An Introduction To 6G

Published on 17 Dec 2021

The majority of us are still trying to get our brains around the new 5G wireless mobile phone standard. But guess what? There's a new technology called 6G.

Yes, even though 5G networks aren't yet completely built out, wireless communication corporations have already begun planning for the next mobile network.

Technically, 6G does not yet exist. However, theoretically, it may be a variety of things, building on the existing networks and technological trends to create a whole new sort of internet. So, let's take a deep dive into the bizarre world of 6G and speculate on what the future may bring.

What Exactly Is 6G?

The sixth generation of wireless technology is known as 6G. Following on from 4G and 5G, a 6G network will be built on the revised infrastructure and improved capacity now being constructed on millimeter-wave 5G networks. Using higher-frequency radio bands will allow networks to operate at significantly quicker rates and with reduced latency, allowing them to handle sophisticated mobile devices and systems such as self-driving automobiles.

"What occurs is that connection becomes as thin as air," said Kaniz Mahdi, Vice President of Advanced Technologies at cloud computing giant VMware. "Imagine if you had that degree of connectivity—what would the effect be on society?" What effect does it have on our everyday lives?"

Every decade, new wireless communication standards arise, and 6G is scheduled to enter the market around 2030. But nothing is written in stone—even the word "6G" might go out of favor and be replaced by something else in the future.

However, several specialists are investigating and discussing 6G since major changes are in the pipeline for internet technology in general. Consumers are using more gadgets and consuming internet bandwidth at unprecedented rates, bringing Wi-Fi into almost every facet of daily life. And wireless carriers are racing to compete with conventional broadband internet providers, seeking to fulfill expanding demand with powerful and adaptable cellular networks.

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The majority of today's mobile phone internet technology is based on 4G, a wireless standard that debuted in late 2009. 4G significantly increased data rates on mobile phones, enabling users to engage in internet activities like streaming HD video and playing video games.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that we are now moving on to 5G, many mobile phone carriers have failed to meet international 4G criteria. Many networks these days have what's known as 4G LTE, or long-term evolution. The phrase implies deluxe 4G, however, it refers to a sped-up, nearly 4G-but-not-quite version of 3G. On average, mobile devices on 4G LTE networks achieved download rates of roughly 33.88 Mbps, which was considerably below the initial estimations of what 4G was expected to accomplish.

Nonetheless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and other cellular service providers launched 5G networks in 2018 and 2019. They are now constructing 5G cellular networks throughout the country. Some businesses have also begun to roll out early versions of 5G residential internet.

Depending on the sort of 5G network you're on, current 5G speeds vary from 40 to 1,100 Mbps. Experts believe that by using technologies such as millimeter-wave spectrum and beamforming, 5G might potentially reach peak rates of up to 10,000 Mbps. Whether 5G meets that goal or not, wireless providers are now planning to employ 5G for additional applications in industry, business, healthcare, and remote working, rather than merely servicing our phones.

Perhaps by the time, we reach 10,000 Mbps (10 Gbps) speeds, cellular firms will have already launched 6G. What is certain is that 6G will be about far more than just internet speeds.

What Will The 6G Network Look Like?

It's difficult to predict what 6G will look like since it doesn't currently exist. However, wireless businesses and researchers characterize 6G as a fully integrated, internet-based system that enables instantaneous connections between users, gadgets, cars, and the surrounding environment in media interviews and research papers.

We now have the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes smartphones and smart home gadgets. We may eventually arrive at an all-encompassing Internet of Everything. However, this will be dependent on future advances such as 6G (or whatever it is called) and how it functions.

Here's an overview of what experts are referring to when they discuss 6G:

1 TBPS Bandwidth

Some analysts anticipate that 6G networks will one day enable internet devices to reach peak rates of one terabit per second (Tbps).

That's a thousand times quicker than the fastest accessible speed on most household internet networks today, 1 Gbps. It's 100 times faster than the theoretical peak speed of 5G, which is 10 Gbps. So, obviously, it's a rosy estimate, and we're still a long way from reaching those speeds.

Fundamentally, though, academics expect that 6G would prioritize exceptionally high bandwidth and dependability. The internet will be instantaneously and constantly available on 6G, woven into the fabric of daily life for many of us. 

Terahertz (THz) Waves

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the door to a possible 6G future in 2019 by permitting firms to begin testing with what are known as "terahertz waves" or "submillimeter waves." These are radio bands that range from 95GHz to 3THz (terahertz).

Terahertz waves have a greater frequency than millimeter waves, which are now being marketed as a Holy Grail solution to network congestion and capacity constraints. Advanced versions of 5G rely on millimeter-wave bands to transfer massive quantities of data at superfast rates with minimum reaction time, allowing (theoretically) the development of things like self-driving vehicles and remote surgery.

The catch is that millimeter waves can only communicate over short distances, necessitating a "line of sight" between the transmitter and the user. Terahertz waves have an even narrower range. However, if they are effectively harnessed with certain unique networking technologies, they have the potential to offer up much more capacity for undertaking complex, Jetsons-esque activities over a 6G wireless network.


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