(Pocket-lint) - A project to test 5G in a rural area of the UK has received a boost - Qualcomm has announced it will provide gear to test faster Wi-Fi networks in Dorset.
Qualcomm's trial will focus on higher frequency 5G mmWave - the faster version of 5G not yet widely used in the UK and Europe - to power smart agriculture for remote farms. The trial is being undertaken in collaboration with 5G Rural Dorset and Qualcomm devices using Snapdragon processors and the company's 5G modems will be part of the trial.
The trial will look at how 5G mmWave could potentially be used to bring connectivity to areas without wired broadband at present. "The widespread use of 5G mmWave technology in the UK would mark a significant step towards bridging the current digital divide," says Qualcomm's Wassim Chourbaji.
"It is an endorsement of mmWave’s potential that alongside trials like this one in Dorset, we are already seeing strong commercial momentum for mmWave with a number of rollouts already taking place across Europe." We are expecting some rollout of 5G mmWave in Europe during 2021, though it's not yet clear where will be first.
The 5G Rural Dorset trial will look at crop growth, tracking livestock and measuring water pollution.
5G mmWave is already rolling out in urban areas of the US - it provides high bandwidth and low latency, but coverage is only possible over a relatively concentrated area without the use of extra nodes.
Dorset is a largely rural county, so it's not the most natural place for mmWave to be used. However, because of the high capacity of mmWave networks, Qualcomm says it'll enable the robots in the trial to upload the "huge amount of data they will be gathering in real time". The company says that by centralising the date, the robots can learn from each other by taking advantage of the complete dataset, rather than operating in isolation.
Vodafone is also working on the 5G RuralDorset trials, which are partly UK Government-funded.