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"Mother of all networks," 5G network in testing stage

"Cutting edge" fifth-generation (5G) data transfer systems are already being tested at the Technical Research Centre of Finland.

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Testing out speed differences between 3G, 4G and 5G on a smartphone. Image: Tuomas Hirvonen / Yle

At a time when 4G mobile networks are still just getting their start - or have yet to be implemented in many parts of the world - technicians in Finland are already testing the next generation of cellular technologies.

The Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) is building Finland's first 5G test network in a laboratory right now, alongside the University of Oulu.

The new tech comes at a time when Finns are just getting used to the previous 4G network, but experts are saying that this latest generation of communications technology isn't just a little update. Wireless information transfer will become much faster and more reliable.

Special researcher Atso Hekkala from the VTT calls the development "cutting edge," and says that this "mother of all networks" will help facilitate the growing trend of rapid digitalisation.

Ten times faster than current 4G speeds

Developers are promising new applications, and ten times the current rate of transfer.

VTT is promising that 5G will be the next big step in wireless communications, and will offer "multimedia and cloud services of very high quality."

"These technologies will enable the future 'Internet of Things,' and reduce material and energy consumption. The test network will strengthen Finland's position at the cutting edge of international 5G development," the centre wrote in a press release last month.

But this latest boon in wireless magic won't make it into people's phones anytime soon.

Hekkala says the standardisation of 5G is just starting, and the technology should be rolling out to the public in the year 2020.

When that time comes, consumers may well need to shell out for the state of the art science, too. Current mobile devices will not be able to support the coming revolutionary speeds.

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