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5G broadband to serve '50 billion connected devices' by 2020 - Ericsson

Monday, January 12th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A 5G mobile network will be the platform that connects “everything, anywhere”, according to an Ericsson expert.

Speaking to Cable.co.uk at International CES, Ramneek Bali, a technical solutions manager at the company said it would be a 5G network that enables the developments championed at the show – from connected devices and cars to watching TV on mobile devices.

A fifth generation network (5G) is expected to reach commercial mobile networks around 2020, with some experts predicting it will deliver data transfer rates 100 times faster than current 4G networks.

Ericsson has trialled the technology with Japanese carrier NTT Docomo and previously announced its “pre-standard” technology had achieved speeds of 5Gbps.

Mr Bali said: “5G is a network that we are envisioning is going to enable the networked society.

“When we say networked society, basically you've heard of the internet of things, connected devices, connected cars, even high throughput – 5G is going to enable all that.

“We are saying by 2020 there are going to be 50 billion connected devices. The technology has to handle a thousand times more volume than what we have today.

‘We are looking at handling more capacity in 5G because we're seeing more and more devices will be connected.

“It's exciting, it's a platform we are going to provide to everyone to basically connect everything, anywhere. That's the vision we have for 5G.”

Licensed Assisted Access

Mr Bali said 5G will not only bring high data transfer rates, but will enable machine-to-machine communication, including things like robotic surgery where low latency (the time taken for packets of data to reach their destination) is vital.

He added: “At CES you see all the connected devices: this technology is going enable all of that. Connected devices, high throughput, another area we are looking into is TV everywhere.

“More and more people are consuming media on their devices, so we are looking at use cases where TV should be part of the 5G.”

Ericsson previously announced Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), which uses the unlicensed spectrum to boost data speeds for smartphones and mobile devices.

The technology means people will have the security and reliability of cellular networks, with a boost from the unlicensed spectrum more commonly used by wi-fi, Mr Bali said.

“The advantage of cellular is the quality of service. Wi-fi cannot give you the quality of service that cellular can give you.

“Anybody can deploy it, there's no quality of service. It's a first-come first-served basis.”

As previously reported, some mobile industry insiders have warned that the UK will not be an early adopter of 5G technology.

A spokesperson for O2 told Cable.co.uk: "It may be that some countries have earlier demands and industrial policies that may lead to earlier adoption of 5G.”

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