News Feature

The Week in 5G: 10/7/21 — EMP-Resistant 5G Towers Tested For Military Use, Wireless IR-Based Power Debuted

abby proch headshot

By Abby Proch, former editor


In a proof-of-concept demonstration, PowerLight debuted its wireless power system intended to support wireless 5G equipment. In the demo, a beam-powered system successfully converted electric power into infrared laser light, beamed it 400 feet across a parking lot, received that light at a 22-foot-tall receiver, and converted the light back into electric energy to be used or stored in the unit’s battery pack, according to an MSN news report.

“It’s time to cut the final cord — and that’s the power cord,” said PowerLight CEO Richard Gustafson after the display of wireless power, which is eventually to be paired with Ericsson’s wireless 5G equipment. For safety’s sake, the IR beam is encircled by a protective “safety ring” that, when disrupted, stops the transmission within milliseconds.

In military developments, a Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications infrastructure firm claims it has developed an EMP-resistant 5G gNb tower for military applications. According to National Defense Magazine, Secure EMP Resistant Edge (SEMPRE) says its encrypted 5G towers, which house their own edge computing and do not rely on traditional cloud computing, can operate independently to improve speed and security in the battlefield. The SEMPRE tower is currently undergoing testing to be certified by the military as resistant to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, which are when a nuclear weapon releases EMPs — or a solar flare or other geomagnetic disturbance occurs — and renders traditional towers useless.

In spectrum auction news, the latest U.S. midband auction occurred Oct. 5 with licenses available in the 3.45-3.55 GHz range. More than 30 qualified bidders, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, were slated to participate in Auction 110, which offered up 100 MHz. Analysts expected the auction to collect up to $40 billion, but the results won’t be released until January. It’s also expected to be the last 5G spectrum auction in the foreseeable future.

In other auction news, South African regulator Icasa has announced the country’s next spectrum selloff will occur March 1, 2022, according to a report by MyBroadband. That’s pushed back from a January start date to allow stakeholders to provide feedback on several facets of the auction including: the effects that a release of high demand spectrum would have on competition in the market, the specific radio frequency bans to be licensed, and the parameters of the auction. South Africa is also planning to license its Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN).

And as soon as two quarters after the next spectrum auction in India closes, top telecom Bharti Airtel will deploy its 5G network. According to a report by The Economic Times, Bharti Airtel made the prediction after it successfully conducted India’s first rural 5G trial with Ericsson. Bharti Airtel will rely on OpenRAN; it is not yet able to test 5Gi, the local standard supported by India. The next spectrum auction is expected in early 2022.

Nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic, and experts are still working to dispel the myth that coronavirus vaccines implant a tracking chip into recipient’s arms. It’s a conspiracy that’s pervaded online forums and has gained traction among millions on social media.

In a recent report, CNBC debunked the myth by explaining that even the smallest radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip, which could theoretically fit in the needle types used to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, needs a coil antenna to function. Together, the RFID and antenna combine to be the size of a grain of rice and instead require a syringe, not a needle, to be implanted. What’s more, the vaccine dosage comes from a multi-dose vial, intended for one than one person, and thus a supposed implantable tracker would not be reliably drawn into every vaccine needle.

Finally, in network rollout news, Ericsson and Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) penned a 10-year agreement to provide a nationwide 5G network in Malaysia. According to Adaderana Biz, the scope of the contract includes Ericsson’s cloud-native 5G Core and 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) nationwide, as well as Ericsson’s operational and business support solutions. DNB plans to launch 5G to Kuala Lumpur and two other major cities and then reach 80 percent population coverage by 2024. Ericsson is reportedly the global 5G leader with 57 operating networks around the world.