Huawei plans to invest £5 million ($8 million) in University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre to develop the world’s first 5G test bed. The Chinese vendor has long been a strong proponent of research into the future mobile technology.
The test bed will take about one year to complete and will be built in three phases. The first phase will be operational by next April and will be used collaboratively by researchers and industry partners to develop and test advanced technologies.
The England-based centre, which has 11 founding members, was first touted in 2013 and intends to be the leading independent facility for researching and trialling 5G technologies. However, it’s important to note that no technical definition or standard yet exists for 5G, with official ratification not expected for a few years.
Professor Rahim Tafazolli (pictured), head of the centre, said the test bed will be used to develop proof of concepts, validate standards and test vendor interoperability.
“It will be progressively upgraded as 5G technology emerges to allow the next wave of applications and services to be explored. The facility is open to partners from anywhere in the world, and we will also be introducing a low-cost way for SMEs and startups to test their innovations for 5G compatibility and showcase their products to a wider audience,” he said.
The first phase will focus on initiating and verifying a cloud-based radio access network “for an ultra-dense network demonstrating unprecedented capacity to end-users.” This will aim to lead to the verification of the new waveform designed for 5G, including sparse code multiple access (SCMA).
Upon completion next September, the test bed is expected to deliver a supposed live 5G infrastructure network covering the entire University of Surrey campus with nearly 17,000 students and staff. The plan is to demonstrate 5G technologies before 2018.