The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) officially launched last month and, housing over 170 researchers, is the world’s largest academic research centre dedicated to next generation mobile and wireless connectivity. The 5GIC attracted £70 million of investment, including £12 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
At the opening ceremony, technology partner Huawei streamed UHD 4K video and a range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications over a 5G air interface on the test bed it has helped install.
The Centre brings together academic expertise and major industry partners to define and develop a global 5G network. Through their work, they have already developed a technology that enables speeds of one terabit per second, more than 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speed, and filed over 15 patents.
Huawei, one of the founding members of the centre, was represented at the launch by 5G scientist Dr Tong Wen. Speaking from the University of Surrey campus, he noted, “We are committed to researching and developing future technologies that help build better connected societies, businesses and economies, and ensuring 5G is a success is essential in achieving this. The 5GIC will play an important role in this by helping us start testing foundational 5G technologies as early as possible.”
Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the 5GIC, said: “While we have already achieved record-breaking speeds, 5G is not only about delivering faster mobile internet. It is a transformative set of technologies that will radically change our private and professional lives by enabling innovative applications and services, such as remote healthcare, wireless robots, driverless cars and connected homes and cities, removing boundaries between the real and cyber worlds. These capabilities make 5G a ‘special generation’ of connectivity.
“The true impact of 5G will come from the innovative applications the new network will enable, some of which are yet to be realised. The opening of the Centre marks an important step in allowing those from across the globe to work with us in developing the new network and for partners, other universities and industry to test out their new applications in a real world setting, before they are brought to market.
“The ethos of the Centre is not built on competition but cooperation. 5G will be achieved through global collaboration so that everyone will benefit from working to a single standard. This technology will then be commercialised from 2020, driving economic development and research for the UK, while delivering research that will impact the world.”