What is 6G? Will it really be any better than 5G? Is 6G really coming? Who’s leading the charge in 6G development? These are just some of the questions we’ll answer in this post.
6G or sixth-generation wireless is 5G’s successor. 6G is still in development but has already been making headlines due primarily to the speed that it will offer. Like its predecessors, 4G and 5G, 6G will work on broadband cellular networks. It will work alongside 4G and 5G as well. To date, companies, including Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, Samsung, LG, Apple, and Xiaomi, and countries, such as India, China, Japan, and Singapore, are developing 6G-enabled products and services.
6G development is still in the research phase. And since 5G has just been released, people often wonder if 6G is even real.
Is 6G Even Real?
It will be. For now, though, 6G has yet to work. In fact, we don’t even know if it will be called “6G” when it finally gets released. What we’re only sure of is that it will eventually replace 5G. We say “eventually” because mobile telecommunications companies have yet to fully roll out 5G before they can shift their focus on 6G. At present, early research projects have been funded by governments that want to gain an advantage.
When Will 6G Come?
Ericsson CTO Erik Ekudden and Verizon CTO Kyle Malady both believe that 6G is still a long way off. Both companies are still very busy with 5G. But since 6G research has just begun, Ekudden estimates the 6G launch would take about a decade. This prediction supports those made by Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and an ABI Research study.
Experts identified 2030 as the dawn of 6G. Find out why and what the technology will bring in the next 10 years or so.
What Will 6G Offer?
Because 6G is set to be 5G’s replacement, experts believe it will be a lot like 5G. But since technologies get better with every version released, we can probably expect 6G to be faster, have lower latency, and come with greater bandwidth.
Unlike 5G networks, which still require wired networks, 6G is bound to go beyond wired networks. Researchers and scientists believe it can use devices to serve as antennas, creating a decentralized network that no single network operator controls. 6G, they say, will make instant device-to-device connection possible powered by higher data speeds and lower latency. With 6G, autonomous cars, drones, and smart cities will work better.
Who Are Working on 6G?
Several countries’ governments have made key 6G investments, including:
- China: The country has already launched an experimental 6G satellite into orbit. It is one of the 13 new satellites deployed in November 2020. The satellite was designed to enable data transmission tests from long distances along the terahertz spectrum. Apart from 6G usage, it could also monitor crops, spot forest fires, and gather environmental data. Also, 35% of 38,000 patents filed in the country are related to 6G.
- Europe: The region has a 6G flagship project headquartered in the University of Oolu in Finland that will combine 6G research from various countries.
- Japan: The country has devoted US$482 million to 6G research. This fund also covers the cost of building a facility where researchers can develop wireless projects.
- Germany: Vodafone announced in 2021 that it was establishing a 6G research facility in Dresden.
- South Korea: Samsung is working on 6G, particularly for advanced technology like holograms.
- Russia: NIIR and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology predicted a 6G network rollout in the country as soon as 2035.
- U.S.: 6G efforts are more private than government-fueled. But the government partnered with South Korea for 6G research in 2021. Mobile companies are proceeding with 6G development. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, along with ATIS, formed the Next G Alliance, which aims to organize and further 6G research throughout North America. Around 18% of the country’s total number of patents are 6G-related.
If the experts’ predictions are correct, 6G will become available by 2030. For now, let’s get the most out of 5G.