All electronic devices allowed for sale must comply with standards regarding electromagnetic compatibility. This means that unwanted radio emission must not exceed the permitted standards. Compliance with this type of regulation is to ensure the correct operation of radiocommunication systems, including all LTE networks used by us. It turned out that the Bitcoin miner belonging to one of the residents of Brooklyn disrupted the operation of the T-Mobile network operating on the 700 MHz frequency.
Mobile operators around the world must constantly monitor the interference levels in their networks. Some of them are obviously caused by incorrect configuration of base stations (i.e. interference is created between neighbouring cells). However, it also happens that some people unknowingly contribute to disrupting networks. Unfortunately, each electronic device produces unwanted electromagnetic waves. Therefore, in individual countries there are norms specifying the maximum permissible level of emissivity. However, it may happen that someone will buy a device imported from abroad that will interfere with the work of cellular networks. In such cases, the local regulator enters the action, which is to locate the source of interference.
Bitcoin excavators can interfere with LTE networks
AntMiner S5 Bitcoin Miner turned out to be a problematic device that disrupts LTE networks operating at 700 MHz (band 12). Currently, this problem concerns networks working in the United States. However, soon it may also appear in Europe. LTE band 12 covers frequencies in the ranges 729 MHz – 746 MHz (downlink) and 699 MHz – 716 MHz (uplink). The FCC did not provide information at what exact frequency T-Mobile observed problematic interference. However, it does not matter much. From 30 June 2020 in Europe, the frequencies in the 694 MHz – 790 MHz band will be used for wireless data transmission services (LTE and 5G networks). Therefore, cryptocurrency miners may also be a problem for our operators. Currently, it is the only known case in the world in which the negative impact of the AntMiner S5 miner on the operation of wireless systems has been proved. We do not know how many modules of this device worked in a Brooklyn flat. Perhaps the problem only applies to faulty devices or occurs only when the miner is near the base station.