Published: 04 November 2014

University of Surrey announces vision for 5G alongside major industry partners

At an event in London today, the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) shared its vision for the future of 5G technologies with an overview of its achievements so far, alongside industry partners including Huawei, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe and Vodafone.

It is one year since a consortium of industry partners, including Aeroflex, AIRCOM International, BBC, BT, EE, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe, Huawei, Ofcom, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone joined the University of Surrey in its ambition to deliver a specialised 5G research and innovation centre, 5GIC. Today, Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of 5GIC, revealed the consortium’s collective vision for 5G and what it will deliver.

It is expected that 5G systems are likely to be commercialised from 2020. 5GIC, in collaboration with its partners, is working towards delivering key advances in communication, sensing and actuation technologies that are user centric. This will include cellular mobile broadband and Internet of Things applications, with 5GIC and its partners’ vision being centred on key developments including, but not exclusively;

Always having sufficient rate to give the user the impression of infinite capacity

The 5G network will intelligently understand the demands of the user from moment to moment, and will effectively allocate resources across networks to ensure that whatever the demand, it delivers instantly.

Internet of Things

To deliver sensing, data analytics and actuation that collectively brings to life new and smart services for modernisation and transformation of vertical industries. The Internet of Things is an integral part of 5G with extreme technical challenges of low-energy consumption, low end to end latency and low-maintenance network.

Very low latency – one msec or less

5G will deliver very low latency,speeds of 10 Gbps or more and flexibility. This will enable seamless support of all kind for services and applications, making it future proof for yet unforeseeable applications and mission critical services. The inherent flexibility is important for the network to operate reliably in licensed and licensed-exempt
frequency bands and efficient support of low data rates, as well as broadband services.

Instrumental to realising this Vision, is the development of the world’s first large scale 5G experimental facilities, which is currently under construction at the University of Surrey’s Guildford Campus.

“5GIC is in a unique position to deliver next-generation communications through close collaboration with telecommunication world-leaders,” said Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of 5GIC at the University of Surrey. “As the world’s leading independent facility for trialling emerging 5G technologies and applications, this test bed will be used for proof of concepts, validate standards and test vendor inter-operability. It will be the first of its kind to test new technologies that will allow for a high capacity, low latency, and energy efficiency and user centric 5G network. It will feed into critical developments in areas such as the Internet of Things and for applications where device battery life is critical.”

“The testbed will be progressively upgraded as 5G technology begins to emerge, to allow the next wave of applications and services to be explored. The facility is open to all members and partners from anywhere in the world, and a low cost means will be introduced for SMEs and startups to test their innovations for 5G compatibility and showcase their products.”

The 5G testbed will take just over one year to complete and will be built in three separate phases. The first phase will be operational by April 2015 and will be used collaboratively by 5GIC researchers and industry partners to develop and test advanced technologies and actively contribute to shaping of communications standards of the future.

Upon completion, scheduled for September 2015, the testbed is expected to deliver a live 5G infrastructure network covering the whole of the University of Surrey campus, providing nearly 17,000 students and staff with the latest communications technology. The plan is to demonstrate 5G technologies before 2018.
The event also saw industry leaders Huawei, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe and Vodafone outline their strategies for 5G:

Dr. Tong Wen, CTO of Huawei Wireless Networks, said: “Huawei is committed to researching and developing future technologies that help build better connected societies, businesses and economies. Making 5G a success will be essential in achieving this. Our work with the 5GIC at the University of Surrey will enable us to test cutting-edge, fifth-generation mobile technologies in an open and collaborative environment, and help to turn the vision of 5G into a reality.”

Fujitsu’s contribution to the 5GIC testbed involves providing the cloud computing resources necessary to enable the development, experimentation, and verification of innovative human centric solutions, based on state-of-the-art information analytics that use content and context awareness, big data, and social networking data. This will be combined with Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe’s expertise in context and content-aware edge networking, distributed virtualised and software-defined networking functionality, as well as the next generation wireless access capabilities from 5GIC and its partners. The objective is to enable end-to-end testing and extensive experimentation across the new generation of user-centric services and applications, as well as verifying the capability and performance of 5G-ICT infrastructure technologies.

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone’s Head of Research and Development, said: “The facilities at the University of Surrey give us a unique opportunity to evaluate 5G technology and experiment with ideas. While 5G is still in the early stages of development, the testbed will enable us to put theory into practice and start developing a blueprint for the highly intelligent mobile networks of the future. “

Editors' Notes

5GIC Member Quotes:

AIRCOM International

Stephen Bowker, VP Technology and Strategy at AIRCOM International (A TEOCO Company), said; “We really welcome the practical approach to 5G taken by the Innovation Centre and all of our partners. By implementing a test network to prove out research ideas using real prototypes prior to standardisation, the 5GIC can focus on ensuring the next generation of mobile will be able to deliver sufficient capacity to support our future smart device world. We are happy to contribute our advanced design, assurance and optimisation tools to help our industry and academic partners.”


Chris Bilton, Research & Technology Director at BT said: “We’re very excited to be part of the 5GIC consortium and, alongside the other partners, we’re aiming to reinforce the UK’s reputation as a world-leader for innovation in communications.

“5G technologies promise a wealth of opportunities for both our customers and for BT. Developments such as Machine to Machine applications, sensor based Internet of Things services and progressive video technologies all hold huge potential to improve lives and boost businesses.

“These research projects will enable us to test that potential in a real-world environment - something that will be crucial to realising the benefits that 5G innovation could bring.”


Dave Salam, Director of Network Strategy at EE said:

“The first year of 5G focused work at the 5GIC has seen some really interesting areas of research starting to emerge, and we are beginning to understand what’s possible from the future of wireless networks.

The building of the 5G testbed at the 5GIC in Surrey will help to keep the UK at the forefront of what is an increasingly important and valuable area of research. As the UK’s 4G leader, we’re delighted to be part of the 5GIC and the 5G test bed, enabling us to try out and test the evolution to the next generation of wireless technology.”


Geoff French, Chair of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership commented: “On behalf of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership Board, I would like to congratulate the University of Surrey and its industry partners on securing the world’s first ever 5G testbed facility.

“Both Enterprise M3 and the UK Government regard 5G mobile communications technology as a valuable and important emerging sector for not only the Enterprise M3 area but for the UK economy as a whole. This is why our £118million Growth Deal with Government, announced early this year, includes an £5million investment in the 5G Innovation Centre. Our hope is that the 5G Innovation Centre will secure the Enterprise M3 area’s position as a world leader in 5G technology.”


“We will continue to develop advanced technologies that contribute to the 5G standard,” said Chang Yeong Kim, Head of DMC R&D Center at Samsung Electronics. “In addition to leveraging our own global R&D capabilities, we will also continue to cooperate with other industry leaders and leading research centers across the world, including the 5GIC at University of Surrey. Whether you are talking about mobile devices, the cloud, or the Internet of Things, the demand for 5G telecommunications standard and its supporting technologies will continue to grow.”

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