5G tests demonstrate impressive speeds 100x faster than current broadband
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University of Sussex engineers have said that initial testing on indoor coverage for future 5G networks has yielded impressive results and demonstrated the capability to deliver 100 times faster broadband than current mobile network technologies allow.
5G networks are expected to launch early next year in some markets, such as China and Korea, with potential European rollouts possibly later in the year or in 2020.
The new standard boasts massive technical upgrades over 4G in terms of data throughput and latency and will be of particular benefit to future-facing technologies such as connected cars and IoT devices.
The researchers said that the tests are an “important step” in establishing the capability and ironing out issues with the new networks.
“With phase one of 5G global industry standards just being completed, which focuses on 5G-enhanced mobile broadband, research is now moving to address 5G technology to support ultra-reliable and ultra-low-latency connectivity for ‘vertical industries’, said Professor Maziar Nekovee, engineering department head at the University of Sussex.
When 5G launches, mobile customers can look forward to data rates at least 20 times faster than 4G and the new networks should also help to speed up the rollout of fibre broadband coverage in the UK which is currently being hampered because of the significant costs of laying cables into millions of homes.
5G Fixed-Wireless Access technology will have the capability of covering multiple homes from mobile base stations placed in residential or rural neighbourhoods with the potential for peak data rates of up to 1Gbps.
Dr Falah Ali from the University of Sussex said: “5G is much more than just evolution to the next generation of mobile communications technology. It will empower new functionalities for people, society and enterprises.
“It is expected to provide fibre-like data rate with massive system capacity and ultra-reliable and extreme real-time communications vital for many emerging applications, including the Internet of Things, driverless cars, virtual reality, eHealth, tactile internet and smart cities.”
Richard Rudd, director at Plum Consultancy, said: “Customers rightly will want assurances about the effectiveness of 5G in a real-life setting and the University of Sussex provides an excellent setting for such a test. The recent tests provided data which is allowing us to model the complicated ways in which the signals interact with buildings and trees, so that indoor signal coverage can be predicted with more confidence.”
The most recent measurements carried out at Sussex were performed at 3.5GHz, which is the frequency band that was very recently auctioned by Ofcom to UK operators to build their first 5G networks.
In April 2017, the university conducted tests in the millimetre wave frequencies, an ultra-high frequency portion of radio spectrum also allocated for 5G, which could offer users data-rates of up to 20Gbps and is expected to be auctioned by Ofcom later this year.