However you look at it compared to previous 2G/3G/4G scenarios performing field strength measurements on 5G systems is sadly a bit more complicated. 'Sadly' because it can add confusion that all too easily fuels 5G misinformation and debate.
Before we get to the technical side of the measurements it’s important to point out 5G is a name not a quantity and what you require from your measurement equipment can vary. There are a number of 5G bands and for all the talk of ‘high frequencies’ right now installations in the UK will be in the 700 MHz or 3.6 GHz bands i.e. similar or lower in frequency to other telecoms and WiFi frequency bands.
What is a bit different to the previous ‘Gs’ is signal bandwidth. 5G bandwidths can be up to 100 MHz compared to 4G at 5 to 20 MHz. For example in the UK it’s quite possible (in the 3.6 GHz band) to see a bandwidth of 40 MHz in use.
This means that typical hand held spectrum analysers might not be able to see all of the bandwidth simultaneously. The disadvantage of this is that the analyser has to sweep over the band and may miss changes in one part of the band whilst looking at another. Sounds like it might be a problem but with the dedicated safety software and firmware you get with the Narda SRM-3006 it's easy to set the instrument to sweep across a given band and then integrate the various maximum values captured over a period of time.
The SRM-3006 remains the instrument of choice for frequency selective safety measurements. For further information on 5G measurements with the SRM see this NSTS video
We've been running our EMF safety courses as an online package for a while now but yesterday we ran our first EMF safety measurement course as an an online package and despite some issues with Zoom, Teams and a power cut...it went well. Our previous classroom measurement training included hands on practical exercises and we've worked to convert those into an online format. Obviously it's not quite the same as hands on measurements but in other ways with the new format it's easier to underline the important learning points. Thanks to the attendees for their contributions in making the course successful. We've got a telecoms EMF measurement course coming up next week and an EMF safety management course in February. Just see our training page for further details.
It's second nature to us but we understand that it's easy to get confused as to what services e.g. 2G/3G/4G/5G our RF personal monitors actually cover. The short answer is all of them but the better answer is that you just need to check the listed frequency range of the given monitor. Take the Radman 2LT as an example. The listed frequency range is 50 MHz to 8 GHz. This covers the vast majority of the telecoms and broadcast frequencies that you're likely to encounter, including 2G to 5G. The slight caveat is 5G. 5G isn't a quantity, it's just a name and as with other telecoms services 5G operates over different frequency bands, the really common ones will be in the approximate range 700 MHz to 3.5 GHz so the Radman 2LT covers these. Yes 5G can also be at 26 GHz (and other mmwave frequencies) but high frequency installations will not be as common and power levels will be lower. For years telecoms systems have used mmwave frequencies for line of site/point to point links, these are invariably low power and represent no significant risk. High frequency simply does not equate to higher risk. However if you need to cover high frequencies then the Radman 2XT covers up to 60 GHz and the Nardalert S3 can be specified up to 100 GHz. Anyhow to get back to the main question all you need to do is to identify what frequency range you need to cover and match that to the personal monitor, be that Radman 2LT, Radman2XT or Nardalert S3. But if you do have any questions just give us a call.
Lately we've fielded a lot of questions relating to health concerns around mobile phone base stations. Much of this is driven by misunderstanding and misconceptions around 5G so we've updated one of our information sheets to hopefully clarify some of the issues. We understand the concerns are very genuine but to have an informed risk perception it's important to keep an eye on the facts. Download the information sheet here
The RadMan 2XT is still relatively new so if you need high frequency coverage the XT version is specified all the way up to 60 GHz. This means it covers the 26-28 GHz 5G band, it also has some nice features like the automatic sensor test at switch-on. To see the unit in operation just click here
The Radman 2 personal monitor is designed and manufactured by Narda, the byword for EMF safety for over 50 years. Don't be mislead by cheaper (or more expensive) copies, as the world leader in EMF safety, Narda is able to underwrite the specifications in a way you can trust which is obviously what you need in a safety device. We don't try to confuse you with meaningless marketing waffle, incomplete data or omit important specification details.
Both the Radman 2LT & Radman 2XT are accepted for use on Arqiva sites - we don't say 'Arqiva approved' as we work closely with Arqiva and know they don't 'approve' monitors, they accept monitors that can be used on their sites. The Radman 2 LT personal monitor is a high quality low cost unit designed primarily for telecoms applications and the wider frequency range Radman 2XT supports higher frequency 5G bands. Both units are held in UK stock for quick delivery.
Download the Radman 2 data sheet here.
Well we've said 5G just because it's the buzz terminology and your internet search might find us a little more easily but what we really mean is field strength measurements around mMIMO & beam forming antennas (as well as the other telecoms and broadcast emitters you might find on a rooftop). Measuring 5G signals is tricky because most likely it's a very wideband signal and portable spectrum analysers at a reasonable cost don't have sufficient resolution bandwidth (RBW) to look at the signal all in one go and then of course if your measurements are for ICNIRP compliance you need to use an analyser coupled to an isotropic probe. Then because of your limited RBW it's not necessarily straightforward how you capture a maximum value...
Or alternatively you can use a broadband meter and probe which quickly gives you a result for all frequencies present. That said the type of broadband equipment needs a little bit of thought. With a 100kHz to 6GHz diode based broadband probe we recently measured a maximum field strength of 91 V/m in a public area with the main contributions coming from 4G (700 MHz) & 5G (3.5 GHz) signals. For those of us that know our ICNIRP general public reference levels (yes we should get out more) we know we've got a problem, 61 V/m is the highest value listed. So on the face of it we've got a non-compliance. The next step is of course to take a time averaged measurement but before we get to that how about taking a look at the specification of broadband diode probes. They all have a relatively small 'square law' or true RMS region. This means if you've got a couple of signals (or more) that take you out of this true response region you get multiple signal error and it can be sizeable. Use a shaped probe (this just means the output is shaped or weighted to the ICNIRP reference levels as they change with frequency) like the Narda ED5091 and this error is much reduced plus it automatically gives you a result in % of the ICNIRP levels (so you don't have to remember the V/m values). Sound easy, yes it is - to avoid costly false non-compliances you just need to start with the right probe, a shaped one.
We still have spaces available on an EMF safety awareness training session on Wednesday 12th Feb. It's useful for anyone who is an EMF worker i.e. possibly exposed to fields above general public levels in the course of their work, typically telecoms, defence, aerospace & industrial workers. The course duration is about 3 hours and will be held at the Link Microtek offices in Basingstoke. For further information see the training page.
We’re fielding a lot of questions about which personal monitors should be used for 5G. Just like any other EMF safety application the question is what frequency range do you want to cover?
And here lies the confusion about 5G. There are various 5G frequency band allocations all the way from 700 MHz to 86 GHz. The important point to note is that general network roll out will centre on the lower frequency bands e.g. 700 MHz & 3.5 GHz plus maybe the 26 GHz band and the 60 GHz & 80 GHz frequencies will be used for specific applications. From an EMF safety viewpoint field strengths will be limited at the high frequencies simply because it’s difficult and expensive to generate high power levels at these frequencies.
So to choose a personal monitor it’s not really sufficient to talk about 5G in general terms. You need to identify what 5G bands your personnel will be working with. If it’s 3.5 GHz then it’s an easy relatively low cost solution (Radman 2 LT 50 MHz to 8 GHz). If it’s 26 GHz then it’s still a straightforward solution (Radman 2 XT 900 kHz to 60 GHz), just more expense. If it’s >60 GHz then it’s a more complicated solution where we would look at bespoke calibration of the Nardalert S3. Standard Nardalert S3s are specified to 50 GHz so are suitable for use with 5G frequencies <50 GHz (as is the Nardalert XT) but the thermocouple sensor used in the Nardalert means 100 GHz is potentially achievable.
The RadMan 2LT competes head to head on price with other low cost monitors on the market. Unlike those other monitors the RadMan 2 is designed, manufactured and calibrated in Germany by Narda, the world leader in EMF safety solutions, providing the reliability, quality and full specifications that you expect in a safety device.
The RadMan XT is also a cost effective solution when you need to cover higher frequencies e.g. the 5G 26 GHz band (as well as covering lower frequency applications such as MF broadcast). Both units are supplied with a belt/climbing harness adaptor and lanyard for operation away from the body. Again both models have an alarm response shaped to ICNIRP reference levels and data logging capability. Battery life is very good with up to 800 hours of operation on a single charge, charging is via a standard USB-C connector.
RadMan 2LT & XT models are both usually in UK stock for quick delivery.
- RadMan 2LT; low cost, 50 MHz to 8 GHz
- RadMan 2XT; 900 kHz to 60 GHz
- Long battery life
- Rugged IP65 design
- Automatic sensor test
Download the RadMan 2 Datasheet
We're running another of our popular EMF safety measurement courses on Wednesday 3rd October at our Basingstoke site. It's really all about EMF safety assessments with regard to EMF Directive 2013/35/EU and the corresponding UK CEMFAW Regulations and new for our 2018 courses we've revised the practical content to give more hands on experience. See the training page for further details and how to book your place.
ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) have released their new radio frequency guidelines (100 kHz to 300 GHz) in draft form for comment.
EMF safety is a niche subject and those involved with it on a regular basis often take things for granted and use terminology that is far from easy to understand. Plus with the EMF Directive & CEMFAW Regulations in place it's made it necessary for more health & safety professionals and engineers to grapple with the subject. The Narda Safety Test Solutions booklet 'Everything you wanted to know about safety in electric, magnetic & electromagnetic fields' is a great place to start or provide some more background knowledge for those that already know a little about the subject. Just click here to download a great free resource that explains the EMF safety basics and more.
We're lucky enough to have first hand knowledge of a wide range of EMF safety measurement scenarios - quite simply it's the day job and we've been doing it for many years. It means our measurement training covers not just the theory behind EMF safety measurement equipment but also real world measurement examples and how they fit in with the latest legislation; The Control of Electromagnetic Field at Work Regulations 2016. The next course has been scheduled for Tuesday 24th April at our Basingstoke site, places cost just £125. Contact us to book or ask for any further details.
We've added additional dates for EMF safety measurement training. The courses will be held at Link Microtek in Basingstoke.
We're pleased to have been invited by IOSH to present another EMF safey webinar. The last was an overview of the EMF Directive & the CEMFAW Regulations.
Anyone interested in a quick overview on the Control of Electromagentic Fields Regulations 2016 / EMF Directive 2013/35/EU can view a recording of the recent IOSH webinar by clicking here.
On behalf of IOSH (Institute of Safety & Health) we recently presented a webinar on the Control of EMF at Work (CEMFAW)Regulations 2016.
The Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016 (CEMFAW 2016) are essentially the requirements of the EMFDirective 2013/35/EU transposed into UK law.
OK, first up, exemptions and derogations are the same thing. EMF Directive 2013/35/EU just uses the term derogations whilst in the UK, HSE in the CEMFAW regulations have decided to use the term exemptions.
So the implementation date for EMF Directive 2013/35/EU of 1st July 2016 passed and the world kept turning.
The use of EMF safety area monitors makes sense in many environmental applications e.g. if a community has concerns about ambient fields and wants to monitor levels over a long period of time then area monitors are a useful tool.
Alas the murky world of EMF safety measurement equipment isn’t straightforward and we're seeing equipment coming to the market that is less than adequate.