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Here Comes 5G – All The Way From Guildford!

Published on: 18 Jan, 2015
Updated on: 18 Jan, 2015

By Anna Valentina

The telecommunication scientists at the University of Surrey are preparing themselves for a big celebration: a brand new building for the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) is to open its doors in September.

First in the world and the only one in the UK, this centre pushes forward the research of the new generation of mobile networks.

The new 5G building nears completion on the University of Surrey campus.

The new 5G Innovation centre building nears completion on the University of Surrey campus.

Roughly every 10 years there comes a major change in the mobile telecommunications world: a new mobile network standard is rolled out. Wide adoption of the latest standard (4G, fourth generation) started two years ago in the UK, but even now scientists are working on what might become the next, fifth generation (5G).

Like it was before, it must be a major leap, and both industry leaders and governments across the world are extremely interested in its development.

In the UK the major development centre of 5G is at the University of Surrey; with partners including British telecommunication regulator Ofcom and a number of global companies such as Samsung, Vodafone, and Telefonica – to name a few.

Even now it’s recognised that 5G will offer a lot of improvements compared to the previous standards. Although the researchers are aiming to make it at least 10 times faster – it is not their primary target.

The biggest improvement they are seeking is about better connectivity: there should be no “dead spots” in the area covered with 5G.

As well as enhancing connection between us human beings, 5G will also allow various devices be link between up, thus paving the way for the concept of the Internet of Things. For example, a refrigerator may be able to order a new bottle of milk when you have taken the last one out, a medical implant which not only monitors your heart rate, will also be able to tell your mobile to call your doctor – and ambulance – if the things are suddenly going too bad. The minor targets for 5G include increased energy efficiency and less electromagnetic emissions.

A huge amount of research and development is required to be done to meet these aims, and the arrival of the final version of 5G is expected at the beginning of the next decade. The hard work on 5G at the university started in 2011, as the scientists just could not wait for their own building to be completed.

The on-going research at the university involves about 50 individual projects that cover most aspects of the future standard.

Professor Taffazolli, the head of the 5GIC, says that the University of Surrey campus will soon become the first UK test bed for the 5G network.

The campus will enable scientists to easily make modifications to the equipment; very diverse radio environments in the campus will allow to testing how the new technology will cope on motorways and railways, in rural and high-urban areas.

Some lucky students and university staff will be able to toy with the new technology as researchers plans to distribute 5G samples for testing this year.

Guildford residents will benefit not only by being able to use the most modern equipment well before the rest of the world. The 5GIC is said to be one of key drivers for economic growth in the region.

Enterprise M3, the region’s local enterprise partnership, has secured £5 million of government investment in the centre. This funding prioritises the development and expansion of 5G in the region, helping Surrey and Hampshire.

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