Information about science based innovations, solid facts to support decision-making, performance and business development for VTT’s partners, customers and anyone interested in high technology and its applications.
A magazine on science, technology and business

​​​

The future 5G network proceeds to test phase in Oulu

Juha-Pekka Honkanen | 13.1.2016

​The 5G Test Network (5GTN) in Oulu will be an open test environment for all 5G developers. IoT and 5G will be available for testing in a realistic network environment after the turn of the year.

While all development phases of the 4G mobile network are yet to be implemented, the fifth generation (5G) mobile networks are already becoming an increasingly hot topic. VTT is building the first 5G test network in Finland in Oulu in cooperation with industrial partners and the local university.

“Our aim is to make Finland a pioneer in 5G development and specification, as well as the best global development location for 5G technology and applications,” says Research Team Leader Kyösti Rautiola from VTT’s Radio Systems Team.

In terms of network evolution, the 4G networks currently used have significantly higher data transfer speeds and capacity than 3G networks. According to the leader of the 5GTN project and Senior Scientist Atso Hekkala from VTT, 5G will be rolled out in 2020 and will introduce even more profound changes. The projects has many objectives – and challenges.

“This makes it much more interesting for the researchers. Based on expectations, it is safe to say that digitalisation will encompass all areas of the society, and we see 5G as the enabler of this development,” Hekkala explains.


 

Speeds will become hundredfold on average

On average, users will be offered speeds hundreds of times faster than those available in current 4G networks. To develop more advanced network applications, it is no longer enough to transfer bits as fast as possible. Eliminating latency will change the way mobile networks are used by industry, for example. According to Rautiola, once latencies are measured in milliseconds, it is possible to communicate in real time with robots on the other side of the world.

“The autonomously moving vehicles of the future also require highly reliable, real-time data transfer.”

With increasing data transfer speeds, energy-efficiency also needs to be considered. This has previously been tackled by improved battery technologies. Hekkala says that while the CMOS microprocessor technology has been an effective solution up to this point, it is reaching the limits of reducing power consumption further.


 

Setting sights on the future

“Going forward, it is critical to make devices smarter so that they do not stay connected to the network unnecessarily. Mobile phones are connected continuously, which consumes a lot of power,” Hekkala explains.

Smartphone batteries go flat quickly because, as Hekkala points out, the 4G network is primarily designed to offer the highest possible data transfer speeds to support entertainment use, such as watching videos on smartphones. At the same time, the network is less capable of supporting large numbers of devices, which has a negative impact on data transfer quality during large public events or at venues such as sports stadiums. The 5G network will also do away with this problem.


 

Exponential growth of connected devices

At the moment, network device capacity is preventing the Internet of Things (IoT) from gaining ground.

IoT applications are already in use on a small scale, and Rautiola predicts that the number of connected devices will grow exponentially in the coming years as devices such as smart fridges that can order groceries automatically or smart clothes that monitor body functions become more common.

“Smart clothes and other devices that contain sensors do not send a lot of data; for them, it is enough to access the network. However, vast numbers of such devices will create a new challenge,” Hekkala says.

The 5G mobile network must have greater speed, less latency and more reliability while being able to support vast numbers of connected devices. How can this be achieved? The solution lies in many areas: Hekkala explains that firstly, radio frequencies will be used more efficiently. While the mobile networks currently operate around the 2 GHz frequency band, 5G can utilise free bandwidth in the 60 GHz frequency band, for example.

“Technologies are more advanced now, and it is possible to use higher frequency bands without making the devices too expensive,” Rautiola explains.

However, finding new bandwidth is not unproblematic. Many older users think fondly of the NMT450 network, the first generation of mobile networks, that could reach even the most remote areas. It used the relatively low frequency band of 450 MHz. More capacity was needed once mobile phones became more common, leading to the introduction of NMT900 – and larger areas with no coverage. The same applies today.

“High frequency signals have shorter range. It was previously unthinkable to use them for mobile communications,” Hekkala says.


5G can use several frequency bands

The test network currently uses the 2.6 GHz band. The 3.5 GHz band may also be taken into use in 2016. Hekkala points out that the frequencies of bands are not that essential to the 5G network.

“5G is a collection of many technologies. While older generations of phones used a specific band, 5G is capable of using several of them and do it seamlessly.” 


 

VTT is building an open test network for 5G developers

VTT’S OULU FACILITIES now have a macro cell base station on the roof, and a network of numerous small cells is under construction to serve as the first 5G test environment in Finland. Similar cells pay a significant role in the future of 5G.

“We are currently carrying out initial measurements, to specify, for example, the best locations for base stations. We are also testing the performance of different antennas,” Atso Hekkala says.

The 5G Test Network (5GTN) in Oulu will be an open test environment for all 5G developers. The network is built in cooperation with academic and industry partners that have the expertise and device base required. IoT and 5G will be available for real-life testing after the turn of the year.

VTT is coordinating four 5G test network projects in Finland.

For more information, please see www.5gtnf.fi​


 

 

 

VTT Impulsehttps://www.vttresearch.com/ImpulseVTT Impulse
Impulse 1/2018https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2018.aspxImpulse 1/2018
Finland on its way towards low-carbon year 2050https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-on-its-way-towards-low-carbon-year-2050.aspxFinland on its way towards low-carbon year 2050
S Group believes in a multi-channel modelhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/S-Group-believes-in-a-multi-channel-model.aspxS Group believes in a multi-channel model
Digitalisation of the shipping industry requires cutting-edge researchhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digitalisation-of-the-shipping-industry-requires-cutting-edge-research.aspxDigitalisation of the shipping industry requires cutting-edge research
Tracking peoplehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Tracking-people.aspxTracking people
Tua Huomo: Energy production and use – smart choices have an impacthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Energy-production-and-use–smart-choices-an-impact.aspxTua Huomo: Energy production and use – smart choices have an impact
Converting rags to design clotheshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Converting-rags-to-design-clothes.aspxConverting rags to design clothes
The rise of robotic carshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-rise-of-robotic-cars.aspxThe rise of robotic cars
Jari Gustafsson: Old and new workhorses as recession beatershttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Old-and-new-workhorses-as-recession-beaters.aspxJari Gustafsson: Old and new workhorses as recession beaters
Transport gets smarthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Transport-gets-smart.aspxTransport gets smart
Productive use for Finnish biomasshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Productive-use-for-Finnish-biomass.aspxProductive use for Finnish biomass
A future without wastewater?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-future-without-wastewater.aspxA future without wastewater?
Modelling and simulation facilitateshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Modelling-and-simulation-facilitates.aspxModelling and simulation facilitates
There is no better innovation model in the worldhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/There-is-no-better-innovation-model-in-the-world.aspxThere is no better innovation model in the world
Miniaturising devices to fit on your palmhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Miniaturising-devices-to-fit-on-your-palm.aspxMiniaturising devices to fit on your palm
Business for transportationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-for-transportation.aspxBusiness for transportation
Health benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food qualityhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Health-benefits-and-efficiency-without-sacrificing-food-quality.aspxHealth benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food quality
Digital ecosystems are emerginghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-ecosystems-are-emerging.aspxDigital ecosystems are emerging
Using personal know-how to promote the common goodhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Using-personal-know-how-to-promote-the-common-good.aspxUsing personal know-how to promote the common good
More speed to network services with 5Ghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/More-speed-to-network-services-with-5G.aspxMore speed to network services with 5G
An export product tougher than nailshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/An-export-product-tougher-than-nails.aspxAn export product tougher than nails
Finland is good investmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-is-good-investment.aspxFinland is good investment
The new agenda enhances the use of research infrastructurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-new-agenda-enhances-the-use-of-research-infrastructure.aspxThe new agenda enhances the use of research infrastructure
New power for the electronics industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/New-power-for-the-electronics-industry.aspxNew power for the electronics industry
Brazil paves the way for bioenergyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Brazil-paves-the-way-for-bioenergy.aspxBrazil paves the way for bioenergy
Food in transitionhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Food-in-transition.aspxFood in transition
Looking through their eyeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Looking-through-their-eyes.aspxLooking through their eyes
Turbine blades bring millions in savingshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Turbine-blades-bring-millions-in-savings.aspxTurbine blades bring millions in savings
Jaakko Eskola: ”The ability to reinvent yourself is vital to success.”https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/”The-ability-to-reinvent-yourself-is-vital-to-success”.aspxJaakko Eskola: ”The ability to reinvent yourself is vital to success.”
Impulse 2/2015https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2015.aspxImpulse 2/2015
Research with impacthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Research-with-impact.aspxResearch with impact
Developers of the futurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Developers-of-the-future.aspxDevelopers of the future
The story of Finlandhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-story-of-Finland.aspxThe story of Finland
The future 5G network proceeds to test phase in Ouluhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-future-5G-network-proceeds-to-test-phase-in-Oulu.aspxThe future 5G network proceeds to test phase in Oulu
Transition in the shipping industry: intelligent ship´s bridgeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligent-ship-bridges.aspxTransition in the shipping industry: intelligent ship´s bridges
Finland is aiming towards smart transporthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-is-aiming-towards smart-transport.aspxFinland is aiming towards smart transport
It is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growthhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/It-is-the-duty-of-entrepreneurs-to-seek-growth.aspxIt is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growth
Professor Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Valio: Businesses and researchers need to find each other in a new wayhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Professor-Tiina-Mattila-Sandholm-Valio-Businesses-and-researchers-need-to-find-each-other-in-a-new-way.aspxProfessor Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Valio: Businesses and researchers need to find each other in a new way
A better world based on positive energyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-better-world-based-on-positive-energy.aspxA better world based on positive energy
Business angel speaks out: Growth from the international arenahttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-angel-speaks-out-Growth-from-the-international-arena.aspxBusiness angel speaks out: Growth from the international arena
Plasma treatment spurs material developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Plasma-treatment-spurs-material-development.aspxPlasma treatment spurs material development
Risk management in an increasingly complex worldhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Risk-management-in-an-increasingly-complex-world.aspxRisk management in an increasingly complex world
Comfy but energy efficient homeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Comfy-but-energy-efficient-homes.aspxComfy but energy efficient homes
Intelligent transport – a trump card for Finnish exportshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligent-transport-a-trump-card-for-Finnish-exports.aspxIntelligent transport – a trump card for Finnish exports
What's going on in Australia?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Whats-going-on-in-Australia.aspxWhat's going on in Australia?
Why do so many women feel chilly indoorshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Why-do-so-many-women-feel-chilly-indoors.aspxWhy do so many women feel chilly indoors
More than siliconhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/More-than-just-Silicon.aspxMore than silicon
Sustainability and acceptability for mining operationshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Sustainability-and-acceptability-for-mining-operations.aspxSustainability and acceptability for mining operations
Media production and housing services are preparing for the 5G networkshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Media-production-and-housing-services-are-preparing-for-the-5G-networks.aspxMedia production and housing services are preparing for the 5G networks