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Will I need a filter when the 5G mobile broadband services start in 2020?

Over the last six years some Freeview users have had to fit special filter devices to the back of their Freeview television sets to deal with overloading signals caused by 4G mobile broadband. When 5G broadband starts in mid-2020, will this happen again?0

5G services are like a giant giltterball  Photograph: Shutterstock
5G services are like a giant giltterball Photograph: Shutterstock
published on UK Free TV

Freeview Deja vu

Yes, we have been here before.   Back in January 2013, UK Free TV looked at the upcoming issues with the potential problems that 4G mobile broadband might cause for Freeview.

The issue arose because the new mobile broadband services were using frequencies that had been used for Freeview and analogue TV before them.   The peaceful coexistence of digital television and digital mobile data services was expected, but not a given.

The good news is that the projected levels of problems for Freeview users turned out to be quite accurate and quite low.   The Hundreds of millions that were put aside have been returned to the mobile broadband companies, lowering the price to their customers. 

 

5G

The new generation of mobile broadband services will operate in addition to the current ones (GSM, 3G and 4G) in the UK, and will use the 700MHz band of frequencies have been “cleared” by several years of careful chess-like manipulation of the frequencies that Freeview uses.

The new generation of services will use much smaller “cells” of operation from each mobile mast.   Each mobile phone tower will be like a immobile glitter-ball, diving into many hundreds the sub-areas operated from each mobile phone mast.   Tests have shown that this will be able to increase the real-world data rates for each mobile broadband customer.

 

Will I need my existing filter?

If you already had a 4G mobile phone filter, once all of the Freeview frequency changes have happened (June 2020) you will be able to remove it from you TV set or set top box as it will no longer be required.  

It won’t protect you from the 5G services, so you will need to send it for suitable recycling.  

 

Will I need a 5G 700MHz filter?

The quick answer is probably not.

The longer answer is that you will need to get a (free, presumably) filter if:

  • Your TV aerial points in the direction of a 5G mobile tower; and
  • Your Freeview signal is sub-optimal; and
  • You are using a TV signal amplifier.

If the above conditions are true, you will also need to be:

  • Using a multiplex broadcast on C47 or C48 – the new top of the Freeview range;
  • Have a mast with a 5G service (they will take years to roll out)
  • Be using the BBCB multiplex for Freeview HD (as they will use C47/C48)

 

I have updated the page at  https://ukfree.tv/at700/list/all to highlight the transmitters with C47/C48 after 700MHz clearance is complete.



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Comments
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
S
StevensOnln1
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

10:15 AM

G.L.G.Lewis: There have been no recent changes at the Rowridge transmitter. Start by checking for any loose or damaged cables or connections behind your TV, unplug and check each cable one at a time for any signs of damage before plugging back in, then follow the cable back as far as you can safely access towards the aerial. You would only need a new aerial and/or cable if they have been damaged by the weather or become too corroded over time to maintain a good connections throughout the whole aerial system.

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StevensOnln1's 2,680 posts GB
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
J
Justin Eastham
2:50 PM

Hi,

I'm getting frequent drop-outs in reception, with the PSB-3 MUX at Wenvoe. 5g is now operating from the Wenvoe transmitter; and PSB-3 is on UHF-47 (682MHz). It's possible that my aerial is not aimed DIRECTLY at the transmitter (it might be slightly out of line), or some water ingress has occurred; but rather than go to the hassle of getting the ladders out, and lowering the aerial pole (to access the aerial, and the coax connections); I'd rather see if a 5g or band-pass filter would improve matters. All other (eight) MUXes behave themselves; and for the most part I've got 100/100 reception (where I haven't, it's never lower than 95/100).

When experiencing problems, the signal strength will drop below 30, and will bounce around between 20-something and just over 60-something. Signal quality drops to 91/92.

I'm just wondering whether PSB-3 is particularly susceptible, given that it's 256-QAM modulation, using a 32K carrier, with a much lower guard interval (1/128 versus 1/32). If it IS more susceptible; then why have it so close to 700MHz!?

I welcome any advice; and where to get an (indoor) in-line 5g filter from

Regards



link to this comment
Justin Eastham's 4 posts GB
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_satisfiedGold

11:46 PM

Justin Eastham:

Firstly, a 5G filter for the 700MHz band will block your reception of COMs 7&8. Secondly, AFAIK there in no 700MHz 5G transmissions in Cardiff as they are currently only in the 3.4GHz band at present and what led you to think that there any 5G transmissions from the Wenvoe mast? Just because the 700MHz band has been cleared of TV transmissions at Wenvoe apart from the temporary muxes COMs 7&8, doesn't mean that there are already 700MHz 5G transmissions.

Without a full postcode, we can't advise what your predicted reception is like and whether PSB3 reception is more susceptible at you location. What is certain is that if your aerial is not correctly aligned, if there are corroded connections anywhere in your system, water ingress etc. that will not be helping.

I suggest you check all your coax plugs, connections, flyleads (frequently a problem) etc, unplug connectors check for corrosion or other problems and reconnect them. If you are able (sounds like you could be) also check that your downlead looks undamaged and that your aerial seems intact, connections ok and it's pointing in the correct direction.

Problematic connections, water ingress etc. can seem to affect reception of just an individual or several multiplexes.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 713 posts GB
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
J
Justin Eastham
2:37 PM

Hi Chris.SE,

>Firstly, a 5G filter for the 700MHz band will block your reception of COMs 7&8.

I appreciate that. COMs 7&8 are using UHF-55 and UHF-56 (746 and 754 MHz respectively). But for the purposes of testing whether a 5G filter would improve reception of PSB-3 (UHF-47 on 682 MHz), I can live without COMs 7&8 ;-)

>Secondly, AFAIK there are no 700MHz 5G transmissions in Cardiff as they are currently only in the 3.4GHz band at present and what led you to think that there are any 5G transmissions from the Wenvoe mast?

Aaaah, okay. I wasn't aware that 5G operated in anything other that 700MHz. I was led to believe that 5g was operating from Wenvoe, from the Wikipedia page for the Wenvoe Transmitter :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wenvoe_transmitting_station

....in particular, "As of 31/05/2019, 5G was launched on the Wenvoe Transmitter on EE"

But I take your point; I've bought 15m of WF100 cable, and am going to replace the cable from the "W" aerial to the Labgear LDA2061LR 6-way Distribution Amplifier; and ensure that the aerial is aimed directly at the transmitter, as best as I can determine.

I was hoping that I could live with the reception problems, until post 700MHz clearance; when I planned on replacing the "W" aerial with a "K" aerial (and replacing the cable run), as COMs 7&8 will have moved to below 700MHz.

Thanks for the advice; my money is on sub-optimal cabling from the aerial, combined with the possibility that the aerial is possibly not bang-on, direction-wise. I could also require an attenuator, given that I'm within 2 miles of the transmitter (I've bought a signal-meter, to measure the "dB").

Cheers


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Justin Eastham's 4 posts GB
Thursday, 14 November 2019
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_satisfiedGold

3:08 AM

Justin Eastham:

Just to advise, yes if you are within two miles of the transmitter, you may need an attenuator and you should be able to see it so align your aerial perfectly ;)

I'm inclined not to believe that Wiki item about 5G at the Wenvoe mast itself, EE's coverage checker doesn't suggest a strong enough signal right by the mast !

COMs 7&8 are very unlikely to move (below 700MHz), the current plan (we think, as nothing has been finalised) is that they may be turned off by 2022, but that's if Mobile operators are ready to use that "gap" which has been allocated for SDL mobile use. None of the 700MHz band has yet been auctioned btw, due early next year.

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 713 posts GB
J
Justin Eastham
11:20 AM

Hi again Chris.SE

>....which has been allocated for SDL mobile use.

What is SDL, out of interest?


>None of the 700MHz band has yet been auctioned btw, due early next year.

Well that's a sure-fire indication that there is no 5g interference :-)

Cheers

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Justin Eastham's 4 posts GB
Friday, 15 November 2019
C
Chris.SE
sentiment_satisfiedGold

1:59 AM

Hi Justin.

Here's the official definition straight from the OFCOM consultation document -
"Supplemental down link - where a separate spectrum block is used to provide additional downlink resource to support the normal symmetrical arrangement"

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 713 posts GB
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
J
Justin Eastham
11:21 AM

Hi Chris.SE

>Here's the official definition straight from the OFCOM consultation document -
"Supplemental down link - where a separate spectrum block is used to provide additional downlink resource to support the normal symmetrical arrangement"

Excellent. Many thanks :-)

Justin

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Justin Eastham's 4 posts GB
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