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5G Innovation Centre officially opens at the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey today opens its state-of-the-art 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), securing the UK’s role in leading the development of the next generation communications technology, 5G. 

The 5G Innovation Centre

Housing over 170 researchers and attracting over £70 million of investment, including £12 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the 5GIC is the world’s largest academic research centre dedicated to next generation mobile and wireless connectivity.

The Centre brings together leading academic expertise and major industry partners to define and develop a global 5G network that will radically change lives across the world. Through their work, they have already developed a technology that enables speeds of one terabit per second (Tbps) - more than 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speed, and filed over 15 patents.

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 today 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.”

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The development of 5G presents a significant economic opportunity and this world-leading centre will position the UK at the forefront of research into the next generation of communications technology. The Government wants Britain to be the best place in Europe to innovate and we are committed to supporting collaborations like this one to ensure pioneering research continues to improve people’s lives.”

Video of the future

Opening alongside the Centre is the 5GIC’s new testbed facility, providing researchers with a fully-functioning advanced 4G network. Over time, it will be upgraded to include fully-fledged 5G technologies and large scale Internet of Things (IoT). By 2018 the testbed will be able to deliver 10Gbs/per cell, ten times faster than the highest speed available over 4G.

To demonstrate the potential of the testbed, 5GIC researchers and partners are today unveiling a pioneering wireless technology performing mobile streaming of ultra-high definition video.

Developed in partnership with Huawei, BBC R&D and the 5GIC, ultra-high-definition (4k) video will be streamed to a mobile device over an enhanced outdoor mobile network, providing a first major step in delivering the expected capacity of 5G. 

Professor Rahim Tafazolli explained: “Using evolved hardware and software, the demonstration showed the capabilities 5G could hold for bandwidth hungry applications such as ultra-high definition video on the move. This provides much higher quality, less compressed images than 4G/LTE, streamed to a mobile device or television.”

5G Supporting the Internet of Things (IoT)

Another key demonstration is focussed on the requirement for 5G to provide the necessary “backbone” to connect the billions of devices which will form the future IoT, supporting thousands of devices per square kilometre in addition to smart phone usage. The demonstration shows how a new (5G-Sparse Coding Multiple Access) radio waveform can support at least three times the number of IoT devices than would be possible with 4G. It is a great example of how the newly opened 5GIC testbed can be used to trial real 5G IoT applications, illustrating the level of improvement in network capacity that can be expected from a 5G network.

Notes to Editors

5G Innovation Centre Partners

The 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey brings together leading academic expertise and key industry partners to develop the next generation of wireless technology, 5G. Partners include: EE, Huawei, O2, Vodafone, HEFCE, Enterprise M3, TEOCO Corporation, BBC, BT, Cobham, Anite, Ascom, Catapult Digital, Fujitsu, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Roke, McLaren Applied Technologies, Ofcom, Imagination Technologies, ITRI, MYCOM OSI, Three and Ordnance Survey.

Huawei

Dr. Tong Wen, IEEE fellow, Huawei wireless CTO and 5G principal scientist, said: “Huawei is very pleased to be working as part of the team at the 5GIC. 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. Globally we will work closely with research institutions, operators and small enterprises, to turn the 5G dream into reality. The 5GIC will play an important role in this by helping us start testing foundational 5G technologies as early as possible.”

Telefonica

Dr Mike Short , Vice President of Research & Development at Telefonica  said: “As an industry we have seen significant change in market requirements over the past few years – and our customers now expect to have access to fast mobile connectivity at all times. These changing behaviours, coupled with the rise of wearable technology and the Internet of Things, mean that video and data usage are increasing rapidly. As a result, the development of 5G is going to be absolutely crucial in helping to bring customers the new digital experiences they want in the future.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with leading international companies through our partnership with the University of Surrey, to explore and define how 5G connectivity will influence how we work and play. We are excited to help develop this technology over the coming years.”

EE

Paul Ceely, Head of Network Strategy at EE, said: “This is a great start in the UK's development to become the world leader in 5G. Mobile services become more and more central to businesses and consumers every year, and the 5GIC will be central to building the next generation of wireless connectivity."

TEOCO Corporation

Stephen Bowker, Vice President of Technology and Strategy, TEOCO Corporation, said: “As a Gold Founder member, TEOCO are extremely proud today to see the UK open a world leading global centre of excellence to drive research into 5G and beyond.  TEOCO initially pledged support for this important 5G initiative in August 2012 (as AIRCOM International) which helped the University secure funding from the HEFCE.  Since then we have been active in 5G research providing advanced radio planning, network dimensioning and service assurance capabilities to the 5GIC.  Our market leading TEOCO Helix Service Assurance Suite is being deployed as part of the 5G Internet of Things (IoT) programme helping the UK lead the world to a “Smarter” future.”

Samsung

Chang Yeong Kim, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Multimedia and Communications R&D of Samsung Electronics, said: “Samsung are proud to be a founding partner of the 5GIC. We are sharing our technical expertise in mmWave, Internet of Things and developments in the existing LTE advanced standards to create the next generation of mobile communications. Working with the centre’s researchers and industry partners, Samsung will help bring these new technologies into the global standards arena, putting the UK at the heart of 5G”

Cobham Wireless

Li-Ke Huang, research & technology director at Cobham Wireless, said: “Cobham Wireless is proud to be a 5GIC partner, and supporting this ground-breaking research by participating in the development and validation of the advanced air interface that is essential to power 5G.”

Enterprise M3

Geoff French, Chair of the Enterprise M3 LEP, said: “The opening of this centre is tremendously exciting and is of worldwide significance. The £5million funding which we have contributed to this innovative project is to support SMEs so that they can make the most of the opportunities which emerge from this research and give them a head start on putting these new exciting technologies into operation. The LEP is determined to support innovation and this centre will be a driving force to increase productivity and economic growth.”

Rohde & Schwarz

Roland Steffen, Executive Vice President Test and Measurement at Rohde & Schwarz, said: “We are delighted to contribute our test & measurement expertise to the 5G research programme developed at the 5GIC in Surrey. With a strong global footprint for 4G LTE/LTE-Advanced, Rohde & Schwarz is committed to continuously accompany the evolution from 4G to 5G. We support the 5G vision to give the users the perception of infinite capacity, which will require a very flexible 5G infrastructure and the ability to manage additional spectrum resources in potentially high frequency bands."

Imagination Technologies

Tony King-Smith, EVP marketing, Imagination, said: “Our collaboration with 5GIC is particularly significant, especially as we gear up for the next wave of innovations for a highly connected world.  Imagination will invest significant resources into 5GIC over the next five years, including both people and state-of-the art IP platforms, to help 5GIC develop technologies that will be highly scalable and easily deployable by the widest possible semiconductor, electronics goods and service provider community.”

Ascom

Rikard Lundqvist, Ascom Executive Board Member and General Manager of Ascom Network Testing, said: “We are really excited to be members of the 5GIC’s initiative to establish the next generation of mobile standards.  Our TEMS™ test and monitoring tools have already been deployed at the Centre to ensure the test network environment. We look forward to further opportunities to collaborate.”

Anite

Paul Beaver, Products Director at Anite, said: “5G has the potential to transform wireless communications, however it will be essential to ensure that key technology attributes are appropriately designed and tested, and this is where Anite can play an important role. We are really excited to part of 5GIC, adding Anite’s valuable expertise to help accelerate key research initiatives.”

MYCOM OSI

Payam Taaghol, CEO MYCOM OSI, said: “As a UK headquartered company with 95%+ of our business coming from leading telecoms brands internationally, participation in the UK’s 5GIC will directly benefit our business through improved development of our market-leading telecom network management technology. 5G is more than just another tech upgrade but a big deal which will fundamentally change how we interact with our world, and we are delighted to contribute technology and expertise to help 5GIC lead global efforts in 5G R&D.”

Vodafone

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone’s Group R&D Director said: “Vodafone is proud to be a founding member of the 5G Innovation Centre and we believe it will form a vital part of the UK and European 5G research efforts. A fundamental 5G requirement is to enable compelling new use cases and deliver a level of performance, cost and energy efficiency which is a real “step change” ahead of current mobile technologies. 5GIC has the facilities and world class academic resources to undertake primary research and demonstrate how well the emerging 5G technologies work under real world conditions, in a way which is meaningful for customers. Exciting stuff!”

Media contacts

Amy Sutton

Media Relations Officer (FEPS and FASS)

University of Surrey Press Office

Senate House, University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

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