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Huawei Expect 5G Mobile Broadband to Give Everybody Speeds of 10Gbps

Friday, June 21st, 2013 (2:05 pm) - Score 1,977

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has said that the next generation of 5G based Mobile Broadband technology, which it says should “emerge in the market between 2020 and 2030“, will ultimately allow “every person” to access wireless internet download speeds of 10Gbps (Gigabits per second) via their mobile operator.

Huawei is one of several major companies, governments and educational institutions that have joined various research and developments initiatives, such as the UK’s £35 million 5G Centre and Europe’s related £43 million project (here), to help develop the next generation of mobile data and voice connectivity.

But the company, which now claims to be the “driving force” behind 5G development, has this week become one of the first to speak more frankly and specifically about its aims and expectations. However even Huawei has had to admit that at least some of the work being conducted now might not actually turn up in new standards for another decade.

Dr. Wen Tong, Head of Huawei’s Communications Tech Labs, said:

5G wireless will, first of all, open the frontiers of a new end-user experience. For example, visual communication will become the mainstream, and people will use wireless devices to interact instantly with people remotely, as if they were meeting face-to-face. 5G wireless will also wirelessly connect an enormous number of “things” to the network. Therefore, in combination with cloud computing and Big Data technologies, we can essentially automate the entire society.

There are a lot of innovations that need to be created and a lot of technology challenges need to be overcome to create 5G solutions. At Huawei, our researchers are studying the new radio link technologies and new radio access network architecture. We are also working on prototyping and have conducted field trials on cloud-based radio access networks (so called Cloud-RAN). We are playing a leading role in 5G wireless technology development“.

In reality it should be said that mobile data capacity is an expensive game and 5G’s now apparently official aim to deliver 10Gbps speeds won’t be something that everybody enjoys as this will still need to be shared between many users; how many will depend upon the mobile operators and their economic models.

For example, today’s 4G (LTE) networks initially started out with a peak capacity of around 100-150Mbps but individual users would naturally experience anything from an average of 4-20Mbps depending on all sorts of factors (time of day, signal quality, type of online activity, local node capacity, base station hardware etc.).

The next upgrade of LTE-Advanced (i.e. true 4G) can do speeds of up to 1Gbps or maybe more but again this will be shared and the chipset in your phone or modem won’t be able to cope with such performance for a while. Never the less capacity supplies, which are increasingly being fed by ever fatter fibre optic pipes, are improving and eventually 5G will surely become viable.

Meanwhile Ofcom’s aim for the United Kingdom is to free up the 700MHz band (currently used by digital terrestrial TV and that would have to be swapped to 600MHz instead) by at least 2018 or 2020 (here). Whether the first iteration of a new 5G standard will actually be ready by then is still difficult to know as the ground work has only just begun and a lot of firms with differing ideas have thrown their hats into the ring.

In the meantime let’s just get 4G rolled out from all the major operators.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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