At the second annual Brooklyn 5G summit Nokia Networks has demonstrated the power of new technology that can deliver speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) – around 40 times the fastest speeds currently possible on 4G – paving the way for 5G, the next generation of mobile internet. Samsung tested a similar technology earlier in the year which achieved peak speeds of 7.5Gbps.
Nokia Networks has partnered with National Instruments to create what has been described as the fastest cellular technology ever tested. During the tests Nokia sent data over a 73 GHz, or 73,000 MHz frequency, which features wavelengths as small as one millimetre. This frequency is currently only used for radio astronomy, radars on aircraft, and security scanners in airports. In comparison today’s 4G networks use frequencies between 700 MHz and 3,500 MHz.
The use of new spectrum bands is significant in the development of 5G as it enables virtually zero delay or latency, enabling a real-time response for activities such as gaming. Latency on 4G averages 40 to 60 milliseconds which is low but not immediate.
What will 5G enable us to do?
The 10 Gbps speeds achieved by Nokia would allow a full length HD film, which currently takes around 13 minutes to download, to be downloaded virtually instantaneously. Video call lag would be practically eliminated, ultra-high definition programmes could be streamed in real time, and consumers would have instant access to games and 3D movies. These sorts of speeds would also make next-generation video and images possible, introducing 8K which is twice as clear as 4K and 16 times as clear as HD.
Are there any downsides to 5G?
The high frequencies required for 5G have historically been deemed unsuitable for mobile use. This is because they can’t travel very far and are easily blocked, for example by buildings. This would mean that 5G would require the installation of a large number of new phone masts with special transceivers capable of providing 5G to a wide area. Some fear that as well as increasing costs this could cause health problems due to a type of electronic smog. The handsets that we use today can’t currently receive signals on such a high frequency, so a great deal of development is necessary before consumers can benefit from 5G.
Accoridng to Lauri Oksanen, vice president of research and technology at Nokia Networks, “At Nokia we strive to expand the human potential of the connected world. 5G mobile network speeds as high as 10Gbps and with extremely low latency are a driving force for massive mobile broadband and totally new applications in the future.”
The Brooklyn 5G Summit is an invitation-only summit for wireless and mobile industry research and development leaders in academia, business, and government. The use of new spectrum bands is a key concern for future 5G networks so the focus of this year’s summit was spectrum assets above 6GHz. The demonstration of the 10Gbps peak rate system was the highlight of the summit, which looked at how these speeds could lead to virtually zero latency to support applications such as tactile Internet, connected cars and augmented reality.