back to article America's latest 5G drama: Spectrum row bursts into the open with special adviser fingered as agent provocateur

A growing inter-agency row over America's use of particular radio frequency bands for 5G phones has burst into the open – with a senior US Department of Commerce adviser fingered as the main source of problems. In a letter [PDF] to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this week, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) broke an unwritten …

  1. MiguelC Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Praised by Ajit Pai

    I'd guess that should be enough for any sane person to question the praisee's real motivation (in this case or anu other)

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    I really can't follow this soap opera

    The dude is being paid by small telcos to block 5G because they can't compete with established big telcos when building out the system

    I can't work out from the story if he is in favor or against the question.

    As a good republican he must be against the intrusive communist census

    But as a good Trumpian he is presumably in favor of having all the foreigners on a list (and preferably wearing some sort of badge on their clothing.)

    Or will it all be a dream in the shower ?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I really can't follow this soap opera

      Plot twist!

      The shower turned out to be a gas chamber...

  3. Mage Silver badge

    It stupidity anyway

    The 24 GHz is only good for point to point links, sports stadiums, auditoriums and open plan offices. I can't decide which is more stupid, the auctioning of it or telcos bidding.

    Small operators that couldn't afford it have little to fear.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: It stupidity anyway

      The 24 GHz is only good for point to point links, sports stadiums, auditoriums and open plan offices.

      My thoughts entirely. Even on point to point links precipitation attenuation can be rather severe so the link budget has to include a (potentially very) large fade margin; with fixed links a lot of that margin can be obtained by using large parabolic aerials with high gain, but those are not really practical for portable use*.

      It also occurs to me that making a handset with enough transmitter power at 24 GHz is going to be a significant challenge; I would expect it to guzzle battery power at a frightening rate.

      * This is called understatement.

      1. cmaurand

        Re: It stupidity anyway

        I agree as well. When I first underwent certification training for line of equipment, I was given the rule of thumb; the higher the frequency, the more it acts like light. at the time we were talking 2.4 and 5.8 and that 5.8 would give near line of site, because it would reflect off of things while 2.4 was a lower frequency and it needed line of site. Also part of that rule of thumb is that the signals wouldn't penetrate solid water. A rainstorm is solid water as is a tree. 24 GHz would be good for setting up short hop meshes which, I think, is the idea.

      2. ExpatZ

        Re: It stupidity anyway

        And be dangerous to boot, to make it useful as a handset at those frequencies it would have to emit a completely unsafe amount of RF for being so close to a human body.

    2. Trollslayer Silver badge

      Re: It stupidity anyway

      It is mainly meant for use with a one to many feature in 5G so the audience can listen on their phones.

      Goodbye acoustic problems in a 20,000 seat auditorium.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: It stupidity anyway

        So 5G would allow a stereo audio signal to be simultaneously broadcast to 20,000 people who could all listen with some sort of personal wireless device?

        What will they think of next?

        1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

          Re: It stupidity anyway

          Next the public will stay at home, attending the venue virtually and augmented, thru watching some teletransported quantum vibe video on a nice big screen, with dedicated audio transducers pairing up to the screen.

      2. Fred Goldstein

        Re: It stupidity anyway

        Hi-fi audio (venue quality, not highend) requres about 100 kbps. And you're talking about a broadcast, not lots of unicasts. That can be done on low spectrum, narrow channels. It needs 24 GHz the same way you need a fleet of Peterbilt trucks to drive your kid to school in the morning, and school is only 200 meters away.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: It stupidity anyway

        Goodbye acoustic problems in a 20,000 seat auditorium

        So ... you'll go to a live performance, and listen to it on your phone? And watch it on the phone too, I expect.

        Basically like watching and listening from home, except more expensive, less comfortable, and less convenient. Right.

        I suppose there's some use for 5G that isn't mind-bogglingly stupid, but I haven't heard of it yet.

  4. Bryan Hall

    5G Use

    It seems to me the biggest plus of 5G won't be for mobile (at least in the US), but data distribution for the "last mile" to homes in subdivisions that are not economical to install fiber into. Put up a roof antenna for 5G, and you get high speeds without the cost of that low return infrastructure.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: 5G Use

      We don't need 5G for that, though. There are existing wireless last-mile solutions that are equal to or better than what 5G is promising, and don't require the installation of an entirely new national infrastructure.

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: 5G Use

        and don't require the installation of an entirely new thing you can say is essential and charge people even more for using. TFTFY

      2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: 5G Use

        .. and don't fade into mush when it rains.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: 5G Use

          You could put in some sort of plastic pipe (preferably underground) to send the 5G signals down

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: 5G Use

            How do you do that when the ground is already heavily built-over...or rocky (Manhattan happens to have BOTH problems, being built up ON a rocky island)?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: 5G Use

              You pull up all that fibre and copper that is already buried and use the resulting holes

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: 5G Use

                And interrupt existing service, especially around Wall Street who probably pay top dollar for the service? Try again.

  5. JohnFen Silver badge

    Not "our country's goals"

    "It has come to my attention that one of your senior advisers may be placing personal animosity ahead of our country’s 5G goals,"

    It's not "our country's 5G goals", it's the administration and telecom industry's 5G goals.

  6. EveryTime

    Let's remember to separate "5G". This is just one frequently band. New frequency bands have only a little to do with the changes in modulation, protocols and the still-undefined magic upper level that will enable things that somehow are transformative, astonishing and heart-warming.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      That's just defeatist techno-babble from some self serving engineers

      It's trivial to convert your system phone to 5G just by changing one little icon - ask ATT

  7. ma1010
    Paris Hilton

    Really confusing

    This is a truly murky soap opera. On the one hand, if he's in favor of putting a spoke into Big Telecom's wheel, he sounds like an all-right guy. But on the other hand, anyone Pai says good things about is very strongly suspect.

  8. Graham Cobb Silver badge


    The article mixes up two unrelated entities called "Comptel".

    The one the US federal employee covered in the article used to work for was a US competitive carriers lobbying association and a moment's googling allowed me to discover it is now called Incompas.

    The one Nokia acquired was a specialist telecoms software company headquartered in Finland (but operating worldwide). It is now fully part of Nokia.

    Completely unrelated.

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