5GIC director says 5G represents such a major change in wireless technology that its successor will be a more iterative upgrade
The director of the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) says the next generation of wireless networks will be so radically different to those that have come before it, there will be no such thing as ‘6G’ in a traditional sense.
Speaking at the official opening of the 5GIC, Professor Rahim Tafazolli said future developments would build on the foundations of 5G, which he expects to serve the market between 2020 and 2040, whereas 2G, 3G and 4G have represented major revolutions over their predecessors.
The defining characteristics of 5G, he said, would be faster speeds, low latency, an impression of “infinite” capacity and a focus on the user rather than specific applications which cannot yet be foreseen.
The connectivity of devices to the Internet are as important as communication between people,” he said. “Industries need to be modernised.
“This demands high reliability, faster network responses (latency), energy efficiency, high capacity, high flexibility to accommodate future unseen applications and it must be cost efficient. This makes 5G a special generation. It will be the first generation of reliable connectivity to the extent we won’t have anything called 6G. 5G will be the first generation and the second generation.
“5G will be the catalyst for the transformation of the economy and connected society.”
Members of the 5GIC include all four major UK operators, equipment manufacturers, device makers and startups and more than 150 people are working on candidate technologies for the 5G standard. These will be tested in proof of concept labs and on the 5GIC’s testbed network, which will offer a full 5G service from 2018.
“The target we’ve set ourselves is latency has to 50 times faster than 4G, reliability 100 times more, energy efficiency 100 times more and capacity of 1,000 times more,” said Tafazolli.
Work has already started on the big data analytics, which are seen as being essential to understanding the user.
“We need techniques to capture user profiling in the wireless network,” he added. “Our mission is to do a step change solution in all parts of the system – the wireless and wired parts.”
What do you know about UK mobile operators? Find out with our quiz!