Researchers achieve 1Tb/sec 5G speeds in lab

Posted Mar 1, 2015 by James Walker
Researchers developing the 5G mobile network technology that will eventually replace 4G have managed to transfer data at a massive 1 Tb/sec in experimental lab conditions, blowing away previous estimates of the potential speed of our future mobiles.
People using smartphones.
People using smartphones.
David van der Mar
Researchers in England at the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre achieved the 1 Terabit per second speeds over a distance of 100 metres in a lab. In comparison, current generation 4G speeds are typically around 15 megabits per second.
Although the remarkable speed was only achieved over a very short distance, it has raised the bar for what the public could expect to see from the technology when it becomes available in the next few years. Previous estimates for 5G indicated that speeds of 50 Gigabits per second could be possible. The researchers' results have proven that 5G can deliver 20 times that performance however.
5G could be available in phones and tablets by 2018 if all goes according to plan. The team at the University of Surrey plan to extend their testing area to cover the entirety of the university campus in the next couple of years.
More work is required in improving the efficiency and reliability of the technology however. There are currently issues with latency at the transmitters and receivers, increasing the time taken for information to arrive. The Innovation Centre remains optimistic for the future though, highlighting how 5G will make future technologies that require a steady stream of large amounts of data possible.
Professor Rahim Tafazolli, the director of the University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre, said: “An important aspect of 5G is how it will support applications in the future. We don’t know what applications will be in use by 2020, or 2030 or 2040 for that matter, but we know they will be highly sensitive to latency. We need to bring end-to-end latency down to below one millisecond so that it can enable new technologies and applications that would just not be possible with 4G.”
The tests show that the future of mobile technologies could be very bright indeed if speeds even 1 percent of what the researchers achieved become available to consumers. To put this into perspective, the fastest broadband connections, currently available only in a handful of cities worldwide, transfer data at this speed, 10 Gigabits per second.