5G 'needs flexiblity' in order to change the world

Next-generation 5G networks can’t just be more of the same, leading researcher says.

5G networks will need to be more flexible than ever before in order to cope with a huge surge in connectivity, according to one of the UK’s top experts.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the 5G innovation centre at the University of Surrey, has urged technology providers to work together to ensure the networks will be ready in time.

Speaking at the Huawei Innovation Day event in London today, Professor Tafazolli said that 5G needs to offer more flexibility as consumers and businesses alike look for improved connectivity.

"5G cannot just be more of the same as what 4G or 3G was,” he noted, “it will have to work with 4G.”

“It won't replace 4G (but) 5G is transformative technology...it's more important to connect devices together than to connect people,” Professor Tafazolli added, saying that 5G would be able to power all kinds of industry sectors.

"Every ten years, we are witnessing a new generation coming,” he added, “and the time between the new generations is getting shorter.”

“There is a demand for connectivity...the rate and pace of innovation is so fast, that we cannot predict what the next five years is going to be like."

"But if 5G is done properly, we will know what the next steps will be too."

Professor Tafazolli revealed that his team at the 5G Innovation Centre is now planning to carry out a full end-to-end 5G test at its facility some time next year.

This would be the world’s first full demonstration of the technology, and would keep with the Government’s timeline to get 5G networks up and running in the UK by 2020.