Have you heard of 5G? Surely, since we have been telling for a few years why it is the technology of the future and how it can help many sectors thanks to the latency and high speed of the network. However, it does not finish arriving, and the truth is that meteorologists do not expect 5G with great desire.
The 5G, although it does not finish arriving, it is the future due to the advantages that it carries. Not only is it a network that allows a faster connection to the Internet, but also the latency is drastically reduced. All this with the node near the connection point, of course.
Another advantage is that it has several frequencies, one of them being very far-reaching and potentially solving some of the problems in rural areas that 4G does not reach (and sometimes not even 3G).
Now, you may be wondering what 5G has to do with meteorologists. The truth is that much. And well, with all of us really, since 5G will affect the weather forecast.
The reason is that the deployed 5G devices operate in the 24 GHz band, a band very close to the 23.6 / 24 GHz band that uses some meteorological measurement equipment that is continuously sending and receiving data.
This equipment cannot change frequency since it is the right and necessary one to be able to appreciate the water vapor in the atmosphere. This, of course, is a problem, because if the equipment to provide 5G power begins to interfere with atmospheric measurement equipment, we will have less accurate weather forecasts.
Yes, many may already be thinking “ total, never get right ”, but the truth is that yes, the measurements are accurate and there are industries that depend on them, from the agricultural to the very high competition, such as Formula 1, without going further.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, the US Navy and NASA itself have already warned that it is a mistake for 5G equipment to operate in the 24 GHz network and that they will interfere with satellites in the polar orbit.
Specifically, NOAA warned of a loss of 77.4% of the data coming from satellites in the polar orbit. If the frequency is changed so that 5G does not interfere, another problem will be created. And, billions of dollars have been invested in the creation of the 5G infrastructure, and changing this would happen by relocating antennas. More outlay and a delay in technology.
How will this be fixed? It seems that the United States, as usual, will have the last word on the matter. At a meeting between different organizations, countries, and regulators, the United States requested an interference limit of up to -20 decibels watts, which is not too generous. The United Nations, through the World Meteorological Organization and European regulators, set limits up to -55 decibels watts.
It seems that a model will be deployed that will allow, in time, not to cause too much interference with meteorological satellites. The lower the inference threshold, the better so that the forecasts are not “ damaged ”, and thus a midpoint will be found between the two proposals.
As we see in Science Alert, it seems that the first stage of the plan will enter into force until September 1, 2027, with a limit of -33 decibels watts, with a second stage after this that will expand the margin to -39 decibels watts.
That is, the idea is to continue helping the deployment of 5G and reduce, as far as possible, the damage to the meteorological stations. Of course, researchers believe that, yes or yes, the measurements will be altered by the networks of the future.