5G and the National Physical Laboratory

The world-renowned National Physical Laboratory (NPL), a global centre of excellence in measurement and materials science, and the University of Surrey have worked closely together since 2006.

This relationship has been further strengthened by the announcement in 2014 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) of a formal strategic relationship between BEIS, NPL, and the University of Surrey and University of Strathclyde to create a national partnership which extends NPL’s reach even further across the UK.

Supplementing the broad relationship with Surrey, NPL also provides specific collaboration in 5G technologies, joining the 5GIC as a member in 2015, bringing technical expertise in a range of critical areas such as:

  • Accurate characterisation of ultra high speed electronic and optical communication equipment
  • Ultra-precision transfer of time standards
  • Satellite data validation
  • Antenna characterisation

In addition to collaboration with the 5GIC NPL plays a wider role in 5G technologies, providing leadership of the EU Euramet Programme, MET5G. This project is developing the traceable metrology and standardisation to improve measurement uncertainties underpinning all aspects of 5G communications, including signals, devices, systems and test environments for emerging 5G technologies. This will give European industry a competitive advantage over global communications manufacturers in the development of solutions to 5G metrological problems.

The University of Surrey and NPL established the Nonlinear Microwave Measurements and Modelling Laboratories (n3m-labs) in 2016. Through n3m-labs, we are able to focus on major research areas that will underpin next-generation information and communications technology. This technology is necessary to establish an effective Internet of Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, and other multi-sensor dependent applications, including Smart Cities. The facilities at n3m-labs will enable these areas to achieve their full potential in the years to come – i.e. during the realisation of what is becoming known as Industry 4.0.

The combination of NPL’s world class metrology expertise coupled with 5GIC’s unique 5G testbed facilities provides a very significant joint asset for UK businesses and future large scale 5G testbeds.

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5G Innovation Centre
University of Surrey