• 07 APR 21
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    The Green Dilemma of 5G Densification (The TImes of Israel)

    From the blog of Paul Ben Ishai

    April 2, 2021

    As a physicist, my job involves a lot of reading. Mainly articles that turn on an obscure point in an obscure field that interests me, the author and maybe one other person – and he’s a physicist too. Occasionally, one comes across an article that should interest Joe Public, but it is written in such a way that Joe would doze off well before he got to the punch line! So on my desk landed an article with an impressive title, “Radiation Analysis in a Gradual 5G Network Deployment Strategy” [1]. And this is a doozy! Even better for me it is written by two Professors from the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, Ahmad El Hajj and Tarek Naous, researchers who could not normally cooperate with an Israeli. Geopolitics divides science too…..

    In this article they took a hard look at 5G Densification. “Densification” refers to the placement of many more antennas for 5G in the urban environment than we have today, in effect making the network of mobile base stations more dense.

    They took a typical neighbourhood in Austin Texas covered by the current 4G cellular network. Using a public database of cellphone towers (http://www.opencellid.org/) they plotted the positions of the existing tower infrastructure and decided to follow the supposed deployment of a new 5G network. First of all, using the published information of transmission strengths of the 4G antennas they estimated the average exposure felt in the streets of Austin (an excellent title for a Dolly Parton song!). Then they replaced the 4G with 5G on the existing towers, identified the blind spots in the map where there would be no coverage and added 5G antennas appropriately. Their conclusions were instructive.

    1. The area covered was 36 city blocks and the 4G network required 29 cellphone towers to cover it. The final 5G network required 100 antenna sites! This estimate only took into consideration coverage, not the supposed number of users. My feeling is that they underestimated the final number of antennas needed, but we will continue with their line of thought.
    2. The very generous exposure level of ambient electromagnetic radiation for the General Public is 10 W/maccording ICNIRP [2] and the FCC [3]. According to the Chinese Ministry of Health it is 0.1 W/m [4] and for the Institute for Building Biology and Sustainability in Germany , a respected NGO in field of environmentally safe building and the urban environment, it should be 0.1 ?W/m (A million times less than the Chinese standard). The conclusion of the paper is that the densification of antennas will lead to a rise in exposure levels to an average of 0.6 W/m at 5 meters from the antenna, too high for the Chinese standard and too high for a biologically safe standard, but ok for the FCC. Even worse, the chance of being exposed to levels as high as 2.5 W/m rises significantly with the new 5G network, compared to the old 4G installation.
    3. The paper then asked what would happen if the transmission power of the antennas in this new 5G network was reduced to a level that the average exposure at a distance of 5 meters from any antenna matched the Chinese standard (which is the same standard for Russia, for parts of Italy and for Switzerland). The network would not work. They would need many more antennas… SNIP


    Read the full article here


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