With baited breath we await the arrival of 4G networks in the UK. But meanwhile research is already about to be undertaken to develop 5G technology.
An International research centre is to be created right here in the UK, specifically at Surrey University. The £35m centre will be funded partly from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), who is to provide £11 million, with the remainder of the funding being brought in from private companies such as Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica Europe, Fujitsu Laboratories Europe, Rohde-Schwarz and AIRCOM International.
This is great news for the UK who played an active role in 2G cellular standards but more recently has fallen behind with the adoption of 3G and more recently 4G technologies. Professor Rahim Tafazolli, head of the University of Surrey’s Centre for Communication Systems Research (CCSR) has said, “The university’s industry partners have identified this proposal as the single biggest opportunity for the UK to regain a world leading position in the development of 5G technologies and for the development of vibrant businesses around the technologies.”
So what is 5G? Well, it is that new that it does not yet have a formal technical definition from bodies such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and it is unlikely that we will see it any time before 2020 at least.
The UK centre at Surrey University will be looking specifically at three areas.
Speed. Tafazolli believes speeds could hit 10Gbps in a cell, to be divided by users, which could allow for as much as 200Mbps per user.
Spectrum. Surrey will be looking at usage of extremely high frequency bands, or millimetric waves, going as low as 50GHz.
Efficiency. “The electricity cost is huge, especially if you are talking about that bit rate and a huge number of cell stations,” Tafazolli said. “Energy efficiency would reduce that cost – it’s extremely important.”
The university has already indicated where it will trial 5G, located across the University and over to Guildford, the trial should measure approximately five square kilometres by the end of next year with local SMEs being invited to join in with the trial.
Meanwhile we await the launch of EE’s 4G network in the coming weeks.