A trial of 60GHz 5G technology has started in Bath in time for Christmas

The landmark project led by West of England Combined Authority with University of Bristol aims to support smart tourism using augmented and virtual reality technology and content from the BBC and Aardman.

The trial is using a 60GHz wireless system called Metnet developed by Cambridge Communication Systems (CCS) that provides up to 12Gbps of data across the centre of Bath. This provides the back haul links across the city. The CCS Metnet units have been deployed on existing street equipment to extend fibre connections and provide low latency, high-speed wireless connectivity.  The Metnet nodes were deployed in just one day by electrical contractors without the need to frequency plan or manually align antennas.  

The deployment of the self-organising mesh radios across the centre of Bath marks a key milestone in the 5G Smart Tourism project being delivered in Bath and Bristol, which is led by the West of England Combined Authority and supported by a £5m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The 5G Smart Tourism project brings together 25 organisations and will see the development of a testbed to demonstrate 5G capability, establishing the West of England as a world-leader in the development of advanced fixed and mobile communication systems.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles comments: “I am proud our region is playing such a pivotal role in both the development of 5G technology and the first trials of these exciting new wireless services.  An impressive team of experts, from the creative and tech sectors, has developed a really exciting and immersive experience for mobile users, and we can’t wait to trial this with people in Bath,” said Tim Bowles, mayor of the West of England Combined Authority.

Metnet radios running at 26GHz licensed radios have also been deployed recently in Bristol, and leveraged to support a visitor safety demonstration managed by Zeeta Networks’ NetOS network management platform utilising 5GNetwork Slicing technology.

CCS Executive Chairman  said: “This marks a key phase in a very significant and exciting 5G project,” said Martin Harriman, executive chairman of CCS. “This cutting-edge network demonstrates innovative use of the new 57-71GHz unlicensed band, and highlights the huge potential for the 14GHz of spectrum – recently opened up by Ofcom – for enabling the delivery of ubiquitous high-speed connectivity through gigabit 5GFixed Wireless Access services.  We look forward to continuing our support of this important testbed project, which will position this UK region at the forefront of next-generation wireless capabilities.”

Details of the 5G Smart Tourism project are at uk5g.org/discover/testbeds-and-trials/5g-smart-tourism/

Nick Flaherty