19 Feb 2019 |
Research article |
Information and Communications Technologies
Fast Forward to 5G: The ENCQOR Initiative
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Last fall, two sites in Quebec were granted infrastructure and resources to establish a pre-commercial 5th generation wireless network platform: the first at Centech, the ÉTS business incubator, and the second at the Thales Research and Technology Center in Québec City. Three cities in Ontario are also part of the project: Waterloo, Toronto, and Ottawa.
The ENCQOR initiative (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation) represents a total investment of $400 million and connects five digital giants (Ericsson, Ciena Canada, Thales Canada, IBM Canada, and CGI) to the governments of Canada, Quebec and Ontario.
The Promises of 5G
From a technical viewpoint 5G, which uses high-frequency radio waves, is the result of improvements in wireless access and the centralization of specific network functions. A wireless transmission rate of ten gigabytes per second is expected, a connection that would be 100 times faster than what we know today. Latency, meanwhile, should decrease to a few milliseconds, representing an estimated drop of a factor between 10 and 50, and allowing real-time implementation of a variety of applications. By offering this unparalleled performance, 5G will lead to the creation of new products and services that will markedly transform our lives and the way we manufacture goods. 5G’s impact is expected to be pervasive, and notably in the realm of smart cities, e-health, connected and autonomous vehicles, and advanced manufacturing.
A Turning Point: Transition to Digital
The corridor that will offer the 5G network is meant to facilitate digital enterprise transformation, a transition to Industry 4.0, essential to maintaining competitive edge. We have entered an era where our infrastructure must accommodate massive data processing and transmission to ensure tomorrow’s economic development. This demand is due to the ever-increasing number of connected objects and the generation of applications that require the transmission of large amounts of data. To meet this demand, businesses and individuals must be able to access the high frequency spectrum that is yet to be used by existing wireless services.
ENCQOR’s two innovation sites in Quebec are open to all SMEs, establishments of higher education, and interested organizations in Quebec. In addition to 5G access, these organizations will receive support in acquiring this technology and use it for research and development purposes.
ÉTS, at the Heart of the ENCQOR Project
Building on the 5G innovation platform at Centech, ÉTS faculty members, working in several business sectors impacted by digital transformation, will benefit from the ENCQOR initiative to offer innovative and multidisciplinary research projects to students who, in turn, will acquire advanced training adapted to industry needs.