Multi-gigabit, low latency connectivity. Coming in 2016.

IEEE ComSoc Technology News (#IEEECTN) is closely watching the top 10 communications technology trends that will be making headlines in 2015. Here is a topic thumbnail of how these trends are shaping our industry, and what to expect in 2015 and beyond.

British satellite telecommunications firm Inmarsat, and Honeywell Aerospace, have reached a new milestone in high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi during first phase tests of hardware and satellite network flight tests for GX Aviation broadband services.

In order to reach this important next step, the test airplane connected to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation through Honeywell’s JetWave-branded hardware (a combination which aims to provide the backbone for users' access to the internet via the GX Aviation global Ka-band in-flight Wi-Fi service.)

"Just having Wi-Fi on board is no longer a differentiator – in the future it will be about the quality of the service."

Efforts to increase Internet access worldwide are falling short of targeted goals, according to a United Nations Broadband Commission report released earlier this week.
The Rich Get Internet-Richer While the Poor Get None

More than half the world's population is still offline, according to the report, and growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing.

The digital divide has become a chasm.

Radio systems, such as mobile phones and wireless internet connections, have become an integral part of modern life. However, today's devices use twice as much of the radio spectrum as is necessary. New technology is being developed that could fundamentally change radio design and could increase data rates and network capacity, reduce power consumption, create cheaper devices and enable global roaming.

A pioneering team of researchers from the University of Bristol's Communication Systems and Networks research group, have developed a new technique that can estimate and cancel out the interference from one's own transmission, allowing a radio device to transmit and receive on the same channel at the same time. This therefore requires only one channel for two-way communication, using half as much spectrum compared to the current technology.

The ITU is sorting through likely approaches to the next-generation mobile standard

Even before the 4G technology your smartphone uses was rolled out in earnest, telecommunications experts were dreaming of the next generation: 5G. But what 5G will do and how it will do it have remained pretty nebulous. “5G is a plethora of technologies that people are trying to bring together. What technology should be prioritized in what way?” says Thyagarajan ­Nandagopal, the director of the Networking Technologies and Systems program at the U.S. National Science Foundation.

"Let's synchronize our watches." It's the classic line before a group goes out on a mission. We are all familiar with the concept of synchronized clocks - less known, but equally important, is that wireless devices need to be synchronized too.

However, instead of requiring a precision of minutes, wireless devices have to make their clocks match within very small fractions of a second. This so-called "clock synchronization" is needed for a large range of purposes - from increasing cellphone coverage, to increasing data speed rates, to enabling precision localization in places where GPS is not available. Some of these activities require synchronization within "only" a millionth of a second, a requirement that has been achieved by a variety of methods.

The battle between the advertising industry, mobile phone operators, publishers and privacy advocates has reached new heights, with Apple's decision to allow ad-blocking extensions in its Safari browser sparking fears that the multi-billion dollar mobile ad industry could be about to take an expensive haircut. While third-party ad-blocking apps have been around for a while, few are used on mobile platforms – they are more commonly found on desktop and laptop computers.

Researchers from the National Physical Laboratory, University of Strathclyde, Imperial College London and University of Glasgow have developed a portable way to produce ultracold atoms for quantum technology and quantum information processing. Their research has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, where it is featured on the front cover.

The world's biggest internet service providers are investing less in infrastructure than ever; yet earning more than ever according to "over a decade" worth of data by Harvard scholar Susan Crawford and telecom analyst Mitchell Shapiro. But could new technology change this?

"Comcast’s capex (capital expenditure) to revenue ratio climbed as high as 37 percent in 2001, following very large-scale acquisitions, a relatively large proportion of which required substantial network upgrades," Shapiro wrote in a report accompanying the data, adding that in 2000 many ISPs were transitioning to a model known as hybrid fiber coaxial (basically using a mix of fiber and copper to make up a network).

Smart Cities are no longer a promise of the future but an increasing priority for local, regional and countrywide governments and a flourishing business area for technological firms and CSPs with interests in the IoT market.

The European Union is so far the part of the world where more efforts have been made to develop smart cities. At the same time, we find a higher degree of scrutiny and follow-up of how well they rank and abide to predefined European standards. Despite being a conglomerate of various countries with different legislations, areas that affect smart city legislation, such as environment or mobility are normally legislated at Union level, easing the path to creating a more homogeneous standard for Smart Cities, and helping EU based companies to bid for projects in different countries.

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