Cisco and the University of Waterloo Invest in 5G Technology

Improved cell phone technology is coming to Canada, whether the big telecom companies want it or not.

Cisco Canada announced that they are investing $1 million over five years to the University of Waterloo to help pursue research into 5G technology. This new generation of cellular tech will allow for record-setting download and upload speeds as well as improved communication between devices when it comes to IoT.

Catherine Rosenberg is a professor at the University of Waterloo and will be the new Cisco research chair in 5G systems. The money will go towards establishing this position so the university can take a country-leading approach to the new tech.

“It’s going to allow us to do things we could not do before,” said Rosenberg. “If you think only in terms of speed, you don’t think in terms of scale. It is about scale, it is about rate, and it is about quality.”

Rosenberg will work with colleagues as well as Cisco experts to help develop tech and products for the company.

“One of our imperatives is to invest in initiatives that drive innovation for Cisco and increase Canada’s competitiveness,” said Rola Dagher, Cisco Canada president. “This chair, and our long-standing relationship with the University of Waterloo, are representative of our mutual focus on disruptive technologies that have the potential to help shape Cisco’s strategy but also to bolster Canada’s stature in global technology R&D and entrepreneurship.”

In addition to the $1 million, Cisco is providing $500,000 to the Global Entrepreneurship and Disruptive Innovation initiative that aims to connect industry with leading researchers from educational institutions in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor. Another $100,000 will go to the University of Waterloo’s Problem Lab to focus on innovation with a large social consequence.

There is already a lot of investment into 5G technology in Canada, as the ENCQOR Project will see $400 million be invested in the tech over the next five years as well. That is a public and private partnership, all working towards the widespread adoption of 5G tech.

Despite all of this progress and money being put into 5G, Canadian telecom companies remain indifferent. U.S. companies are competing to be the first truly 5G provider, while Canadian companies have stayed quiet and barely commented on the tech. There’s a chance Canadians see 5G rollout in 2020, but it’s unlikely. Private companies investing in research like this will help speed up the entire process, but until the big three telecom companies step up to the plate, there won’t be too much progress.