The 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey and the Met Office will also be involved in the programme which is intended to identify the best locations for the radio basestations which will be used in 5G networks.
The likely use of higher frequencies, in the millimetre-wave band, to support the channel bandwidths needed for 5G will mean networks will be built from a greater number of basestations with shorter range. So network planning will be completely different from that for previous mobile networks.
The planning will be made more difficult because the higher frequency radio signals are less able to penetrate buildings in their path.
OS Commercial Director, Andrew Loveless, writes:
“In creating a highly accurate digital model of the real world, with added in attributes and intelligence, OS is taking mapping and data visualisation to unprecedented new levels with what can be achieved, complementing the government’s Digital Britain strategy.”
The planning and mapping tool will be trialled first in Bournemouth, and if successful the tool has the potential to be scaled up to cover the rest of the UK, and shared with other countries as they develop their own 5G networks.
Surveying for parts of Bournemouth, which is a test bed for the national rollout of 5G, is already underway.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock writes:
“Our ambition is to be a world leader in 5G technology, and it is projects such as this which will make sure the UK can harness the potential of this exciting technology.”
The aim of the tool will be to allow 5G planners to construct a virtual network on the desktop. Included in the model’s intelligence are weather conditions, tree foliage and the lifecycles of vegetation, and details of future building projects, all of which gives planners the opportunity to test broadcast range and reliability throughout the seasons and over the coming years.
Dr Dave Jones, Head of Observations R&D at the Met Office, said:
“Weather elements such as rain have the potential to degrade the performance of communications networks at these new higher frequency bands. The Met Office is well-placed to contribute realistic high-resolution weather scenarios and the associated impacts on signal transmission to our project partners.”