July 31, 2014

EE is looking towards a 5G future

EE is looking towards a 5G future

Will EE be first off the blocks with 5G!

We’re used to EE being ahead of the game but it’s got its sights set way beyond just finishing its 4G roll out and even beyond the 4G LTE-A service that it’s trialling. In fact the network is looking all the way towards 5G.

EE is a member of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey and as such it’s heavily involved in research into future networking technologies, with a focus on the successor to 4G, known as 5G.

It’s expected that 5G could start rolling out in some parts of the world by 2020 and according to EE we could be looking at a 5G network with speeds and capacities of between 1000 and 5000 times more than what we’re seeing on 4G networks in just ten years’ time.

The network explains that it’s likely to be made up of cells which support peak rates of between 10 and 100Gbps, so in short mobile internet speeds could vastly outperform even the fastest fixed line broadband connections of today.

But this may be necessary as mobile data is being used ever more by ever more people and devices and as Ultra HD videos arrive speeds will need to be faster than they are now to reliably stream them. Then there’s the ever growing internet of things and the smart homes that are likely to start appearing, all of which will require constantly connected devices which means that networks will need increased capacity.

EE has also pointed out a few other interesting aspects of how our 5G future might look. According to Professor Andy Sutton, EE’s principal network architect, communications infrastructure could be implemented into buildings.

“Imagine a scenario where you’re putting up a new building and there are a number of bricks in that building. Why don’t we replace a number of those bricks with things that look like bricks, but are actually mobile transmitters?” Says Sutton, continuing that “communications infrastructure can also be integrated into lamp posts.”

5G may also be the last major mobile network overhaul we get, as following that we may see more gradual improvements. “There may not be a 6G if we can get 5G right. We may change the way we evolve networks from that major generational shift to a more subtle evolution of capacity and capability” says Sutton.

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