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University of Surrey and partners announce 5G vision

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The 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), formed by the University of Surrey and a consortium of partners, has revealed its vision for the future of 5G technologies with a snapshot of achievements made so far.

The plans include an expected commercial 5G launch in 2020 (as previously also announced at the 5G Huddle), as well as further advances in ‘user-centric’ technologies such as internet of things (IoT) applications and mobile broadband.

Other planned deliverables, announced by the head of 5GIC, Rahim Tafazolli, include always having sufficient rate to give users the impression of infinite capacity, and very low latency with speeds of 10Gbps or more.

The 5GIC partnership, formed last year, includes industry players Aeroflex, AIRCOM International, Ascom, BBC, BT, EE, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe, Huawei, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone, as well as the UK regulator Ofcom. Together the partners are building what is called a 5G test bed at the university campus to test 5G technologies “in a real world environment”, as Huawei put it.

“5GIC is in a unique position to deliver next-generation communications through close collaboration with telecommunication world-leaders,” Tafazolli said. “As the world’s leading independent facility for trialling emerging 5G technologies and applications, this test bed will be used for proof of concepts, validate standards and test vendor interoperability.

“It will be the first of its kind to test new technologies that will allow for a high capacity, low latency, and energy efficiency and user centric 5G network. It will feed into critical developments in areas such as the internet of things and for applications where device battery life is critical.”

The test bed, built in three stages, is expected to be fully completed by September next year with the first phase operational in April 2015. “The testbed will be progressively upgraded as 5G technology begins to emerge, to allow the next wave of applications and services to be explored,” Tafazolli said. “The facility is open to all members and partners from anywhere in the world, and a low cost means will be introduced for SMEs and startups to test their innovations for 5G compatibility and showcase their products.”

The test bed is expected to provide a live 5G infrastructure network covering the entire university campus including 17,000 staff and students by the beginning of 2018.

“The facilities at the University of Surrey give us a unique opportunity to evaluate 5G technology and experiment with ideas,” Head of Vodafone Research and Development, Luke Ibbetson said. “While 5G is still in the early stages of development, the testbed will enable us to put theory into practice and start developing a blueprint for the highly intelligent mobile networks of the future. “

“Huawei is committed to researching and developing future technologies that help build better connected societies, businesses and economies,” Huawei Wireless Networks CTO, Tong Wen said. “Making 5G a success will be essential in achieving this. Our work with the 5GIC at the University of Surrey will enable us to test cutting-edge, fifth-generation mobile technologies in an open and collaborative environment, and help to turn the vision of 5G into a reality.”

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