Researchers at the UK’s University of Surrey have achieved mobile data speeds of above 1Tbps, far faster than any previously recorded. Professor Rahim Tafazolli, the director of the university’s state-funded 5G Innovation Centre, told V3 that one of 10 new “breakthrough” technologies developed at the centre had allowed the very high wireless speed.
Tafazolli said the tests were conducted over a 100 metre gap using transmitters and receivers built at the university, although it was not immediately clear whether these could be scaled for commercial use. In October Samsung claimed industry-best 5G speeds of 7.5Gbps, a small fraction of the results apparently achieved in Surrey, which were tens of thousands of times faster than current fourth generation (4G) mobile connections.
Speaking to the BBC in December, Tafazolli said that 5G will represent a “dramatic overhaul and harmonisation of the radio spectrum”. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which regulates the spectrum and reserves radio bands for specific uses, expects 5G to be commercialised around 2020. The ITU believes that 5G will become fundamental to new generations of home security systems, autonomous vehicles, remote medical examination, virtual reality devices and distance learning.
Ultimately, it’s possible that 5G could match fixed-line networks for the speed and reliability of internet connectivity, and then replace them rather as mobile devices have reduced demand for landline telephone infrastructure, particularly in developing economies.