Even though the roll out may be two years and more away, India is gearing up for the 5G era in communications, said Union Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan. She was speaking to the media soon after inaugurating the 2017 edition of the “IoT Congress” here on September 14.
Ms Sundararajan pointed out the 5G test beds being set up at multiple locations, where the readiness of networks and devices for next generation cellular communication can be tested and prototypes run.
A test bed is a lab environment where multiple wireless technologies like millimetre waves, Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) and backhaul can be simulated with realistic loads.
The test bed at IIT Madras, she added, has the benefit of help and advice from a pioneer in this field, Dr Arogyaswami Paulraj, Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, who is widely recognised as the Father of WiMax technology. He is the co-inventor of MIMO, the technology that underpins the efficient roll out of all wireless standards, 3G, 4G, 5G and WiFi.
The 5G test bed at IIT Delhi is a collaboration between the institute and global telecom solutions provider Ericsson, to create an incubation centre for startups and industry.
Other 5G collaborations
Recent months have seen India's main telecom service providers tie up with one other of the global giants to help them get their 5G plans ready for the expected roll outs in 2020. BSNL has turned to Nokia and its "5G First" end to end solution, while Reliance Jio has partnered with Samsung. Airtel too has joined with Nokia to kickstart its 5G roll out.
An MOU signed on September 11, by the Karnataka government with Finland points at other dynamics of the race to be 5G ready. The 'Karnataka - Finland Innovation Corridor' will draw on the resources of Nokia's large R&D facility in Bangalore, said Finnish Ambassador to India, Nina Vaskunlahti. Admittedly, the Karnataka – Finland partnership is not limited to 5G, with Finnish giant Nokia being a looming presence in the state's innovation map, 5G will inevitably be up there among the top priorities.