"5G: We are close to achieving a latency of one millisecond"

Arturo Azcorra, director of IMDEA Networks, has been interviewed by Business Insider as vice president of the 5TONIC laboratory to talk about 5G networks and much more

20 April 2021


In a recent interview with Business Insider, our director Arturo Azcorra, vice president of 5TONIC, has spoken about the 5G projects that are being carried out in the laboratory and about the future 6G. According to Azcorra, 5TONIC, a co-creation center created by IMDEA Networks and Telefónica, was a pioneer in investigating 5G systems in 2013, when there were still great technological challenges ahead.

“When we planned to work to achieve a latency of one millisecond, many told us that it was crazy, that it was impossible. Now we are close to achieving it”, he says. In his opinion, the commercial 6G will arrive in 2029. Some specialists are a bit skeptical and think that it will take another 15 years, but for Azcorra these are “pessimistic” forecasts.

“They are very late. Normally we change the mobile generation every 7 years. It is about 7 years from when research begins until the first commercial products arrive,” he highlights. 5TONIC is already part of the Hexa-X project, a consortium promoted by the European Union made up of 25 partners, which explores telecommunications networks beyond 5G.

In the battle for 6G, there will be three main players, according to the professor, Europe, the USA, and Asia. And, he warns: “you also have to count on Korea and Japan.”

Differences between 4G, 5G, and 6G

4G was data, what was wanted was to transport large amounts of data over mobile networks. 5G was computing and control: what we wanted was to have an infrastructure that would provide computing and control services on devices and in real-time, for robots, cars, and airplanes “.

In short, 5G wanted to “turn a network, a system to transport data, like 4G, into a great control brain for all kinds of services and applications, including real-time applications.”

What is the novelty that the 6G will bring? Azcorra says it will be a great data warehouse. The 6G will be focused on “data and personalization”. “A huge data management platform. We will want to exploit and manage all the data that we are going to have with data analytics and artificial intelligence techniques. Of course, 6G will improve network throughput, delay, reliability, and computation”, he sums up.

5G projects

Currently, 5TONIC is involved in very innovative 5G projects. From autonomous boats to risk fewer lives, to combines and agricultural machinery that do not need a driver either. Smart shirts that are capable of monitoring your health and automatically calling an ambulance if you suffer a heart attack, hive minds for industrial robots, devices with precision measuring absolute parts … A whole series of technological inventions that will soon be part of our lives.

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