6G: what to expect and when?
January 05, 2023
With the deployment of 5G networks still under process, and many people not owning 5G smartphones yet, it may seem a bit early to discuss 6G and its innovations. After all, the concept of the 6G network is still in early development, and it may not become a part of commercial use until the 2030s.
However, technology is advancing rapidly; the idea of 6G being in talks so early while 5G is yet to make significant global inroads, shows how quickly the technology is progressing.
With 6G, we will likely see data speeds so high that hundreds of gigabits of files will download within a matter of seconds and improved network latency and processing speeds. With that in mind, let’s dive deep into the sixth generation of wireless data networks to see how it will impact the world.
What is 6G?
As the successor to 5G cellular technology, 6G is the sixth generation of wireless networks. Like all previous generations, 6G will build on and enhance the capabilities of 5G, augmented by advances in digital technology. That will mean expanding on speed and data capacity, plus the innovations regarding IoT (the Internet of Things) that 5G will make practical.
The 6G technology market promises massive improvements in imaging, presence technology, and site awareness. Working with artificial intelligence (AI), 6G computing infrastructure will be able to determine the optimal location of computing power, including decisions about data storage and sharing.
According to some reports by telecommunications experts, 6G will apply technologies designed for mobile phones to a broad range of applications, including transportation, agriculture, and advanced home networking. That will allow people to experience a seamless connection between the Internet and their daily lives.
5G vs 6G
Let’s understand some fundamental differences between 5G and 6G through the following table:
|Spectrum used: GHz (Gigahertz)||Spectrum used: THz (Terahertz)|
|Top speed: 10Gbps||Top speed: 1Tbps (hypothetical)|
|Latency: 5 milliseconds||Latency: 1 millisecond - 1 microsecond|
|Technologies: IoT, IIoT, Cloud Computing, Edge Orchestration||Technologies: Advanced IoT & IIoT, Nano-core, Edge and Core Coordination, and more|
When is 6G expected?
The concept of 6G is still in its infancy, but it has incredible potential. 6G networks may become commercial sometime around 2030, or at least when most telecom companies will be running trials, and that is when we’ll see phone manufacturers tease 6G-capable phones. That said, no one knows “exactly” when the new wireless spectrum will become available. It is because of regulation and frequency allocation, which takes time.
According to a report from the local news agency Yonhap, South Korea plans to introduce 6G services for commercial use by approximately 2028. The adoption of 6G technology will bring significant advancements in various industries and sectors, including communication, transportation, and healthcare. The government and private companies in South Korea have been actively investing in research and development to ensure that the country is at the forefront of 6G innovation. The target date for the commercialization of 6G services in South Korea aligns with the timeline set by other countries, such as the United States and China, which are also working towards developing and implementing 6G technology.
6G will likely use the distributed radio access network (RAN) and the terahertz (THz) spectrum to boost capacity, minimize latency, and improve spectrum sharing. Advanced mobile communications technology, such as cognitive and highly secure data networks, will also be used. It will also necessitate spectral bandwidth growth orders of magnitude faster than 5G.
What to expect with 6G?
6G technology will significantly improve upon 5G in terms of network coverage and reliability, allowing for a higher density of mobile devices to connect and interact with each other in real time.
Additionally, 6G will optimize moment-to-moment interaction by improving network reliability more than a hundred times and reducing the error rate by ten times. Improvements in these areas will also benefit smartphones and other mobile network technology and many emerging technologies.
Some experts believe that 6G networks could one day allow you to reach speeds of up to one terabyte per second (Tbps) on your internet devices. That’s a thousand times faster than one Gbps, among the fastest speeds available on most home internet networks today. It’s a hundred times faster than 5G’s supposed top speed of 10 Gbps. So, yes, that’s an optimistic estimate, and we’re a long way from reaching those speeds. However, researchers predict that 6G will focus on extremely high bandwidth and reliability. With 6G, the Internet will be instantly and continuously accessible and integrated into the daily lives of many of us.
As mentioned earlier, 6G technology will also cover a much larger area than 5G, which means that we would need fewer towers to cover an area of land. That would be highly beneficial if you’re looking to have towers in places where it rains frequently or trees and vegetation are abundant.
In addition, 6G will also integrate many new technologies and changes in the core communication network structure. In particular, AI and the IoT will take center stage in 6G.
One of the main advantages of 6G will be its ability to facilitate instant communication between phones, computers, robots, and more. Technologies such as terahertz waves, cloud computing, and edge orchestration will enable the widespread implementation of wearable smart devices, virtual reality headsets, automated infrastructure, and many other exciting things.
While 6G networks do not yet exist and are currently in the research phase, companies are already anticipating cutting-edge wireless network use cases utilizing 6G technology after successful comparisons of 5G and 6G networks.
The new generation network is still in the process of finalizing most of its primary characteristics. That includes high-speed data transfer rates and multiple radio channels for increased reliability and coverage area. Once these features are ready, we’ll start seeing public testing of 6G devices.
Today, everyone has their own unique internet connection speed and data usage limits. That is because each person uses their WiFi router without thinking about interference levels or performance issues. With 6G, all wireless devices will connect to a single high-speed internet channel with no limits whatsoever.
In any case, the prospect of using 6G remains popular among many. It may resolve many of the current issues related to wireless communication.
Vice President, Product Management