Ericsson’s latest test of a prototype 5G network in Moscow has produced data rates 100 times faster than anything we’ve seen before.
Phones on the network were able to process data at staggering 25Gbps speeds.
A 25Gbps connection promises all manner of exciting possibilities, including:
- Transferring multiple large and complex files between phones seamlessly and near-instantly
- Hosting high-definition video conference calls
- Playing games or share work in real-time between multiple users
- Downloading an Ultra-HD movie (500Gb) in under 3 minutes
- Uploading a 10 minute video at 1080p resolution in less than a second
To put that into context, if you’re accessing the internet on a 4G phone, you’ll be reaching peak speeds of around 40Mbps.
That makes Ericsson’s 5G 625 times faster than the current 4G standard.
These results are based on real-world testing and not theoretical maximums, but it’s worth noting that these are prototype tests that don’t have to deal with the issue of network congestion.
These speeds are well above the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance’s proposed goal of between 1Gbps and 10Gbps for the 5G standard.
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg told audiences at the 2017 Mobile World Congress he expects that five years from now 150 million users to be on next-generation 5G networks.
“We believe in 2021 there will 150 million subscribers for 5G. We are going to see pre-commercial 5G networks before that.”
There is still capacity on 4G, with around a third of mobile users – a billion phones in total – using the current fastest available connections.
These speeds could even facilitate the transition to self-driving cars and an expansive Internet of Things – allowing for an explosion in the potential of ‘smart’ devices.
5G is still very much in its testing phase and is yet to be standardised, but a commercial rollout is predicted to commence in 2020.
What’s the latest UK 5G news?
In the UK, Samsung and Arqiva will be testing their 5G network in London later this year, Three are working on a 5G ‘fixed-wireless’ alternative to home broadband, O2 are currently working on self-driving cars between Oxford and London and BT are conducting research on 5G ‘network slicing’ technology at their research labs near Ipswich.
This extensive and varied field of research indicates that the UK could be among the first countries to start benefiting from 5G. This would be a welcome change as the UK’s 4G capabilities don’t even rank in the top 50 worldwide.
These latest results from Ericsson suggest that the predicted 2020 rollout is certainly attainable.
Major metropolitan areas like central London are likely to see the first of the 5G networks but maximising coverage is a high priority in the proposed 5G standards, so other areas shouldn’t have to wait too much longer for the rollout to reach them.
MAIN IMAGE: Head of Ericsson Research, Sara Mazur, in the Ericsson 5G Lab