches at major airports are impacted. The FAA has determined that some GPS-guided approaches will continue to be possible at certain airports like Miami and Phoenix.

The FAA said Wednesday that it “expects to provide updates soon about the estimated percentage of commercial aircraft equipped with altimeters that can operate reliably and accurately in the 5G C-Band environment.”

The FAA is still “working to determine which radar altimeters will be reliable and accurate with 5G C-Band deployed in the United States.”

On Friday, the FAA picked 50 U.S. airports that will have buffer zones when wireless carriers turn on new 5G C-band service.

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U.S. FAA approves 90% of planes for low-visibility landings near 5G airports

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday issued approvals for additional altimeters that allow about 90% of the U.S. commercial aviation fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports where 5G wireless is deployed.

The FAA said it had cleared seven additional altimeters, bringing the total approved to 20. As of last week, it had cleared about 78% of commercial planes.

AT&T and Verizon Communications agreed on Jan. 18 to delay switching on new telecom towers near key airports even as they turned on the new 5G C-Band service.

Radio altimeters are used to give data on height above ground for bad-weather landings and the 5G technology could cause interference.

The issue is disrupting some landing in poor weather at smaller airports. Alaska Air said Monday the “rollout of this new 5G band is still creating disruptions for regional air travel.”

Verizon agreed to temporarily not turn on about 500 towers near airports, sources told Reuters, or less than 10% of their planned deployment, while the carriers and the administration work on a permanent solution.

Some U.S. airlines are concerned about Verizon’s plans to turn on additional towers around Feb. 1 and want to know if those new towers could impact any current operations. Verizon did not immediately comment.

Separately, the FAA on Tuesday published an airworthiness directive on the Boeing 777 and 747-8 airplanes that interference may affect multiple airplane systems using radio altimeter data. The directive does not prevent any operations at nearly all large U.S. airports. The FAA has approved alternative means of compliance for the airplanes.

Airplane models with cleared altimeters include all Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 MD-10/-11; Airbus A300, A310, A319, A220, A320, A321, A330, A340, A350, A380; Embraer 120, 170, and 190 regional jets; All CL-600/CRJ regional jets; DHC-8 and ATR turboprops.

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Telstra deploys Ericsson Private 5G for AgriFood Connect

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Telstra and Ericsson announced their first deployment of Ericsson Private 5G, an on-premises devoted 5G network for an enterprise that uses a single-server 5G dual-mode core.   

The Australian not-for-profit organization, Telstra Enterprise customer AgriFood Connect, will receive this technology.  

Ericsson said in a press release that “within this product, Telstra and AgriFood Connect have successfully deployed industrial IoT capabilities over 5G standalone that can support a variety of business requirements such as asset condition monitoring and the collection of data from machinery. These sorts of capabilities will enable features such as predictive maintenance alerts that will drive cost savings against unplanned downtime and repairs.”  

Telstra Network and Infrastructure executive Iskra Nikolova noted that “the combination of a dedicated network in partnership with Telstra’s existing Network capabilities can facilitate the implementation of a whole variety of new and emerging technologies.”  

“Challenging locations in regional Australia, where there is comparatively limited backhaul capacity, will greatly benefit from this technology. For example, a remote farming or a manufacturing business could embrace the latest advancements in video analytics and IoT connectivity, almost regardless of their location, with the data processed on-site,” he added.  

In addition, the private 5G product allowed AgriFood Connect to make use of industrial IoT capabilities over 5G Standalone, such as asset condition monitoring and the collection of data from machinery.  

“This world’s first deployment in partnership with Telstra represents an important step towards automation and control through intelligent 5G connectivity,” said Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson, Australia, and New Zealand.  

“The Ericsson Private 5G platform will enable emerging industrial use cases across multiple verticals such as Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), AI, Automation, drone technology, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, and many more innovative 5G use cases made available through Ericsson’s robust Industry 4.0 partner ecosystem.”  

Therefore, the 5G SA capability offered by Ericsson Private 5G product, tied with Telstra’s advanced network capabilities, delivers an industrial wireless connectivity platform for the enterprise that can provide low latency, enhanced resiliency, and the capacity to meet even the most demanding business operation requirements.  

It is worth mentioning that Telstra and Ericsson recently declared a new 5G upload speed milestone, achieving an upload peak rate of 986 Mbps in a live 5G demo at the carrier’s 5G Innovation Centre in Queensland, Australia.  

The presentation also used Ericsson’s New Radio-Dual Connectivity (NR-DC) and carrier aggregation software features together and a smartphone form-factor test device powered by Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System. 

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Ericsson profit beats as more countries roll out 5G

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Sweden’s Ericsson on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter core earnings above market estimates, helped by higher sales of telecom gear as more countries roll out 5G networks offsetting a loss of market share in mainland China.

The company’s quarterly adjusted operating earnings rose to 11.9 billion Swedish crowns ($1.28 billion) from 11 billion a year ago, beating the mean forecast of 10.30 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Total revenue rose 2% to 71.3 billion crowns, beating estimates of 68.33 billion crowns. Sales in mainland China declined by 1.8 billion crowns, meaning that excluding mainland China organic sales growth was 5%.

A resurgent Nokia increasing competition in several markets and the loss of telecom contracts in China following a ban of Huawei by the Swedish government had been dragging down Ericsson’s revenue.

The proportion of revenue Ericsson earns from China has dropped to around 3%, the company has previously said, from 10-11% before the domestic Swedish ban on Huawei.

Sales at Ericsson’s networks unit grew by 3% and gross margin rose to 46.4% from 43.5%.

In an effort to broaden its 5G portfolio Ericsson has spent more than $7 billion to buy two companies – cloud communications firm Vonage and wireless network gear maker Cradlepoint.

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