University of Surrey unveils vision for 5G alongside industry partners

Dedicated 5G facility at Surrey will provide a test bed for emerging 5G technologies and applications and will be used for proof of concepts, validation of standards and test vendor interoperability

University of Surrey unveils vision for 5G alongside industry partners

The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) shared its vision for the future of 5G technologies yesterday (4 November 2014) at an event in London with an overview of its achievements so far, alongside industry partners including Huawei, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe and Vodafone.

It is one year since a consortium of industry partners, including Aeroflex, AIRCOM International, BBC, BT, EE, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe, Huawei, Ofcom, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone joined the University of Surrey in its ambition to deliver a specialised 5G research and innovation centre, 5GIC. Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of 5GIC, revealed the consortium’s collective vision for 5G and what it will deliver.

It is expected that 5G systems are likely to be commercialised from 2020. 5GIC, in collaboration with its partners, is working towards delivering key advances in communication, sensing and actuation technologies that are user centric. This will include cellular mobile broadband and Internet of Things applications, with 5GIC and its partners’ vision being centred on key developments including, but not exclusively;

Always having sufficient rate to give the user the impression of infinite capacity

The 5G network will intelligently understand the demands of the user from moment to moment, and will effectively allocate resources across networks to ensure that whatever the demand, it delivers instantly.

Internet of Things

To deliver sensing, data analytics and actuation that collectively brings to life new and smart services for modernisation and transformation of vertical industries. The Internet of Things is an integral part of 5G with extreme technical challenges of low-energy consumption, low end to end latency and low-maintenance network.

Very low latency – one msec or less

5G will deliver very low latency speeds of 10Gbps or more and flexibility. This will enable seamless support of all kind for services and applications, making it future proof for yet unforeseeable applications and mission critical services.

 The inherent flexibility is important for the network to operate reliably in licensed and licensed-exempt frequency bands and efficient support of low data rates, as well as broadband services.

Instrumental to realising this vision, is the development of the world’s first large scale 5G experimental facilities, which is currently under construction at the University of Surrey’s Guildford Campus.

“5GIC is in a unique position to deliver next-generation communications through close collaboration with telecommunication world-leaders,” said Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of 5GIC at the University of Surrey.

“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 inter-operability.

“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 testbed will be progressively upgraded as 5G technology begins to emerge, to allow the next wave of applications and services to be explored. 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,” said Tafazolli.

5G testbed

The 5G testbed will take just over one year to complete and will be built in three separate phases. The first phase will be operational by April 2015 and will be used collaboratively by 5GIC researchers and industry partners to develop and test advanced technologies and actively contribute to shaping of communications standards of the future.

Upon completion, scheduled for September 2015, the testbed is expected to deliver a live 5G infrastructure network covering the whole of the University of Surrey campus, providing nearly 17,000 students and staff with the latest communications technology. The plan is to demonstrate 5G technologies before 2018. 

Partners

The event also saw industry leaders Huawei, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe and Vodafone outline their strategies for 5G:

Dr. Tong Wen, CTO of Huawei Wireless Networks, said: “Huawei is committed to researching and developing future technologies that help build better connected societies, businesses and economies. 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.”

Fujitsu’s contribution to the 5GIC testbed involves providing the cloud computing resources necessary to enable the development, experimentation, and verification of innovative human centric solutions, based on state-of-the-art information analytics that use content and context awareness, big data, and social networking data. 

This will be combined with Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe’s expertise in context and content-aware edge networking, distributed virtualised and software-defined networking functionality, as well as the next generation wireless access capabilities from 5GIC and its partners.

The objective is to enable end-to-end testing and extensive experimentation across the new generation of user-centric services and applications, as well as verifying the capability and performance of 5G-ICT infrastructure technologies.

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone’s Head of Research and Development, said: “The facilities at the University of Surrey give us a unique opportunity to evaluate 5G technology and experiment with ideas. 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.”

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