4G technology may be nascent and probably only available in big metropolitan areas around the world, but 5G technology research just got a huge funding boost. If we look at Moore’s Law, the advent of 5G is inevitable—but this funding boost could help 5G become, in many ways, better than 4G.
Surrey University in the United Kingdom just received £35m from mobile operators, infrastructure providers and the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund to further advance research into 5G, and to build an innovation center dedicated to 5G technology. “The boundaries between mobile communication and the Internet are blurring, so the fifth generation is internet on the move,” Prof. Rahim Tafozolli told the BBC. “4G for us is old hat. We started working on 4G 10 years ago.”
With data usage soaring as more and more people gain access to mobile wireless technology, Internet service providers (ISPs) have been putting data caps on consumers to prevent excessive data usage. This is because ISPs are facing increasing costs by purchasing bandwidth to meet consumer demands for more and more data. Tafozolli stressed the need to solve this problem. “It looks like every year the traffic is doubling. Unfortunately, capacity is not doubling every year. We need to come up with technology, within the limited radio spectrum that we have, to accommodate this huge surge.”
“We are facing systems which are too expensive. We need something extremely energy efficient and cost efficient,” he added.
However, Tafozolli said that 4G is working fine and not to expect 5G any time before 2020 at least. “What we have is good for the next 10 years. We need to be progressive, we can’t be complacent, the area is extremely dynamic.”