5G brings more than just speed

Technology developed by researchers allows for new characteristics, such as communication between devices.

Although 4G had just barely made it into Finland, 5G is already a topic of conversation everywhere. Will the old devices soon have to be dumped?

'It will still take time for 5G to come, and even then it will not replace 4G - instead, it will operate parallel to it", emphasises Kalle Ruttik, teaching researcher at Aalto University.

Together with his colleagues at the Department of Communications and Networking he has developed a base station that works with an ordinary PC, in which the processing of the signal involves using software. With its help it is possible to develop and test the new features of 5G, such as machine-to-machine communications.

'In it, two mobile phones can converse directly with each other, for example, with the base station merely guiding the signalling', Ruttik explains.

'In the future, cars, for example, could communicate with each other almost without time lag, averting dangerous situations. It would also enable automatic control of electricity consumption in homes.'

Timely research

Ruttik and his colleagues started the development of the testing platform four years ago with the help of funding from Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

'Nobody actually believed us then', he smiles.

'We were in the right place at the right time and now the rest of industry has also woken up.'

A couple of years ago the group succeeded in getting its test platform to take part in a large EU project called METIS, whose aim is to create a foundation for 5G and the different possibilities that it offers. In March Ruttik presented the test platform at the Ericsson exhibit at the world's largest fair in the mobile field in Barcelona.

'Our aim is not to use the platform that we have developed as an actual base station, even though that would also be possible. Instead, we want to develop and test the new features. Our system also makes it possible to move base stations into the cloud', Ruttik explains.

The 5G technology will not only serve consumer-customers. With the test platform it is possible to develop reliable wireless next-generation transfer technology for the needs of industrial automation, for instance.

According to optimistic assessments, 5G could be in use as early as 2020. The speed of data transfer can be increased at least tenfold by 5G, but the implementation of all of the expectations that were set for the new technology are challenging.

“High data rates, lot of sensors, ultra reliable connections are all going to be provided by 5G networks. To get all the features inside one equipment is difficult equation - usually one of these always suffers’. In future we will see different business cases served with tailored subsets of 5G properties.”  

Large amount of users, high data rates, ultra reliable connections with nearly fee 

'Many users, high data rates, ultra reliable connections are all going to be supported by 5G networks. It is difficult to encompass all the features into one set of equipments. We will see different business cases served with tailored subset of 5G properties”   

Further information:

Teaching researcher Kalle Ruttik
[email protected]
tel. +358 50 3841 734

METIS-project
https://www.metis2020.com/

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