Everyone agrees we need to sort out a fifth-generation wireless system, there’s just one problem: no one quite agrees on what it is yet.
After the first Brooklyn 5G Summit last April, one researcher made a compelling argument that there’s more bandwidth out there than anyone knows what to do with, if carriers will just divvy up existing systems more efficiently. (This will no doubt be an important conversation at this year’s 5G Summit, held April 8-10.)
That said, when the researchers at NYU Wireless talk about 5G, they mostly focus on millimeter wave technology, arguing that so much more data can be delivered over those tighter waves that it behooves us to work on putting that part of the bandwidth to work for us. The program has 20 faculty, over 100 grad students and twelve industrial affiliates.
In a summary of its testimony to the Federal Communications Commission, NYU Wireless made a few key points in a general release to the public, based on their comments.
- Speed. Millimeter wave bands could deliver data at 1,000 times the speed of current cellular systems, allowing continuous connection to cloud-based systems.
- Competitiveness. “America is far behind the growing international competition for wireless research and development, and an aggressive spectrum policy is a great equalizer at the disposal of the FCC,” said Ted Rappaport, the professor leading NYU Wireless.
- Regulation can empower innovation. In 1985, the FCC designated Industrial, Scientific and Medical bands, which enabled the development of WiFi and Bluetooth technologies, which no one could have anticipated at the time the regulators made that bandwidth available.
- Safety. Millimeter waves will not penetrate as deeply into the body as radiowaves currently in use.
- Technical playground. The testimony calls for a large amount of millimeter wave spectrum to be auctioned off to private interests for developing new technology, but it also calls for 10 GHz of unlicensed bandwidth to be used freely for developing new technologies, specifying at least 5 GHz of bandwidth above 100 GHz.
View the researchers’ full comments here, as received by the FCC on Jan. 13.