University of Surrey with some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Samsung and Fujitsu have joined hands to offer mobile internet speeds more than 100 times faster than anything now available. The work carried by them on fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless technology is set to be completed in early 2018 and would, for example, let students download entire movies to smartphones or tablets in less than five seconds, compared with as much as eight minutes with current 4G technology .
Companies also could connect millions of devices – including smartwatches and tiny sensors on home appliances – to the new cellphone network, and automakers could potentially test driverless cars around the suburban campus.
Rahim Tafazolli, director of the university’s research center that oversees the 5G project, which includes almost 70 powerful radio antennas around the campus, said “A lot of the technology already works in a laboratory environment.”
Tafazolli and his team is at the heart of a heated race, with many of the world’s largest carriers, like AT&T and NTT DoCoMo of Japan, rushing to be the first to offer customers this next-generation ultrafast wireless technology. The competition has led to research worth billions of dollars from telecommunications equipment makers like Ericsson of Sweden and Huawei of China, which are hoping to secure lucrative contracts to upgrade the mobile internet infrastructure of operators like AT&T from the United States and China Mobile in Asia.
A global standard for 5G wireless technology will not be finished before 2019, at the earliest. Companies worldwide must agree on how their networks talk to each other, so users’ mobile connections do not become patchy when traveling overseas.
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