There is something even more exciting than the heart-stopping ski jumps and hair-raising luge at the Winter Olympics, kicking off next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Alongside the awe-inspiring human achievement, technological innovation will also be demonstrated on the global stage. The Games are tipped to be the biggest 5G showcase yet, giving sports fans, venues, and smart cities alike, a taster of what this new tech can offer and its impact on our future.

South Korea already benefits from the fastest broadband in the world with an average of 28.6Mbps compared to the UK average of under 17 Mbps. This impressive connectivity will be boosted at the Winter Olympics through a partnership between Korea Telecom (KT) and Intel, which will deliver the first broad-scale 5G network. 5G delivers download speeds of 100Mbps to allow live streaming in interactive HD video and virtual reality (VR) experiences.

Why do we need 5G?

5G, or fifth generation wireless technology, will be a converged network where wired, cellular and wireless communications will share the same infrastructure, leading the way for a truly inter-connected society.

With ultra high speed bandwidth connectivity for not only users, but for smart things, 5G will see improvements in data rate, reliability, latency, power consumption, density, and mobility. This is vital for the Internet of Things (IoT), helping to connect our smart cities, from street lights to security cameras, smart health devices, connected cars, HD streaming on watches, and untethered augmented reality (AR) and VR.

Deutsche Telekom, Huawei, and Intel worked in partnership earlier this year to complete the world’s first 5G interoperability study – a huge step on the way commercial 5G. Now the world will be looking at how 5G operates at the Winter Olympics.

Immersive VR for the global sports audience

Intel and broadcaster NBC will showcase 5G experiences at the Olympics for the first time. VR will bring 30 sporting events to life for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. As a Winter Olympics first, 18 of these events will be streamed in live VR, while the rest will be available as video-on-demand (VOD).

The 5G technology offers an increasingly immersive experience, allowing viewers to get closer to the excitement and action: each individual will be able to join the ski jumpers and figure skaters up-close with the freedom to choose camera angles. These 5G experiences will be made possible by the Intel 5G network technologies (including FlexRAN), that will be activated at a variety of Olympic locations.

Carrying the Olympic flame for 5G

At Zeetta Networks, we’ll be tuning in to examine the impact of 5G at the Olympic Games when they start on 9 February, 2018 – but our team is already preparing for 5G with our award-nominated NetOS® technology. This new system allows 5G capabilities to be developed through an open, programmable platform to operate heterogeneous networks.

We are working beyond the theoretical: projects with Vodafone and the 5G Testbed – funded by the UK government – mean that we are at the forefront of creating and testing 5G infrastructures to deliver the benefits of 5G technology to communities on a huge scale. Our deployment of NetOS®, and its network virtualisation and slicing capability, will control the optical transport and Wi-Fi wireless access network in the Bristol 5G testbed.

To find out more about 5G and our involvement in its infrastructure, get in touch for a chat.