The world is setting up testbeds for the fastest internet speed that mankind is going to experience so far. This time, unlike the time of 3G and 4G, India is going hand-in-hand with the world to set up testbeds for the new technology.
What Is Needed For A 5G Testbed
As the internet is evolving towards faster speeds of 5G, it is necessary for India to set up a testbed for it. We need an ecosystem which is simple for the experiments to be conducted. We need sandboxing and licensing and a light-touch system to get license easily for research.
Centre has already set up a high-level forum comprising officials from the DoT, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, and the Department of Science & Technology, with representatives from industry and academia to accelerate the process of research and development of technologies as well as standards pertaining to 5G. The forum is expected to evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans with a broader target of rolling out 5G in India by 2021. One of the key objectives behind setting up the high-level forum on 5G was for India to be able to participate in the process being undertaken by the International Telecommunications Union and other important global bodies in setting up of standards for 5G, which is expected to be a key driver of the next phase of technological growth in the form of artificial intelligence, internet of things, and other such technologies.
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Officials have to train outside of India today. If we have these experiments in the country, we will have them raining in the country itself.
Impact Of 5G Testbeds In India
India, like other countries, is trying to roll out the 5G services. This is not like the times when 3G and 4G were new to the world. India had adopted these at a much later stage. But in the case of this new network 5G, it is trying to work along with the other countries worldwide.
As part of the effort, the Centre launched a three-year project Building an End-to-End 5G Testbed to advance innovation and research in 5G.
With a budget of ₹224 crore, the programme has been awarded to IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
The testbed, located partly in all these institutions, envisages close collaboration between the universities and startups and create an ecosystem that closely resembles a real-world 5G deployment.
Where Is India Today?
The first version of the testbed would be ready by the end of the year2019, according to Bhaskar Ramamurthi, a professor of communication technology and director at IIT Madras. He also said that the final version of the testbed will be available by 2021. Over 300 people would be industry-ready and trained in 5G technology with a Central-government funded ‘5G testbed’ becoming fully operational by 2021, he added.
The final version of the testbed would be fully compliant, which means anyone’s handset should work with anyone’s base station. The testbed is already collaborating with around 12 startups working on 5G. The project entails setting up of an ‘open 5G Testbed’ for Indian companies, academia and is likely to enhance the national capability in telecom technology and manufacturing and create Intellectual Property (IP), Ramamurthi added.