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Concern over Out-of-band Emissions Limits for 5G

In a recent letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, chairwoman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Eddie Bernice Johnson expressed concern over the FCC’s proposal for an emissions limit of -20 dBW for the 24 GHz band, citing studies from NASA and NOAA that conclude that at an out-of-band emissions limit of -20 dBW, activity in the 24 GHz band would interfere with weather data. The studies claim that, instead, the emissions limit for 24 GHz should be -52.4 dBW.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology that at a limit of -20 dBW, they would lose a large volume of data. In response to this, Eddie Bernice Johnson requested the FCC provide an analysis on the NOAA and NASA studies and other analyses on out-of-band emissions limits, due back by October 7, 2019.

While the FCC insists that an emissions limit of -20dBW will not pose any threat to weather data, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t taking concerns over 5G and other advanced wireless communications and networks seriously. On September 16, 2019, the FCC announced the establishment of its first two innovation zones, or testbeds, for advanced wireless communications and network research—in New York City and Salt Lake City.

According to the FCC, projects held in these zones will test emerging technologies and prototype networks, such as 5G networks. The innovation zones were initially proposed by the National Science Foundation’s Platform for Advanced Wireless Research with the hope that they would “enable experimental exploration of robust new wireless devices, communication techniques, networks, systems, and services that will revolutionize the nation’s wireless ecosystem.”

Those who wish to test in one of the innovation zones must first meet the Program License eligibility requirements and hold an existing Program License. Guidelines for each particular zone, which include geographic information and technical parameters—such as frequency bands and power limits—can be found on the OET’s Experiments System webpage.

New York City’s innovation zone will support Cloud Enhanced Open Software Defined Mobile Wireless Testbed for City-scale Deployment (COSMOS) and be run by Rutgers University, Columbia University, and New York University. Salt Lake City’s innovation zone will support A Platform for Open Wireless Data-driven Experimental Research with Massive MIMO Capabilities (POWDER) and be run by the University of Utah and Rice University.

Both innovation zones will be open for five years, a period that could be extended or renewed upon request. For further information and to read the comprehensive public notice issued by the FCC, see here. These testbeds could provide licensees the means to more thoroughly test 5G networks, which have conjured mixed feelings not only from NOAA and NASA, but from the public as well. Accusations that 5G will pose negative effects on both people and surrounding technology are not new; 5G, however, is a revolutionary network that, if thoroughly tested, could usher in huge advantages for society.

For instance, engineering and construction companies are currently working to build 5G networks at construction sites for new automated construction technology, which would make construction projects safer and more efficient. In the medical field, the initiation of smart hospitals could be achieved with the help of 5G technology’s low latency, allowing robotic machines to operate on patients.

While the FCC insists that 5G is entirely safe to the public and will not interfere with other technology, further testing is required to ensure that this revolutionary network grows. With 5G, smart cities and hospitals will emerge. With current 4G networks, whose latency is high, our technology cannot advance without certain risks. To ensure technology is accurate, efficient, and safe, we must implement 5G networks—and this begins with further wireless communication testing. At Rhein Tech Laboratories, Inc., we perform wireless device testing for RF transmitters for FCC, CE R&TTE Mark, Industry Canada, NATA-Australia, and other certification marks. Contact us today for a quote. Sources:,

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