What is 6G Technology? (Everything you Need to know)

Introduction

5G is still in the early days of deployment and most of us are still trying to wrap our heads around it. But you know what?   

Now, with rapid development in the tech industry, we are starting to hear about an upcoming thing called 6G technology or 6 Generation technology.

While there is no availability of any tech yet, many ideas are starting to come to the fore about how 6G communications might look like.  

Let’s get this straight!  

As we know, even though the 5G networks aren’t fully deployed yet, wireless network companies have started looking ahead to the next mobile network.  

Technically, 6G doesn’t exist but it could, theoretically, end up being a lot of things. it could build on current network technology trends to create a new type of internet.

So, let’s take a deep dive into the world of 6G and what the future holds.   

What is 6G or 6th Generation Technology?  

While it is probably a little early to give an exact definition for 6G technology, we can say that the sixth-generation technology is the successor to 4G and 5G technology.   

This new network will use higher frequencies than 5G networks and enable higher data rates to have greater capacity, faster speeds, lower latency, and lesser infrastructure requirements. It will support sophisticated mobile devices and systems.  

Overall, 6G mobile technology is expected to support micro-second or sub-microsecond latency communications, making communications instantaneous.  

New network standards emerge every decade, but 6G is expected to come around 2030. But we can’t say anything for sure, even the term “6G” itself could eventually be replaced by something else.  

So, if we are assuming everything here then what’s the point of this discussion in the first place?  

The reason experts are talking about 6G is that it will bring major changes in the works for IoT. With consumers using more devices and even more internet, wireless networking companies are rushing to compete with traditional internet providers. To meet the demand with robust and flexible cellular networks.  

What will 6G look like?  

As we said earlier, it’s very hard to say anything about 6G with assurance as it doesn’t exist yet. But wireless networking companies and experts on the technology describe it as a fully integrated, internet-based system.  

According to these companies, the 6G network allows for instantaneous communications between users, devices, vehicles, and the environment.  

Unlike before, today we live in a smart environment with the Internet of Things (IoT) around us.

Eventually, with the emergence of 6G technology, we could arrive at an all-encompassing Internet of Everything but that will depend on future developments.   

Here is a rundown on the latest technology experts are talking about when they talk about the 6G network:  

1. Tbps Speeds  

Many experts believe that 6G networks will enable us to hit maximum speeds of one terabit per second (Tbps) on IoT devices.  

To help you understand, 1 Tbps is a thousand times faster than 1 Gbps. It is the fastest speed available on most home internet networks today. This means that the hypothetical top speed of 5G is 100 times faster than 10 Gbps.   

Fundamentally, though, experts and researchers have predicted that the 6G wireless network will emphasize reliability and high bandwidth.

Meaning that the internet will be instantly and continuously accessible, and it will be woven for the majority of us into the tapestry of everyday life.  

2. Terahertz Waves  

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the gates to innovation in the 6G future, in 2019. They did this by allowing wireless network companies to begin experimenting with “terahertz waves” or “submillimeter waves.”   

Terahertz or submillimeter waves are radio bands that fall in the spectrum of 95GHz to 3THz (terahertz). They come at a higher frequency than millimeter waves.

Today, they are being touted as a robust solution to bandwidth limitations and network congestion.   

Millimeter-wave bands carry vast amounts of data at ultrafast speeds and minimal response time for advanced versions of 5G. This makes it possible to develop smart things like remote surgeries and automated cars.  

The only drawback is that the millimeter waves only work over short distances. It requires a “line of sight” between the user and the transmitter.

Terahertz waves also have a weaker range but if they can be harnessed to full potential with some novel networking approaches. These waves can open up more capacity for sophisticated activities over a 6G wireless network.  

3. Artificial Intelligence and Edge Computing  

There is a lot of discussion around automated cars, remote surgeries, remote-controlled factories, and other applications of artificial intelligence (AI) amid the rise of 5G technology.   

The advent of 6G technology is expected to make it even more widespread. Some experts even think that artificial intelligence will be required to keep it all running smoothly.  

Razvan-Andrei Stoica and Giuseppe Abreu, researchers at Jacobs University in Germany, said that 6G could rely on “collaborative AI” to help self-driving cars communicate with each other, navigate pedestrians and traffic, and determine the best routes from here to there.  

This is all a part of an emerging tech called “edge computing.” This technology moves network management towards more localized devices away from centralized clouds making everything work smoother by reducing response time.  

4. Immersive Technologies  

Virtual reality and augmented reality are also expected to play a major role in 5G. In the 6G era, some experts believe, we will see the emergence of some of the most immersive technologies, such as connected implants, cellular surfaces, wireless brain-computer interfaces, and whatnot.  

Walid Saad, a lead author of a July 2019 white paper on 6G, predicts that the smartphones will eventually fall to the wayside in favor of smart wearables, headsets, and implants “that can take direct sensory inputs from human senses.”  

NTT DoCoMo, the Japanese mobile company, envisions a fusion of physical life and cyberspace: “For humans, it will become possible for cyberspace to support human thought and action in real-time through wearable devices and micro-devices mounted on the human body.”   

What will 6G Mean to you?  

Honestly, 6G technology will feel more or less similar to 5G, but more so. You will experience higher speeds, lower latency, and masses of bandwidth.   

Researchers and scientists are saying that the 6G technology will go beyond a “wired” network, by using a decentralized network with devices acting as antennas. It will not be under the control of a single network operator.   

If we say that everything will be connected using 5G, then 6G will set these connected devices free, at higher data speeds, and lower latency. It will make instant device-to-device connection possible.  

While the 5G technology, from autonomous cars and drones to smart cities, will be enhanced with 6G, it might also bring about sci-fi applications. For example, improved touch control systems and integration of brains with computers.   

NTT DoCoMo talks about 6G making it, “possible for cyberspace to support human thought and action in real-time through wearable devices and micro-devices mounted on the human body.”   

Others have called it “Teleportation of the senses” for similar reasons.  

Multiple reports point toward the sci-fi becoming facts, for instance, speed above 100Gbps could make sensory interfaces possible, potentially through smart glasses.   

Furthermore, it goes on about prioritizing low power consumption for over-the-air charging, and coverage that extends even out into space.  

Who is Working on 6G?  

As we are slowly reaching our goal of 5G deployment, research initiatives into 6G became more popular throughout 2020 and early 2021.   

Governments and private companies around the world have started extensively researching the possibilities eagerly towards the new technology. Here are several key investments recently made:  

  • Chin has already put a 6G experimental satellite into orbit. Reportedly, the satellite is one of 13 new satellites deployed on the Long March-6 rocket in November 2020. China Global Television Network also reported that the satellite weighed 70 kg and helps with data transmission tests at long distances along the terahertz spectrum.   
  • In Europe, the 6G Flagship project, which is centered in the University of Oulu of Finland, is combining research on 6G technologies.  
  • Japan is devoting $482 million to help 6G become widespread. They will also build a research facility for the development of wireless projects with this funding.  
  • In Germany, Vodafone announced that it was establishing a 6G research facility in Dresden, in 2021.  
  • In South Korea, Samsung is working on 6G, and promising advances in this technology. Other organizations are predicting the first 6G rollout as early as 2028.  
  • In Russia, the R&D institute NIIR and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology released a forecast predicting that 6G networks in 2021 could become available by 2035.  
  • In the U.S., there are many private efforts taking place in the field of 6G, although the federal government did announce a partnership with South Korea over 6G research. Notably, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are leading an industry initiative with the Next G Alliance. In May 2021, the Next G Alliance began a technical program to coordinate with new workgroups to develop 6G technology.   

For now, with the deployment of 5G just coming to end, it will be interesting to see how this new technology brings to the table. And with 6G having at least ten years to go, let’s enjoy some of the exciting tech 5G.   

With 6G on the horizon in 2030 or later, we’ll have more information as the technology develops and progresses. 

Author Bio:

Shreeya Chourasia is an experienced B2B marketing/tech content writer, who is diligently committed for growing your online presence. Her writing doesn’t merely direct the audience to take action, rather it explains how to take action for promising outcomes.