Waiting for 5G? Here's how it will get to you..

The first steps towards bringing in 5G technology to the UK were taken earlier today with the Ordnance Survey (OS) entrusted with developing a planning and mapping tool for this purpose.

The new planning and mapping tool will be trialled in Bournemouth and will ultimately cover the rest of the UK in due course.

The Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) today entrusted the Ordnance Survey to create a planning and mapping tool with assistance from the Met Office, the 5G Innovation Centre and others. The tool will help determine where radio antennae necessary for 5G networks can be placed to enable the networks to run smoothly. Thanks to the trial, Bournemouth may get the chance to be among the first cities in the UK to field a 5G network.

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"The purpose is to deploy 5G quickly and efficiently. Linking OS data to spectrum information and meteorological data will deliver faster speeds and better coverage to connected devices, all the while helping keep rollout costs to a minimum. In creating a highly accurate digital model of the real world, with added in attributes and intelligence, OS is taking mapping and data visualisation to unprecedented new levels with what can be achieved, complementing the government’s Digital Britain strategy. It is a Smart map for a Smart future. We are delighted to be assisting Bournemouth, 2015’s fastest growing digital economy and one of this year’s Top 3 clusters for employment growth, in getting the town 5G ready,” said Andrew Loveless, Commercial Director at Ordnance Survey.

Even though a 5G network will be many times faster than existing 4G networks, it will require a lot of equipment and sensors to work effectively. This is because it's high frequencies will have shorter ranges and will require robust infrastructure to support the higher bandwidth it offers. At the same time, high frequencies can be impacted by different construction materials, leaves of trees and raindrops and hence, the deployment of equipment will have to be done keeping such factors in mind.

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Given that such factors will make equipment deployment expensive and quite time-consuming, the new planning and mapping tool being developed by the OS will make it easier to pinpoint locations where equipment can be placed without interference from natural or artificial obstacles. Once the equipment is placed with the help of the tool, planners will be able to initiate trials of 5G networks in Bournemouth and beyond.

"With our expertise in both numerical weather prediction and the remote sensing of the atmosphere (e.g. weather satellites and radar), the Met Office is well-placed to contribute realistic high-resolution weather scenarios and the associated impacts on signal transmission to our project partners. We are delighted to be working with OS and 5GIC, because of our complementary expertise in this area,” said Dr Dave Jones, Head of Observations R&D at the Met Office.

Image source: https://5g.co.uk

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