Bristol shows world’s first 5G end-to-end network

Robots are kicking footballs around Mobile World Congress over 5G
1st March 2018

Researchers from the University of Bristol are demonstrating the world’s first end-to-end 5G wireless network at a major trade show in Barcelona this week.

The team (pictured above), which includes researchers from the University of Surrey (5GIC) and King’s College London, are allowing visitors at Mobile World Congress to control robot football players via the network. This is to show the very low latency of the network for real-time control applications.

“Our pioneering joint research programme will pave the way for applications that could transform our lives”

 

Making a robot on one stand kick a ball is replicated in real-time on another stand in a different hall of the exhibition. Visitors see the results of the ‘kick’ through monitors on both stands.

The team is also showing the difference between today’s 4G network and the 5G technology through the transmission of ultra-high-definition video using an intelligent mobile-edge computing technique. This has been a key part of making the whole 5G network operational, alongside the developments in the radio technology, and this software-defined networking (SDN) is one of the key areas for Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab which is part of the UK’s £16m national 5G testbed programme called 5GUK.

“Our testbed and trials programme has progressed to the stage where we can now provide meaningful demonstrations of full 5G network solutions,” said Professor Dimitra Simeonidou (pictured right), Director of the Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol and Chief Scientific Officer for Bristol Is Open.

“Our pioneering joint research programme will pave the way for applications that could transform our lives, ranging across transport, health, education, entertainment.  We know that 5G will deliver the ultra-reliable and ultra-fast networks of the future – our job is now to demonstrate benefits, develop skills and support a rapidly developing 5G commercial ecosystem in the UK.”

Transformational tech

The lab has been working on Smart City and Smart Campus 5G deployment in the city, targeting real-life demonstrations of 5G services in urban environments.

“This was the world’s first end to end 5G tests using fully virtualised core with mobile broadband and ultra-low latency communications,” said Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Director and Founder of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey and the 5GUK project leader. “5G is not only about mobile communication, broadband communication and increasing the speed by a factor of 10 – compared to 4G, another important aspect is automation. This means automating future factories, future hospitals, future cities and so much more – 5G will have a truly transformational impact on all of our daily lives.”

“To be the first in the UK to showcase live a technology which will fundamentally change our society for the better, is very humbling”

 

The radio technology uses a large number of antennas (called Massive MIMO) to provide the highly reliable links, and the University of Bristol has also won awards for its research in this area.

“We are immensely proud to be part of this programme and to have achieved the UK’s first 5G Massive MIMO test and the world’s first fully software end-to-end call. It is the product of years’ long engagement with large industries. To be the first in the UK to showcase live a technology which will fundamentally change our society for the better, is very humbling,” said Mischa Dohler, Professor of Wireless Communications and Head of the Centre for Telecommunications Research at King’s College London.

Huawei, which has a chip design centre in Bristol, also showed the first 5G chipset at the trade show, called Balong 5G01, for the next generation of smartphones using the technology.

There are more details on 5G networking at the Smart Internet Lab.