Do you know what wireless speeds of one terabit per second gets you? One hundred full-length movies downloaded onto your phone in just three seconds. Researchers in the U.K. are now saying that they’ve achieved just that: 1 Tbps over a 5G connection for the first time ever. That's the fastest wireless speed to date.
“This is the same capacity as fiber optics but we are doing it wirelessly,” Rahim Tafazolli of the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey tells V3. Their tests were carried out under lab conditions over a distance of 100 meters (328 feet) using transmitters and receivers built at Surrey.
The speed is more than 65,000 times faster than average 4G download speeds (that’s just 15 megabits per second, or Mbps). And it also smashes the previous 5G (or fifth generation) speed record achieved last October in tests: Samsung's 7.5 gigabits per second (Gbps), BBC reports, is less than one percent of the Surrey team's speed.
Tafazolli and colleagues plan to take the technology out of the lab and onto the campus by as early as 2016, before demonstrating it to the public in early 2018. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be able to use it soon. “An important aspect of 5G is how it will support applications in the future. We don’t know what applications will be in use by 2020, or 2030 or 2040 for that matter, but we know they will be highly sensitive to latency,” he tells V3. Latency is the slowdown that’s introduced by infrastructure, Quartz explains, and it could remain a problem for decades. “We need to bring end-to-end latency down to below one millisecond so that it can enable new technologies and applications that would just not be possible with 4G,” Tafazolli says. Everything from playing 3D holographic games of chess over multiple smartphones to controlling connected cars over 5G may require rapid latency, he adds.
These results were announced at the V3’s mobile conference this week.