Airborne antennas could address 5G/6G radiation concerns

October 07, 2021 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Airborne antennas could address 5G/6G radiation concerns
Novel airborne green antennas-based architecture to enable new 6G mobile systems while decreasing the exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

Mobile tethered drones acting as airbborne antennas can offer a fast and environmentally friendly alternative for receiving terrestrial base stations while alleviating public concerns about exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

A proposition by masters student Zhengying Lou, postdoc Ahmed Elzanaty and distinguished professor Mohamed-Slim Alouini of KAUST addresses the widespread public concern about EMF exposure from mobile networks.

“It is mainly a problem of perception,” says Elzanaty, “but this concern has led to attempts to destroy signaling towers, especially those associated with the 5G network.”

Elzanaty does point out, however, that recent experiments on animals link some adverse health impacts with long-term exposure to EMF, although at higher intensities than those produced by cellphone networks. Given the widespread public concern, tackling this issue might be commercially advantageous while enhancing the reputation of mobile signal providers.

Elzanaty says that although most public concern focuses on exposure to EMF from network base stations — the towers located on high buildings and dotted across the rural landscape — the EMF exposure due to the radiation from mobile phones can be much higher than that from base stations. The team proposes that their tethered unmanned aerial vehicles (TUAVs) would act only to receive these signals, reducing users’ uplink exposure (the exposure from the mobile-to-base station).

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