Next generation wireless technology promises 20-25 times faster speeds, India joins research for the first time after missing out in the past.
New Delhi: With the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi pioneering research on fifth generation wireless communication (5G) in India, the network is set to make an entry in the country by early 2021.
Internet speeds in 5G networks are expected to be about 20 to 25 times faster than 4G. The exact speed in technical terms is not yet final, as 5G technology is yet to be standardised across the world. Researchers believe the final agreement on technical aspects will be achieved within the next couple of years.
Currently there is no country in the world which has a functional 5G network. Most countries so far are only researching 5G — the likes of Sweden and Britain started their research a couple of years ago. India has only now started active research, in co-operation with industry partners.
India had made no contribution to research on the previous generations, but 5G promises to be different.
“With the Indian government launching a number of digital initiatives and urging people to do most of the things online, this research will be very important,” said IIT Delhi deputy director M. Balakrishnan.
Key focus areas
On Friday, IIT Delhi inaugurated the country’s first 5G research lab. The IITs had been allotted Rs 250 crore for 5G research in this year’s Union Budget, of which IIT Delhi has so far used Rs 30 crore to set up the lab and begin research.
Saif Khan Mohammed, a professor working on the project, told ThePrint: “This research is crucial because a 5G network is not just going to provide good internet connectivity on phone or a single device; it will have a much better inter-device connectivity. One can make a video call easily from a phone to a computer and the clarity will almost be like virtual reality.
“This can aid in surgeries also. A doctor sitting in the US can perform a surgery upon a man in a village in Africa through a robotic controlled arm, thanks to such calls.”
Everything from smart home appliances to smart cars will work much better with 5G. “It is estimated that smart devices, of which there are currently 2 billion, will go up to 50 billion by the year 2020. In that scenario, a much better internet network will be needed for the devices to work,” said Mohammed.
However, researchers are also aware of the risk of devices being hacked if they are interconnected. This is why one team is specifically researching the security aspects of 5G.