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King's academics carry out first test of live pre-standard 5G

Posted on 11/01/2018

Researchers and engineers at King’s Centre for Telecommunications Research, supported by King's IT staff, have enabled the first successful UK test of standalone pre-standard 5G, using an Ericsson prototype device with King’s advanced 5G networking technology and Vodafone’s 3.5 GHz spectrum in central London. Until now, no one in the UK has shown pre-standard 5G working independently of existing 4G network technologies and this is an initial step in further collaborative work between the three parties.

King’s was involved in showcasing a number of technologies, including Massive MIMO – the key building block for 5G. Massive MIMO uses a large number of antennae to send and receive data more efficiently to boost capacity where lots of people simultaneously connect to the network.

The project is also combining or ‘aggregating’ different bands of mobile spectrums across the UK to increase capacity and data speeds. Combining four bands of spectrum, for example, enables the latest smartphones to achieve data speeds in excess of 500 megabits per second (Mbps). These fast and ultra-reliable technologies are becoming essential for data-hungry video applications and as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands into people’s homes, vehicles and the workplace.

Vodafone will now continue to test 5G technology and evaluate opportunities to provide better services to its consumers and businesses prior to its commercial deployment from 2020. The live trials will help to establish the innovative uses of 5G services that will benefit both industry and society in the future – in areas such as factory automation, smart energy grids and remote surgery.

Mischa Dohler, Professor of Wireless Communications and Director of the Centre for Telecommunications Research at King’s College London, said: “We are immensely proud to support two of the industry’s biggest names in one of the most exciting technology trials of our era. It is the product of years’ long engagement with both Ericsson and Vodafone, and testimony to King’s incredible research and innovation capabilities. To be the first in the UK to showcase live a technology which will fundamentally change our society for the better, is very humbling. We are very proud that King’s has become a global go-to-place for industries regarding 5G innovation, design and delivery.”

Vodafone UK Head of Networks Kye Prigg said: “We’re delighted to be the first provider to test standalone 5G in the field, however, building a 5G network will take time. Right now, we’re also modernizing our network by making smarter use of our existing mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile coverage our customers deserve.

“5G also needs fiber optic cables. Together with CityFibre, we will soon start work installing the advanced fiber networks providing high-capacity backhaul connections required for 5G mobile services.”

Marielle Lindgren, Head of Ericsson in the UK and Ireland, added: “Supporting our customers in making 5G a reality is key for us. This is a live trial in a densely populated central London urban area and the first time in the UK that we’ve been able to show pre-standard 5G working independently. We remain committed to advancing 5G development in the UK, working closely with leading operators and ecosystem players to enable global scale and drive the industry in one common direction.”

This work is the latest example of exceptional partnerships on 5G research at King’s thanks to funding from industry and UK Government, including the EPSRC.

Read the full press release

For media enquiries please contact Claire Gilby, PR Manager (Arts & Sciences) at King's College London on 0207 848 3092 or email claire.gilby@kcl.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

The Centre for Telecommunications Research (CTR) is a dynamic research centre, drawing talented researchers from the world over and reacting rapidly to the changing technological landscape. Some 50 researchers are currently working within the centre, including academic staff, research staff, research students, and visiting academics. CTR is linking its research base to the wider economical implications of telecommunications technology. It is now widely acknowledged that the next generation of leaders in the complex environment of telecommunications will need to acquire strong business acumen, management and leadership skills.

For further information about King's, please visit the King's in brief web pages.

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