Look to the future with 5G technology

Professor Bal Virdee organised a high-profile conference to discuss plans for the rollout of 5G mobile internet

Date: 19 February 2019

Professor Bal Virdee, Director of London Metropolitan University’s Centre for Communications Technology, brought together industry leaders, academia and decision-making government officials to discuss the latest advances in 5G technology and challenges in its deployment.

2019 is set to be a huge year for the mobile phone industry with a series of 5G handsets being prepared for launch. Although many believe we won’t see wide adoption until 2020, the revolution will begin this year.

5G will bring home broadband speeds - and faster - to mobile phones and devices. In lab tests, 5G was found to be 100 times faster than 4G. Of course in the real world, it’s unlikely to achieve this level of performance, but even if it only reached 200-300 megabits per second (mpbs) that’s still faster than most people have at home.

With the advent of phones with 4K streaming capabilities, the current mobile network is under great strain and the upgrade to 5G is greatly needed, according to Professor Virdee: “The 4G network can’t cope so there is more demand for more data and more bandwidth and faster internet.”

“We need to create a new technology which can withstand the current level of data usage and accommodate for the future needs. 5G doesn’t just mean faster speeds, it paves the way for brand new services and tech startups to emerge, many of which are being developed and emerging from multiple research programmes currently being driven forward by universities, governments, vendors and operators.”

Planning for the future

Held at IET Savoy Place in January, the event aimed to examine 5G technologies and applications for the benefit of society.

At the conference, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced its intention to continue funding 5G testbeds and trials programme in the UK, a move welcomed by Professor Virdee “These trials are essential to thoroughly test the system in both urban and rural areas to identify and eradicate technical challenges before the 5G mobile communications system is rolled out by telecommunications operators in 2020.”

“This strategy should accelerate the deployment of 5G networks, ensure that the UK can take early advantage of the applications those networks can enable, maximise the productivity and efficiency benefits to the UK from 5G, create new opportunities for UK businesses at home and abroad, and encourage inward investment.”

A full list of delegates in attendance:

  • Prof Maziar Nekovee, Professor of Telecommunication and Mobile Technologies, Head of Department of Engineering and Design, University of Sussex
  • Dr Reza Karimi, Director, Huawei Technologies
  • Prof Bal Virdee, IET TPN Chair, Centre for Communications Technology, London Metropolitan University
  • Tim Lane, Principal Strategy and Innovation Manager, Network Rail
  • Bob Driver, Director, UK5G
  • Tony Sceales, 5G Programme Development Lead, Department of Culture Media & Sport
  • Prof Dimitra Simeonidou, Professor of High-Performance Networks, University of Bristol
  • Prof Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect for 5G, BT
  • Dr Yue Wang, Principal 5G Engineer, Samsung
  • Philip Christian, Principal Security Adviser, BT
  • Kostas Katsaros, 5G Technologist, Digital Catapult
  • Dr Kafil Ahmed, Network Rail
Delegates at 5G conference