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One Hundred Times Faster Broadband (5G) Just Passed the First Test

Posted July 10, 2018

A group of engineers from the University of Sussex and collaborators from the telecom consultancy firm Plum are happy to announce the successful completion of indoor 5G coverage tests performed earlier this summer.

The new broadband technology, scheduled to hit the US market by next year, and by 2020 in the UK, is expected to be even more transformative than the arrival of 4G a decade ago.

According to Professor Maziar Nekovee, Head of the Department of Engineering and Design at Sussex, the introduction of 5G is likely to bring about significant advancements in the fields of industrial automation and robotics.

“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”, such as automotive and industrial automation,” said Professor Nekovee during his speech at the 5G Industry Summit in Shanghai.

5G broadband connection, estimated to exceed 4G by up to 100 times, is scheduled to come to the US as early as next year, hitting Europe by the end of the current decade. Image credit: Kārlis Dambrāns via, CC BY 2.0.

Aside from commercial applications, 5G will also bring up to 20 times faster data-rates to consumers by deploying mobile base stations located in residential or rural neighbourhoods. This is a big step for the UK where the prohibitive costs of laying down cables into millions of residential structures have been hampering the roll-out of fibre broadband for quite some time.

Rather than being a mere evolutionary step, 5G is set to “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,” explained Dr Falah Ali of the University of Sussex.

During the tests carried out at the University in April 2017, engineers conducted measurements at 3.5 GHz, recently auctioned by Ofcom to UK operators to build their first 5G networks, and in the millimetre wave frequencies (an ultra-high frequency portion of the radio spectrum allocated to 5G).

A paper detailing the findings will be presented at the European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP) conference in Krakow, Poland, next year.


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