Researchers at the University of Surrey in England have achieved 5G speeds of 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) over 100 metres in the lab - by far the fastest wireless connection to date.
The 5G, or fifth generation, mobile network will eventually replace our current 4G technology, with its comparatively poxy speeds of around 15 Mbps, and it's hoped that it will revolutionise how we use mobile devices.
It’s previously been estimated that speeds of 50 Gbps could be achieved on the 5G network, but now the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) has gone and smashed those expectations.
“We have developed 10 more breakthrough technologies and one of them means we can exceed 1Tbps wirelessly,” Professor Rahim Tafazolli, the director of 5GIC, cryptically told Dan Worth for UK technology news site V3. “This is the same capacity as fibre optics but we are doing it wirelessly.”
To put that into perspective, a US Internet provider last year rolled out the fastest home Internet ever in the Minnesotan city of Minneapolis, which reaches speeds of 10 Gbps. So this would be 100 times faster - which means you could download around 100 feature films in less than a second and stream multiple TV shows at once - all from your phone.
However, we’re still a long way from showing that these speeds could be achieved in the real world. The tests were conducted in lab conditions over a distance of 100 metres, using transmitters and receivers created at the university.
The team is now hoping to trial the wireless connection outside of the lab and onto the university campus over the next two years. If all goes to plan they want to open it up to the public in 2018.
But even though the researchers have achieved such impressive speeds, their focus now is on improving the latency, the time it takes for information to travel to its location, and the reliability of the system.
“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,” Tafazolli told Worth.
“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.”
Bring on the future.
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