The 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey will house 170 researchers

New research centre to accelerate advent of 5G

A research centre designed to accelerate the development of the next generation communications technology - 5G - opens today.

The 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey brings together industry partners and more than 170 leading researchers, whose work has already developed technology that enables speeds of one terabit per second (Tbit/s) - more than 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speed.

Opening alongside the centre is a new testbed facility, providing researchers with a fully-functioning advanced 4G network, that will gradually be upgraded to include fully-fledged 5G technologies and large-scale Internet of Things (IoT). By 2018 the testbed will be able to deliver 10Gbit/s per cell.

“The true impact of 5G will come from the innovative applications the new network will enable, some of which are yet to be realised," said Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the 5GIC.

"It is a transformative set of technologies that will radically change our private and professional lives by enabling innovative applications and services, such as remote healthcare, wireless robots, driverless cars and connected homes and cities, removing boundaries between the real and cyber worlds. These capabilities make 5G a ‘Special Generation’ of connectivity.

Tafazolli predicted that the technology will be commercialised from 2020, but warned that for this to happen academics and industry had to work together. “The ethos of the Centre is not built on competition but cooperation," he added. "5G will be achieved through global collaboration so that everyone will benefit from working to a single standard."

To demonstrate the potential of the testbed, 5GIC researchers today used it to demonstrate new wireless technology, developed in partnership with Huawei and BBC R&D, that is capable of streaming ultra-high-definition (4k) video to a mobile device over an enhanced outdoor mobile network.

In another demonstration using the testbed, researchers showed how a new 5G-Sparse Coding Multiple Access radio waveform can support at least three times the number of IoT devices that would be possible with 4G.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The development of 5G presents a significant economic opportunity and this world-leading centre will position the UK at the forefront of research into the next generation of communications technology."

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