Among the security instructions that are routinely announced minutes before the takeoff of an airplane, passengers are asked to leave electronic devices in airplane mode.
In simple words, this request is issued to prevent electromagnetic interference with aircraft radio systems. And although over time the devices have begun to develop taking certain care in this regard, there are reasons that keep this protection in force.
If technology has advanced, why is it still necessary to put electronic devices in “airplane mode” on a flight?
Jo Adetunji, editor of The Conversation UK, answered to this question. There he explains that personal electronic devices can emit a signal within the same frequency band as the aircraft’s communications and navigation systems, generating electromagnetic interference that compromises the stability and safety of the trip.
Over the years, initiatives have emerged from telecommunications institutions to reserve frequency bandwidth reserved for various specific uses. Thanks to these regulations, the aircraft’s communications and navigation system fluctuates in a different way than other devices, such as mobile phones. This allowed, in 2014 in the case of the EU, to relax the old restrictions, allowing the use of these devices on board, except during the critical phases of a flight, which are takeoff and landing.
5G networks and the use of mobile phones on board airplane flights
5G connectivity has gained fame thanks to the higher speed and data transfer capabilities they offer. One aspect that worries the aeronautical sector is the potential reach that mobile networks would have on aircraft in flight.
Adetunji also explains that wireless networks are connected through a series of towers, which could be overloaded if passengers manage to access them. Considering that the 5G bandwidth is very close to the spectrum reserved for aeronautical communications and navigation, the potential for network saturation is very high.
Some airlines have implemented Wi-Fi systems on board, keeping a fraction of the network reserved for stable use in core aircraft communications. However, if cellular networks are used freely, in case of having the necessary coverage, the aforementioned network saturation could be generated if many passengers are dedicated to answering telephone calls or consuming a high volume of Internet data.
This potential situation can be measured through a similar phenomenon that occurs in other instances on the surface, such as a festival or a full stadium, which are spaces in which the density of traffic generates such saturation in the networks, making access difficult. to the same
When it comes to security measures, it always pays to follow them. In the case of a plane flight, it is not just about personal care, but about a collective responsibility.
Given the shared background, it is clear that the request to activate “airplane mode” on a flight is not a capricious requirement, but rather an important safety indication.