This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona was defined by 5G. The event’s overarching theme, Intelligent Connectivity, encompassed the revolutionary potential of agile, ultra-fast 5G networks, artificial intelligence (AI) the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data. Beyond transforming the tech industry, there is a strong feeling that a combination of these technologies will transform our world in years to come, “connecting everything and everyone to a better future”.
Here are our five key takeaways from the event, which include some landmark developments for Blu Wireless:
1. Blu Wireless achieved a world first alongside Sivers IMA
In Barcelona, Blu Wireless demonstrated the world’s first mmWave point-to-multipoint (P2MP) system capable of operating over 66-71 GHz. Based on the HYDRA 1.0 System IP and combined with Sivers IMA’s Eder Phased Array RF transceiver, Blu Wireless’s “Typhoon” solution provided up to 3 Gbps throughput shared with up to 30 clients at ranges up to 700m. Not only was this an incredible technical feat, but it also opens up exciting opportunities for high-speed transport and consumer 5G networking applications.
2. mmWave technology opens up new opportunities for transport operators
In the wake of Blu Wireless and FirstGroup’s recently-announced partnership to revolutionise commuter connectivity, mmWave applications are increasingly being seen as desirable by the wider transport industry. This was made abundantly clear at MWC because the track-to-train infrastructure provided by Blu Wireless will address previously poor on-board connections in a cost-effective way, allowing passengers to access comparable levels of connectivity as they do at home or in the workplace.
3. The unlicensed band piqued the interest of OEMs
Operators and OEMs had their heads turned by Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connections at MWC. FWA is seen as a cost-effective method to deliver Gbit connectivity to the home and is well suited to emerging markets which are looking to leverage unlicensed bands. The USA has led the way in this space to date, however FWA offers significant opportunities to EU and Asian countries whose fibre rollout has stalled. The UK in particular is in line to benefit from the technology.
4. Real-time 4K video impressed
Blu Wireless followed its recent contributions to the government-funded AutoAir testbed by demoing its real-time 4K video connections in the GSMA Innovation City. There, an mmWave-equipped McLaren 570s sportscar – which was used as part of the Millbrook 5G CAV demonstration – was on display. Data sharing between CAVs travelling at speed has hugely positive implications for the safety of the technology as a whole, allowing drivers to take evasive action before they reach an incident further along the road.
5. 5G moves MWC beyond Mobile
5G has power to unlock countless next-gen technologies, including controlled autonomous vehicles (CAVs), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Industry 4.0. This means that while mobile devices are still a key consideration for MWC, exciting new applications of wireless technologies are taking an increased amount of the spotlight. This theme is likely to continue as 5G develops.
The future of 5G is unlicensed
Moving beyond research and development and towards application, Blu Wireless are playing a key role in the evolution of 5G. At next year’s Mobile World Congress, with more use cases demonstrated, it will be even clearer that the unlicensed band holds the key to 5G revolution.