5G is the next generation of wireless technology. It follows previous generations, which led to the launch of smartphones and, 4G, which enabled faster browsing, allowing us, for example, to watch videos on the move.
Technology has moved on. Now 5G is being deployed in towns and cities throughout the UK. The MANY project, which is funded by the UK Government and is part of the wider £200m 5G Testbeds and Trials programme, is exploring how 5G can be used to connect rural areas, bringing them in line with their urban neighbours.
What are the benefits of 5G?
5G is faster and offers greater capacity meaning many devices can connect at the same time without slowing the network down. It is, also, more responsive meaning downloading is quicker and videos work more effectively.
However, the biggest difference it will bring is offering the potential for new, innovative services.
Examples throughout the UK highlight how 5G has the potential to support independence, health and business within rural communities at a time when the rural population is increasingly older and issues exist with travel and transport and access to health and social care services. Instances of 5G being used or tested include:
- A 5G network is offering patients to be in their home whilst hospital staff do real time checks in Liverpool
- Farmers being able to use drones and sensors to give critical real-time feedback on animal locations and ground conditions in Cumbria
- Smart ambulances equipped with 5G technology exploring how patients can be treated in an emergency at the roadside by connecting paramedics with hospital staff.
How will the MANY project deploy 5G in Coverdale?
Using Quicklines’ – our lead technical partners – core network and by erecting new masts, we aim to enable a digital connection into Coverdale.
The 5G signal will use a variety of frequencies already used throughout the UK. The project is looking at using: 1.8Ghz; 2.6Ghz; 3.8Ghz – 4.2Ghz
These frequencies – as opposed to the 26GhMM waves – enables 5G to cover a wide area, which lends itself to the rural landscape.
How can a 5G network use the same frequencies as 3G and 4G?
The frequencies and masts we are using include a 5G waveform – the signal that a device uses to connect. A 4G and 5G signal can work concurrently in the same frequency. A phone or tablet connects to the correct signal depending on what type of device you own. For example, if you have a 4G phone it will connect to the 4G signal; if you have a 5G device it will connect to the 5G.
The benefit of deploying a 5G signal alongside 4G is that the sector is moving this way, therefore, Coverdale will be at the forefront of connectivity. Furthermore, 5G offers more advanced uses to support rural areas in new ways.
If they are the same frequency, how can a 5G signal do more?
The signal the device uses has evolved making it more effective. Additionally, we are able to combine different frequencies to help move more data efficiently.
Alongside this by moving the processing requirement to the core network, we will see an 80% reduction in power required to operate the mast making everything – again – faster. Some companies such as O2 are using this technology to reduce their carbon footprint and make themselves carbon neutral by 2030.
Finally, our technical lead partners are upgrading their networks, deploying 100Gbps of fibre up and down the country allowing their network to facilitate much faster speeds. This upgrade has already begun and will support the Coverdale infrastructure, as well as their current clients.
All of this development offers Coverdale – as well as other rural areas – many different opportunities via 5G.
Over the coming weeks we will highlight how a 5G network can support our four project areas. To keep up to date with the project subscribe to our newsletter.
If you have any questions or would like to get involved email us or call us on 0300 400 4444.