In case you didn’t know, speed is everything. Or at least that’s what all the big carrier and OEM companies would like you to believe. They all seem infatuated with speed at the moment and being the first to deliver the fastest speed possible. This is currently largely being bantered around with the new ‘5G’ buzz word. Which all seems a little strange when you consider that much of the world is still coming to terms with 4G LTE. In fact, at present and while the companies battle for 5G, most of the world has still not reached 4G yet. Instead, operating on the now “dated” 3G networks. You would assume companies would be interested in making sure the playing surface was level with everyone (their customers) running on 4G. But as with technology in general, companies typically look beyond the current situation and fixate over what will be in the future and not where we are currently.
With that said, it is still not even clear what 5G actually is or what it will be used for. Will it simply be the speed of how quickly you download a song, a film or update your social status? Is it more of an intelligent type of connection? While the future of 5G remains currently unclear Samsung seem very keen to get the ball rolling. Recently they even managed to demonstrate 5G with speeds of 4.6Gbps in a test environment. Nokia also back in September announced they too were in the process of working on a test network. To add to the ever-growing list Huawei are also another one who seem very keen on getting in on the action. Last year (in fact a year ago tomorrow) Huawei announced they were investing $600 million in 5G research and innovation by 2018. Now today it seems at least £5 million of that amount is going towards a research center in the UK.
The 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) based at the University of Surrey is aiming to perform real-world testing instead of the more typical lab based testing we have seen from Samsung and the others. As such the research unit hopes to create real-life 5G capabilities over three stages, with the first ‘test bed’ stage expected to be completed by April 2015 and operational by September 2015. By this time, it is expected that the University of Surrey will have a working 5G infrastructure across the entire campus. Whether this real-world environment will result in students and staff even able to utilize the promised 10Gbps download speeds is unclear. However omitting any delays, this will help both Huawei’s and the UK’s attempts at delivery working 5G services in their respective 2018 and 2022 self-imposed time-frames. So what do you think about 5G? Are you looking forward to it or still see it as a pipe dream?