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UPDATE University of Surrey Claims 1Tbps Speed via 5G Mobile Technology

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 (2:36 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 9,569)
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Researchers working on the future 5th generation (5G) of Mobile Broadband technology at the University of Surrey in England claim to have achieved a staggering transfer speed of 1Tbps (Terabit per second), or 1,000,000Mbps (Megabits) in more familiar language, over their candidate technology.

The claimed performance, which is far in advance of the 10Gbps to 50Gbps (Gigabits per second) that is so often mooted when talking about 5G solutions, is well ahead of even Samsung’s rival 5G test that last year achieved 7.5Gbps (here). But Samsung’s test was conducted outside of the laboratory (technically still a “lab test“) and involved a car moving at 60MPH (note: performance dropped to 1.2Gbps when in motion) over a distance of 4.35km and using the 28GHz radio spectrum band.

By comparison we know precious little about the Surrey test, except for a rough V3 report stating that the performance was achieved over a fairly short distance of 100 metres via new transmitters and receivers.

Suffice to say that we’ll have our doubts about the 1Tbps claim until we can see a practical demonstration being conducted in public. Apparently the plan is to take the technology outside of the lab for testing between 2016 and 2017, which would be followed by a public demo in early 2018.

Naturally we wanted to know more, not least with regards to whether Professor Rahim Tafazolli, who leads the project, could tell us what radio spectrum bands were used and whether their approach involved using millimeter wave (mmW) frequency bands to enable the use of higher frequencies over greater distances (a lot of other 5G solutions are using this).

Professor Rahim Tafazolli told ISPreview.co.uk:

The technique is independent of centre frequency whether mm wave or below 6GHz. It is a new detector that works really well in environments where there is a lot of interference I.e dense cells (for example cells of ~100m) and cells with lots of interfering antennas like massive MIMO. The indicated rate was measured in 100MHz of bandwidth.”

Surrey University is of course home to the United Kingdom’s 5G Innovation Centre, which was setup in 2012 with a huge bag of public funding (here and here) so as to help the country develop its own contender for the next generation Mobile Broadband standard. But the 5GIC currently represents just one of multiple different teams from around the world that claim to be working on a 5G solution (another example here).

Crucially a firm standard for the future technology has yet to even be defined, while Ofcom must also conduct a lengthy process of spectrum reorganisation and auctions in order to find and release the necessary radio frequency bands (hard to do when 5G is still so experimental). The Government currently aims to release 500MHz of public sector spectrum by 2020 and most of this is for bands below 5GHz. Put another way, very few expect a commercial 5G deployment to begin before 2020.

Never the less the 5GIC has plenty of supporters, including most of the major UK mobile operators, plus BT, Huawei, Fujitsu, the BBC and of course Samsung itself; not to mention various others like Ofcom and the ITRI etc.

Certainly Professor Rahim Tafazolli makes no secret of wanting “to be the first in the world to show such high speeds” and so far they appear to be going in the right direction, but the road to turning such prototypes into a battery efficient commercial solution, which could slot into existing mobile infrastructure, is still very far off indeed.

Never the less it’s worth pointing out that the Government of South Korea has already committed an eye watering £940m to roll-out its own 5G service, with trials due by December 2017 and a commercial deployment set for 2020. Countries like South Korea and Japan have often been ahead of everybody else in the mobile field, but perhaps this time we won’t be so far behind and some of what the UK builds might actually form a meaningful part of the future standard.

As ever the performance that consumers can ultimately expect to receive will no doubt be a lot lower than the headline claims being made today and in the meantime existing 4G (LTE-Advanced) technology still has plenty of room to grow, with the service continuing to get faster and faster via new upgrades.

UPDATE 25th Feb 2015

We’ve been finding the 1Tbps claim a little difficult to digest and so have been prodding Professor Rahim Tafazolli for further details, specifically a greater clarification of how the performance was achieved.

According to Tafazolli, the new class of Detector (a completely new approach) was tested through computer simulations (these simulated a real mobile/wireless environment) and were found to achieve the 1Tbps rate claimed. In our view that’s quite a bit different from conducting a practical test.

Next year Tafazolli said that his team would work to implement this in a proper hardware/software platform and test it in a real environment in the 5GIC outdoor testbed. Hopefully they will be able to announce the performance in 2017.

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11 Responses
  1. Good on them!

    I went on a tour to the Space Centre some moons ago. Their radio transmission and antenna tests interested me significantly. Unfortunately, they couldn’t tell me that much (due to what I now suspect would be commercial confidentiality)

  2. Dmitry Turbiner

    RIDICULOUS!!!!

    This so called ‘professor’ allegedly built a system that can operate at 69000 dB SNR.
    What a load of bulls**t!!

    By Shannon’s capacity theorem:
    C = B*log2(1+SNR)
    with C=1e12 (1Tbps), B=100e6 (100MHz of spectrum)

    you get:
    SNR = 2e3000 = 69000 dB (!!!)

    Listen, wireline/optical comm links, which have considerably better SNR’s than radio-links, achieve typically 1, 2, 4 bits/hz of spectrum. CATV achieve maybe 10 even 12 bits/hz.
    BUT NOT 10000 bits/hz, RIDICULOUS!!

    No wonder he doesn’t want to give any details regarding his setup..

    • DTMark

      Is that the same “Shannon” that came up with the badly flawed theory about music sampling rates, asserting that the human ear can distinguish no difference with audio sampled above 44.1/16bit?

      😉

    • TheFacts

      Why ‘so called’?

    • Vapasin

      Thanks Dmitry for the analysis. That’s very interesting to see that how people are making false claims where even broadcast on websites like BBC. I know that they even don’t have wired (fiber optic) infrastructure to achieve this rate, forget about wireless. The best achieved rate in their so called lab using Airoflex TM500 testbed is less than 100 Mbps DL for CAT4, where it is expected to be 150 Mbps, and even this is via RF cables, not wireless.
      Amazing joke from this so called “Professor”, definitely he is enjoying making fun of all telecom industry, thanks for the funding brought in by 5G partners…

    • Joshua

      I know people working on this project. This is the aggregate speed of 1000 users with a massive MIMO uplink 1000×1000 or similar. And this is mostly done on computer simulations. I’m not sure how much this simulation model resemble real life scenarios.

      In short, this is an utter farce to impress the non-technical public. It is shameful that a claim like that is made from a university and it is not verified by people like the BBC. If I’m wrong, give us the proof.

  3. hmm

    just be nice to get a stable 3g signal my area

  4. Thanks to Mark Jackson for trying to dig into what’s going on here. Most journalists and news reports have simply presented the story without any context, and without trying to dig into the questions that need to be asked.

  5. the 5G technology is said to be having speed more than that of 4G by some 65,000 times..that’s really too huge to be true…i hope it is true..

  6. Jarth

    Check http://www.artemis.com/pcell for what i suspect is the real magic behind this achievement.

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