It's widely accepted that the arrival of 5G internet will have more impact on the world than 4G had, and institutions are looking into developing the technology and planning uses for it. The latest announcement has come from the University of Sussex, where researchers have found 5G might be able to reach speeds 100 times faster than current broadband.
The research was carried out by the university in conjunction with telecoms firm Plum, and involved measuring the capability of 5G signals indoors. These tests are some of the first conducted on 5G, and will be an important step in developing the technology and spotting any issues early in the process.
These tests were conducted using the 3.5 GHz spectrum, which was auctioned off by Ofcom recently to UK investors looking to construct 5G networks. The fact that the researchers were able to achieve such high speeds bodes well for the future of the technology.
One of the main factors that was being tested was how the 5G signals interacted with objects around them, such as furniture or trees. This is an important aspect of designing internet for use indoors, as if a signal is heavily disrupted by something like a wall, it will not be fit for purpose.
The results of the tests were positive in this regard. Richard Rudd, director at Plum Consultancy, said: "Customers rightly will want assurances about the effectiveness of 5G in a real-life setting and the University of Sussex provides an excellent setting for such a test.
"The recent tests provided data which is allowing us to model the complicated ways in which the signals interact with buildings and trees, so that indoor signal coverage can be predicted with more confidence."
Of course, there is a big difference between lab conditions and somebody's house, and it's unlikely that consumers will be able to see broadband speeds 100 times faster than current speeds. However, there are still some promising figures from the research, suggesting 5G will be 20 times faster than 4G for customers.
There is also the probability of 5G Fixed-Wireless Access technology becoming the norm. This would involve a single mobile base station, which would then wirelessly provide high-speed internet to several nearby properties, with peak speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps).
It is thought this could be a practical method for getting high-speed broadband to isolated, rural areas where it is difficult to lay fibre cables. Mobile base stations could provide internet wirelessly, allowing hard-to-reach areas to access top-quality broadband.
This is just one example of how 5G could transform the world. Dr Falah Ali, course leader of the International Masters in 5G mobile communications launching at the University of Sussex later this year, said: "5G is much more than just evolution to the next generation of mobile communications technology.
"It will empower new functionalities for people, society and enterprises. It is expected to provide fibre-like data rate with massive system capacity and ultra-reliable and extreme real-time communications vital for many emerging applications including the Internet-of-things, driverless cars, virtual reality, eHealth, tactile internet, and smart cities."