Researchers at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) have achieved data connection speeds of up to one terabit per second (Tbps), thousands of times faster than current 4G connections.
The 5GIC is targeting 2018 as a realistic time to demonstrate the technology to the public and regulator Ofcom has previously earmarked 2020 as a date for public availability in the UK.
Speaking in January, Ofcom’s acting chief executive Steve Unger said: “5G must deliver a further step change in the capacity of wireless networks, over and above that currently being delivered by 4G.”
A 1Tbps connection could allow users to download files at speeds 65,000 times faster than the current average 4G connection; Samsung’s best test speed is currently just over 7 gigabits per second, less than 1% of the speeds by the 5GIC research team and Ofcom had previously predicted 5G speeds of 50Gbps.
Prof Rahim Tafazolli, 5GIC director explained that the team had managed to develop a technology to allow speeds to “exceed 1Tbps wirelessly: this is the same capacity as fibreoptics” but without cabling.
Prof Tafazolli indicated that the centre will continue the research before unveiling to the public and is targeting replication of the speeds in real-life scenarios. He added that whilst the speeds are promising the prospect of commercial 5G is some years away and as such how 5G will support future application from the 2020’s is of priority concern.
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