Mobile communications: The enforcement aid for dealing with adaptive antennas is ready
Bern, 02/23/2021 – The expansion of the 5G network with adaptive antennas will be made possible in compliance with today’s limit values for cellular systems. This is the core of the supplementary enforcement aid for the cantons and communes. The implementation aid of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) provides the licensing authorities with clarity on how the radiation from adaptive antennas is calculated. Both the protection of the population from radiation and the interests of the users in a well-developed mobile network are taken into account.
Mobile communications, and in particular 5G, play an important role in digitization: Among other things, 5G allows larger amounts of data to be transmitted faster and more efficiently. New, adaptive antennas are needed so that 5G can develop its full potential. At the same time, the population must be protected from radiation. Against this background, the Federal Council has commissioned the FOEN to develop an implementation guide for dealing with adaptive antennas. This creates clarity for the licensing authorities when calculating the radiation from adaptive antennas. It is designed in such a way that the current level of protection is maintained. Compared to conventional antennas, there is no relaxation of the limit values.
Adaptive antennas no longer send the radio signals constantly in one direction, as is the case with conventional antennas. Instead, they focus the radiation where the connected mobile phone is and reduce it in other directions. On February 23, 2021, the FOEN published an addendum to the implementation guide to the Ordinance on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation (NISV). This addendum describes how the radiation from the adaptive antennas can be calculated. The enforcement aid is based on test measurements that were carried out in the summer of 2020. The aim of the test measurements was to create transparency as to how much the population is actually burdened by adaptive antennas.
The main elements
The limit values, which are central to the health protection of the population, remain untouched with the enforcement aid. If new 5G mobile radio systems are built or existing ones expanded, the radiation in the vicinity of the system is calculated in advance and thus checked whether the limit values of the NISV are complied with. The transmission power is determined accordingly.
Thanks to the ability of the adaptive antenna technology to focus the radiation to where the connected mobile phone is, the radiation exposure in its surroundings is on average lower than with conventional antennas. With adaptive antennas, a correction factor may therefore be applied to the approved transmission power. The correction factor is intended to ensure that adaptive antennas are not judged more strictly than conventional antennas.
The correction factor depends on the number of antenna elements. The more elements an antenna has, the more targeted it can transmit the radio data. This means that the correction factor can also be higher. The correction factor allows adaptive antennas to radiate more than the transmit power used for the calculation for a short time. To ensure that this is only possible for a short time, adaptive antennas must be equipped with an automatic power limiter. This ensures that the transmission power used for the calculation is not exceeded averaged over a period of 6 minutes. This technical measure is the prerequisite for the application of the correction factor.
With the adapted enforcement aid, the federal government is creating clarity for the licensing authorities and improving the framework conditions for the further development of the mobile network. Thanks to the new technology, the network can be expanded with fewer new antennas.
The cantons and communes are still responsible for the approval and control of mobile radio systems and compliance with the limit values of the NISV.
Mobile communications: enforcement aids for the NISV
In response, the organisation Schutz-vor-Strahlung issued a media release:
“Hidden limit value increase through implementation recommendation“
Published on February 23
Zurich, February 23, 2021 The Federal Office for the Environment today published the implementation recommendation for adaptive mobile communications antennas. It recommends that the cantons allow significantly higher exposure to cell phone radiation, but withholding this information in the planning applications. The Protection Against Radiation Association is outraged by the massive erosion of health protection, especially in view of the recently published report by the BERENIS expert group.
The core of the new implementation recommendation for adaptive antennas is the correction factor. This allows adaptive antennas to radiate up to ten times more than before. This can lead to immissions of up to 16 V / m, between three antennas even up to 27 V / m in sensitive locations such as living rooms, playgrounds or hospitals. This is in sharp contradiction to the FOEN’s assertions that the limit values of 5 V / m are also adhered to by the adaptive antennas.