August 23, 2016 — If cross-company development agreements are any sign, the wireless industry is signaling its intention to bring 5G to a reality sooner than later. Most recently, the hookups include Verizon+SK Telecom, Bell+Nokia in Canada, Huawei+Vodafone, Orange+Nokia, C Spire+Nokia, SK Telecom+Deutsche Telekom+Ericsson. And BT is now researching 5G technologies with Nokia.
“We’ve agreed to work with Nokia on potential customer use cases for 5G technologies, the creation of 5G Proof of Concept (PoC) trials and the development of the emerging technology standards and equipment,” Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service & Operations.
The trials will focus on the technology enablers for 5G including mmWave radio and convergence, as well as potential commercial services including ultrafast mobile broadband, mission-critical services and the Internet of Things. BT said 5G will integrate the best capabilities of fixed and mobile networks to develop networks with multiple gigabit peak rates and latency measured in milliseconds.
“Such speeds would allow for the simultaneous streaming of data-heavy content such as virtual reality or live 360 degree video to any device, while greatly reduced latency would mean truly real-time engagement between remote users and systems,” said Watson. “This is essential for consumer applications such as mobile gaming and major technology advancements like driverless cars.”
However, the two companies believe that the technology’s biggest potential is its ability to improve the flexibility and usability of mobile networks, allowing them to ‘flex’ to meet the specific needs of customers. This might include lower latency to support critical communications, or greater power efficiency and higher bandwidth usage for different applications. This new flexibility will be critical to support new business and consumer services based on IoT, including connected cars, smart cities and remote health monitoring applications.
As a first step in the collaboration, Nokia is currently conducting trials of its latest 5G-ready radio equipment at the BT Labs at Adastral Park, Suffolk. This radio system demonstrates key 5G technology ingredients that are currently in standardization running on Nokia’s AirScale radio access, including an entirely new 5G frame structure and 4 x 100MHz carrier aggregation.