6G will be another step forward in mobile technological innovation and interactions with other connected devices. It will go in the future to replace 5G, which is currently growing steadily in coverage.
Although it is still a bit premature, more on an empirical level than anything else, let’s try to take a look into the future. And find out everything there is to know about 6G connectivity in its current state.
What is 6G and when will it arrive
6G is not likely to be commercially available until around 2030. But, it could start rolling out a little earlier, around 2028. This is also supported by Samsung, which in a roadmap has begun to define the initial stages.
Looking at the development trend of older generations of connectivity, the transition from 2G to 3G took about 15 years. But we expect significantly shorter timeframes in this case, with more consistent steps forward.
The timelines given by the South Korean giant are in line with those defined by Huawei, through the mouths of Huawei’s Ren Zhengfei and Yu Chengdong. The company stated that it has a strategy already mapped out, specifying that it will still take a scant 10 years for widespread deployment.
6G should have wide bandwidth available, with high-frequency transmissions but rather “weak” coverage. Several companies are investing millions and millions of dollars in the technology. Among them Huawei, which has already put up more than $2 billion to fund studies and developments.
The first experiments on G6
In November 2020, a Long March 6 carrier rocket lifted off in China, kicking off testing with the first experimental 6G satellite. The latter will also be used for smart urban applications, prevention, land use planning, environmental protection and monitoring for large infrastructure construction.
A number of tech giants have joined “the Next G Alliance,” led by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), with the goal of leading the U.S. (and beyond) toward 6G technology in the next decade. They include, for example, Google, Apple, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, LG Electronic, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Qualcomm and Microsoft.
The CEA-Leti Institute, based in Grenoble, has unveiled a European project on the next generation of wireless connections. Called RISE-6G, it is backed by market giants such as TIM and Orange, and will “design, prototype and test intelligent and energy sustainable technological advances based on reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) that will enable programmable control and modeling of the wireless propagation environment.”
The goal of the project is to define new network architectures and operational strategies, characterize the limits of the new system on radio wave propagation models, design solutions for online commerce between high-capacity connectivity, efficiency, EMF exposure and location accuracy based on dynamically programmable wireless propagation environments.
All this without forgetting the specific legislative and regulatory requirements on spectrum use, data protection and EMF emission.
Speed and latency of 6G
According to what we know so far, 6G may be able to offer theoretical connection speeds of 1 TB/s with a latency of less than 100 microseconds. These are definitely incredible values considering how 5G was developed to reach peak speeds of 20 Gbps.
These values will make it possible to enjoy the first true XR (virtual/augmented reality) systems, AR and 8K content streaming, VR streaming up to 16K, and even high-definition holograms.
According to experts, 6G could also offer new perspectives for brain-computer interfaces, leading to something truly science fiction.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a key role in 6G technology. Which will be in charge of “sorting” the enormous amount of data that will be transmitted by the various devices.
In this way, these will be able to connect with each other in a virtually instantaneous way. Thus with all the benefits that it may bring in different areas. Not only smartphones and tablets, but also wearables, robots, drones, IoT, Industry 4.0, healthcare and beyond.