New research has revealed that we could begin to see 6G implementation by the end of the decade.
According to ABI’s 6G Standards and Market Developments, the first standard 6G technology will be rolled out as early as 2026, with commercial networks being deployed in 2028 and 2029.
5G continues to be implemented across the world, providing us with benefits that would be impossible on slower 4G networks. However, analysts are already looking ahead to the next potential communication revolution.
Current 5G technology is already being used across the world, including in the US, Europe and Asia. It has many applications, such as providing a much-needed connectivity boost to rural areas across Britain.
However, the new network is now being touted as more than just a better version of 5G – it could be a whole new system of communication.
Current 5G networks provide a peak data rate of 20Gbps and an average user experience rate of 120Mbps. However, 6G has the capability to run at 1,000Gbps and 1Gbps, respectively.
These lightning-fast speeds mean that 6G will be able to much more easily support emerging technologies than 5G would be capable of handling. The ultra-high network speed could lead to a fully connected world of terrestrial wireless and satellite communication integration.
Additionally, the current weakness of 5G is problematic connection under high-speed movement – something that would not be an issue with the considerably higher speeds supported by 6G.
Last month, China’s Huawei announced it intended to jump on the new network train, launching networks running on the new tech by 2030. According to Huawei, 6G is 50 times faster than current 5G technology, and is “far superior” in terms of its capabilities.
“Self-organisation and self-healing capabilities of a network to support autonomous driving, drone swarming and pervasive networking are also critical to reduce the time and cost of network deployment and offer greater mobile coverage,” said Jiancao Hou, 5G and mobile network infrastructure senior analyst at ABI Research.
“In the 2030s, 6G could be the key enabler to realising ubiquitous connectivity, with a wide range of devices/sensors using diverse communication environments.”
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However, although a powerful technological tool, 6G still comes with drawbacks. An important factor that must be considered is ensuring that current and previous networks are ‘harmonised’, according to a research paper by IEE Explore.
Similar to 5G networks, 6G will need to utilise both Stand-Alone and Non-standalone deployments which consider both legacy and future networks. This would “enable new use cases, satisfy the new network requirements, provide extreme coverage and also support the flexible deployment of network resources”.
As different networks have different characteristics, harmonisation in 6G would be essential to “provide required coverage and connectivity, dependability, and also satisfy the requirement of heterogeneous networking environments”.
This harmonisation will be essential for 6G to flourish. IEE Explore’s research highlights the future limitations of 5G technology as we continue to advance technologically, and we are only a few years away.
Driven the hyper-connected we expect to see in 2030, a high-speed network such as 6G will be essential to “facilitate emerging applications”.
IEE Explore says that realising the vision for the new network technology “requires utilising new technologies that are envisaged to act as enablers of 6G”.
“We also highlight existing projects, research work, and standardisation approaches focusing on the development of 6G. Consequently, we consider the lessons learned and limitations of prevailing research work to propose a roadmap for future research directions towards 6G,” the paper states.
Despite the potential benefits, discussions around 6G technology are very much still in the infancy. With the rollout of 5G networks still continuing around the world, the future requirements for 6G technology still remain to be seen.