5G development not a search for the 'killer app'

5G development not a search for the ‘killer app’

24 APR 2014

LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL ANALYST SUMMIT 2014: 5G networks need to be designed with a different mindset to previous generation technologies, with the focus being on enabling the most effective access to a wide range of content and services rather than being distracted by the search for a ‘killer app’, Rahim Tafazolli (pictured), director of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, said.

“3G and 4G were designed around specific services. And we always got it wrong. 5G should not be designed like that – I know there is so much discussion about video making up 66 per cent of the traffic – but it should not be designed around any specific service,” the academic noted.

“Everything on the internet is important. High data rate, low data rate, low latency and more relaxed latency. In the 5G Innovation Centre, our approach to 5G is that it should always provide sufficient rates. It will not be differentiated by the higher speeds: it will be higher speed, but for the right reasons. And this is to give the user the perception of ‘infinite capacity’,” he continued.

This echoed an earlier presentation from Huawei 5G expert Tong Wen, who said that among the attributes of 5G technology will be the ability to provision variable sized channels to different applications, from very narrow for internet of things (IoT) applications to very wide for virtual reality content.

Tafazolli also said that the way in which 5G research is being approached has evolved. “We start everything from the user’s perspective. The quality of experience is important. This is completely different to the way that 2G, 3G and 4G were designed. Our starting point is the user,” he said.

Other differences Tafazolli noted are that the network is being designed with a high density of cells in mind at the outset, rather than focusing initially on the macro network, as has been the case for 3G and 4G.

And he is also expecting the technology to be used in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

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Steve Costello

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