back to article UK comms watchdog mulls 5G tweaks: Operators want moooooar power

Ofcom is amenable to technical tweaks that mobile operators have requested to 5G rules, launching a consultation yesterday. The Big Four – Telefónica UK, Vodafone, BT's EE and Hutchison's Three – as well as fifth 5G licensee UK Broadband want to increase the power limits permitted in the 3.4Ghz, 3.5Ghz and 3.6Ghz spectrum …

  1. Nick Kew Bronze badge
    Coat

    Damn!

    Only mugs will be using 5G hardware

    That's no use.

    I need my mug to talk to the kettle!

  2. Flak
    Joke

    We will all be glowing in the dark

    and not need to wear jackets anymore...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We will all be glowing in the dark

      Or just wondering why our cups of tea never go cold - anymore.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      "and not need to wear jackets anymore..."

      Depends. I'm going to sell 5G radiation protection jackets and hats, whatever the risk actually is....

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: "and not need to wear jackets anymore..."

        Give them resonant antennas tuned to common 5G frequencies, zero-bias schottky diodes, capacitors, and power inverters to charge 4G phones.

        I doubt it could charge a phone with even a 1% duty cycle but there's a marketable smugness and geek factor.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    To get IT for Real Run Novel Future AI Software Simply Following Fab AIDirections

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    :-) As I'm sure you'd agree, that must be terrifyingly overwhelming for more than just a few, but then that is the cost and price of Failure to Create Progress into New Futures.

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    1. Martin Summers

      Re: To get IT for Real Run Novel Future AI Software Simply Following Fab AIDirections

      This is just basically spam now. AI or not (and AI it really isn't anymore). Nowhere else would tolerate it so why here?

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: To get IT for Real Run Novel Future AI Software Simply Following Fab AIDirections

        This is just basically spam now. AI or not (and AI it really isn't anymore). Nowhere else would tolerate it so why here? .... Martin Summers

        Because here is like nowhere else, MS. And I can easily imagine that being right problematical for the likes of many more than just you ....but there's no need to throw your toys out of the pram.

        But that's progress, albeit not in way you haven't been thinking about and expecting to either lead in or be led into.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To get IT for Real Run Novel Future AI Software Simply Following Fab AIDirections

      Riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay...

    3. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: To get IT for Real Run Novel Future AI Software Simply Following Fab AIDirections

      What is that post blathering on about? Does it have a purpose?

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: To get IT for Real Run Novel Future AI Software Simply Following Fab AIDirections

        Guess you are new here? Incomprehensible aManfromMars posts pop up now and then at ElReg, their origin a mystery.

        1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

          Re: To get IT for Real Run Novel Future AI Software Simply Following Fab AIDirections

          I've been on here years. I must have just missed the weirdo in question

    4. Cliff Thorburn

      The futures ***te ...

      And would this new fangled 5G technology allow for enhanced Easter rampant chasing the rabbit further into blunder-land through stealthy stalking tactics in Live Operational Virtual Environments one wonders amFM?, or are such pioneering technologies already being implemented in practical plain sight?

      One wonders with all the Brexit Sh enanigans occult occurings happening whether it will be Halloween 2,3, or V, or perhaps 33 of the never ending compendium in catastrophic compilated competition.

      As Mark Carney from the Bank of England states “We are pretty much prepared for Brexit, with just some plumbing issues to sort out”

      I presume not the sort of plumbing issues that Mar io or L uigi would be hop skipping and jumping through platforms ap lenty to resolve?, and save the imperilled princess from peril?

      H appy Ea st er to all El Reg ers and yourself amFM, one will continue the quest for EEaster Eggs interwoven in the fabric of Quantum Conundrums and Programmed journeys as always :-)

  5. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Now We Will Need Tin Hats

    With RF power sources as high as proposed, even if located under manhole covers, we will need RF protection, particularly around the cranium.

    All so people can make telephone calls.

    But, at least we will have something to cook over-sized turkeys over. Nuts.

    1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

      Well you could always use the tinfoil to make yourself a snazzy hat

    2. cyberdemon
      Devil

      Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

      I must say it is slightly worrying. Would it be possible for the beam-forming technology to be used to form a very-high-powered narrow beam?

      Could a miscreant or some future totalitarian state decide to boil someone's brain as they walked past the antenna, by directing a death-ray at their head?

      Maybe that's OK, if the person's crime-coefficient is deemed to be high..

      1. cyberdemon
        Devil

        Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

        So to reply to my own post, 28dBm (which is what they are asking for) is apparently about 600mW radiated power. That's not much use as a death ray, much less to cook the christmas turkey..

        However, I'm not sure what that really means in terms of an array of antennas. Is it 600mW per antenna (in which case, it goes back to death ray territory)? 600mW per beam, or does dBm not translate to radiated power anymore (because it's not uniformly radiated)

        In any case, I wonder how many beams it can support, what radiated power each beam can have, and if they can all be focused on the same place?

        1. Pete4000uk

          Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

          On the face of it, 600mW is sod all. But what's the effective radiated power?

        2. Trevor Gale

          Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

          There's no tin hats required. In any case, the increase being proposed is from 25dBm to 28dBm, which is merely from 316mW to 630mW. It's not clear here whether the power being discussed is the transmitter power o/p, the 'radiated power' (power delivered to the antenna feedpoint), or the E.R.P. (Effective Radiated Power) which includes antenna gain. An antenna is a 'passive' device, it doesn't actually perform any electrical amplification: however it can concentrate its beam in one direction rather than another, therefore effectively increasing the signal in that direction over the other - that's what's called the 'gain' over a theroretical isotropic radiator which radiates in all directions equally. You'll not expect a users' unit to have an antenna with more than, say, 3dB gain especially when polarisation and blocking are taken into account. Please compare this 600mW (or even 1.2W) to the 800W at 2.5 GHz that's needed to cook last night's chinese take-away left-overs!

          1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

            Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

            Oh, I didn't know you could warm up last night's chinese take-away left-overs! Who else knew?

          2. Glen Turner 666

            Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

            Are you sure? The document talks of the "terminal power limit" going to 28dBm. "Terminal" being handset.

            I read the proposal as widening the spectrum allocation to match that of EU so that the beamforming (ie, active) antennas designed for EU use can be used in the UK.

            Table 2 in the proposal gives the base station powers: +65dBm/5Mhz (3150W) EIRP for passive antennas, +44dBm/5MHz (25W) TRP for active antennas (in an active system think of TRP as if each client has their own 25W transmitter on the base station). Note that these aggregate to considerable powers for base stations covering entire 20-80MHz allocations, you could expect the aggregated amplifier output for a basestation high above terrain (ie, no limits to output power, all quadrants active, entire band lit, lots of users) to exceed 10KW.

            In any case, the inverse square law means that basestation powers don't matter.

            The increase in terminal power is more of a worry but there we've got to go with the longitudinal medical research which doesn't show any effects from extended handset talk use. Fortunately the amount of time smartphone handsets are held to the head is decreasing, so average risk is falling in any case.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

              I read the proposal as widening the spectrum allocation to match that of EU so that the beamforming (ie, active) antennas designed for EU use can be used in the UK.

              As it is the UK operators and not the global 5G component/equipment designers who it seems are pushing for this ie. why are only the UK operators making the claim "5G's directional antennas (Active Antennae Base Stations, or AAS) – which use beam-forming technology – would benefit from tweaks to the technical conditions that are part of the licence.", I was wondering if this was a UK special 5G variation, namely, incompatible with existing 5G kit and hence rest of the world 5G kit...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Now We Will Need Tin Hats

                Isn't it the other way around - the uk's ofcom license conditions are different? For eg you could argue that lower base station powers would require *higher* terminal/end user tx power.

                In any case, the max output power would be configurable for any 5g kit.

                This isn't about kit, but topology planning and deployment. Alignment with the EU would also give cost advantages through scale in planning/network design and reuse of learning from field performance and issues, as well as quicker turnaround of radio optimisation fw updates on the phone side.

  6. HKmk23

    I keep my mobile

    In a faraday cage in my car - only for use in case of a breakdown. That is all they are fit for!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I keep my mobile

      "In a faraday cage in my car - only for use in case of a breakdown. That is all they are fit for!"

      If everyone did that, there'd be so little mobile revenue that there'd be no network to use your emergency phone on.

    2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: I keep my mobile

      Your ancestors probably didn't want to start using the new iron axes because the stone ones still worked. Actually, they probably didn't. Ancestors who behaved like that didn't end up having many descendants, at least in the long run.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I keep my mobile

      I remember someone telling me how they had an "emergency" but couldn't use their "emergency" PAYG phone because they'd never bothered to work out how to use it... end result, it was no use in their "emergency".

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: I keep my mobile

        but couldn't use their "emergency" PAYG phone because they'd never bothered to work out how to use it...

        Years back I frequently came across the situation of people having an emergency phone kept in the car glove box, whilst they most probably had forgotten how to use it, the most common problems were:

        1. battery flat as not been used and so discharged over time.

        2. SIM had fallen off the network due to phone not being used for 6+ months.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: I keep my mobile

          Which is why my glovebox-phone is:

          - Tiny (about an inch long, but fully functional, multi-SIM, bluetooth, etc.)

          - Literally just a keypad, it doesn't need anything more but it can store contacts etc. if you wish (but it's next to the bit of card with the breakdown etc. numbers on it).

          - Charges from a standard USB cable but also has an internal battery you can change.

          - Even without a SIM, you can call 999 from it.

          - On a SIM card that doesn't expire (so long as you pay the £4.99 a year explicit renewal that they email you specifically about, it's yours - you just pay slightly more for calls on a PAYG basis).

          Should be a standard piece of kit for most people, even if just to call 999 (e.g. you're in an accident). As it stands, my car automatically picks up programmed Bluetooth phones and uses them if the airbag ever deploys to report my GPS location automatically to 999 / 112 / 911.

          A phone like that should be part of any emergency kit. Hell, if you're hillwalking you should have that at minimum, let alone if you're driving along dark country roads at night and hit a flock of stray sheep (nearly happened to me).

  7. David Shaw
    Boffin

    no 5G in Russia soon

    as Russian TV is complaining that all the 5G frequency bands are owned by the russian military.... probably applies to a few other countries too.

    ... in parallel there's quite a bit of fake news manipulation going-on in many & varied uk & us fora about how 5G will affect the human body, at a cellular level, calcium ion made up guff, (no cited research but much shouty "panic!") is there any reason why a particular (state or business actor) group is trying to sow anti-5G hysteria?

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: no 5G in Russia soon

      Mischief and paranoia distract from real events.

    2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: no 5G in Russia soon

      There's a LOT of misinformation I've seen on the internet about 5G. Some sites claim that 5G will be broadcast from thousands of 5G satellites that will 'literally' cook our brains!

      It's VDU anti-radiation screens all over again!

    3. JimC

      Re: a particular (state or business actor) group is trying to sow anti-5G

      No state or corporate group needed. Activists need something to campaign against to make their lives worthwhile. Isn't one of the lessons of the internet that there is no cause, no matter how daft, that you can't find someone to espouse?

      Of course that doesn't necessarily mean there are no malign state or corporate groups. Useful idiots are always welcome, and provided you can keep them pointed in the right direction, so much more powerful than paid shills because they have all that enthusiasm which is so hard to simulate...

    4. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: no 5G in Russia soon

      > is there any reason why a particular (state or business actor) group is trying to sow anti-5G hysteria?

      Every nG (for n=1 to 4) has also suffered from it... It is a new thing, must be dangerous, can you prove it does not cause cancer?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no 5G in Russia soon

        Our local health food shop displays posters warning us about the awful risks from mobile phones.

        I've decided not to tell the owner how his wireless payment terminal works.

  8. David Pearce

    Is this the base station or the phone? 25dBm is 300mW, 28dBm about 600mW

    These are typical mobile power levels.

  9. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Weather forecasting

    Perhaps a more plausible potential issue with 5G in the US is its possible impact on weather forecasting, as it introduces noise which interferes with satellite measurements of atmospheric water vapor. But according to the article, it looks like the UK is using different bands that wouldn't have this problem. (I admit I've paid minimal attention to the development off 5G, which I need about as much as chrome-plated underpants, so if I've gotten something dreadfully wrong about this I wouldn't be surprised.)

  10. xpz393

    Behold the beamforming arse!

    ...because I refuse to believe I'm the only Reg reader who reads the AAS acronym this way :-D

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