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The new home for 5G innovation is right here in Ottawa

The new Ericsson-Carleton mobile wireless lab offers a vital space for strategic collaboration

A photo of the ARISE building at Carleton univeristy

Somewhere in the clouds, en route from one hospital to another, is a kidney that’s about to save a life. And the recipient can thank a 5G drone for safely and reliably bringing them their new lease on life.

Technological wonders like this may soon become commonplace due to the new Ericsson-Carleton Mobile Wireless 5G research lab opening at Carleton University this fall. Due to Carleton’s strategic partnership with Swedish tech giant Ericsson, the lab will enable in-depth research into 5G-driven technology.

The lab is located in the 71,000 square foot ARISE building — which stands for advanced research and innovation in smart environments — and is unique in Canada. “The lab has its own 5G network,” said Dr. Ioannis Lambadaris, the Carleton University veteran who was appointed research chair in 5G wireless research earlier this year.

“It’s not just theory. We have all the equipment, the interfaces and the bay stations,” said Lambadaris. “Everything has been installed to make it an independent network system where 5G technology can be tested in the real world.”

A high-tech environment like this 5G lab isn’t something you can just throw together. “You have to develop something like this over time to set up the programming and background behind it,” said John Luszczek, Ericsson’s business opportunities leader here in Ottawa. “The lab is showing the fruits of this strategic partnership.”

With the launch of the lab, Ericsson and Carleton can check off the final of the five pillars they set out to accomplish, which included the Ericsson chair in 5G wireless research, 5G research projects, educational courses in 5G networks, Ericsson 5G fellowships and the Ericsson-Carleton mobile wireless lab.

In addition to supporting research and solving real-world problems, these pillars contribute to solving the tech industry’s talent crisis by putting Carleton students into Ericsson internships.

How 5G technology will change the world

The average person may be wondering if it’s time to buy a next generation 5G smartphone (go right ahead, they’ll still work with the old and new networks).

But the Carleton-Ericsson team is thinking much bigger than that. Current research projects in the B2B space include machine learning, drone navigation, robotics, AI, and CAVs (connected autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars).

Aroosh Elahi, digital hardware design manager at Ericsson, is working on a tool that tells businesses how to optimize their 5G network installation.

The Ericsson Indoor Planner knows how many 5G nodes you’ll need and where to put them, providing the most cost and energy efficient approach.

But let’s not forget the part where it can save a life. A 5G network in a large building maps the layout — it’s basically an indoor GPS that enables first responders to “see” into stadiums, airports, malls and hospitals so they can quickly find people who need their help.

As exciting as this is, Carleton and Ericsson are just scratching the surface of 5G’s potential capabilities. Lambadaris says with 5G-driven robotic technology, “Surgeries that are very detailed and demanding, that must be done with utmost precision, can be done by a specialist in another location.”

It would seem that connecting organizations like Carleton and Ericsson in real life will also connect us to a future where the sky really is the limit.