The Satcoms Innovation Group (SIG) has concluded that the risk of interference to satellite systems from 5G is, although real, controlled and being effectively resolved on a case-by-case basis by satellite operators and affected clients. This conclusion was reached following a review of the findings of the SIG 5G working group, which commenced in November 2021, to gather and analyze a broad range of data.
The results of the analysis so far show that there are no direct reports of incidents regarding 5G C-Band interference. While there is reference to problems between 5G and C-Band, that is being handled by both satellite operators and their clients directly. The analysis also indicated a global trend for auctioning off C-Band frequencies.
Martin Coleman, Board Member, the Satcoms Innovation Group has been leading the working group and commented: “European and Global satellite operators in general now accept that C-Band frequencies below 3.8 GHz are the domain of the mobile industry and work closely with the relatively few clients affected to resolve any local difficulties between 5G and a client’s satellite ground infrastructure. An exception to this is within the USA where satellite operators accept C-Band frequencies below 4 GHz are for mobile services.”
A likely modification to the current division of C-Band will be the addition of a 40 MHz guard band, thereby changing the usable limits for satellite services to 3.84 GHz and 4.04 GHz, respectively. This would ensure better service results for those clients having to modify their ground systems.
The Satcoms Innovation Group added that the data collected raises the need for further investigation into RFI and spectrum issues from mobile and wireless operators, around the use of Ka-Band (26 GHz) and Q-Band (40 GHz).
Helen Weedon, Managing Director, SIG, commented: “These results are relatively good news for the satellite industry, however, there is a need for ongoing monitoring of any potential reports of 5G interference. In addition, further analysis around the use of Ka-Band and Q-Band frequencies is also required.”
The Satcoms Innovation Group promotes innovation within the satellite communications industry, with the aim of improving operational efficiency and reducing impact. As a group made up of technical experts that understand the challenges in operational environments, it is uniquely positioned to drive technical evolution within the industry.
The Satcoms Innovation Group has developed guidance to help those affected by any issues within affected areas of C-Band.
The challenges around 5G will be one of the topics discussed at the SIG Workshop from 16th – 17th of March 2023 at Intelsat in Washington D.C.
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