Future 6G technology could be up to 8,000 times faster than 5G

With the world just starting to roll out the new 5G technology, China announced a few months ago that it will start researching 6G technology. Several companies and research institutions have met in working groups for a planned deployment as early as 2030. Japan and the United States have also made statements about similar research. 6G, which could be 8000 times faster than 5G, would put an end to current smartphones and pave the way for brain-computer interfaces as well as connected buildings.

After launching 5G networks in 50 cities in late 2019 and before the initial deployment deadline, China has officially focused on 6G innovation. The Ministry of Science and Technology announced in November 2019 its intention to launch a nationally coordinated research effort, specifically focused on the development of 6G technology.

Although the deployment of 5G is still in its infancy and most mobile users continue to operate on 4G networks, the country announced on Thursday its intention to launch two separate working groups that will focus specifically on advancement of 6G.

6G development: the end of the smartphone era?

A group will be made up of the ministries concerned, with the aim of promoting the development and implementation of 6G. While the other will be made up of people representing 37 universities, research institutes and companies, who will provide advice and ideas on the technical aspects of the deployment of 6G. It is also important to note that, although China was one of the first countries to deploy a massive 5G system, it has received international scrutiny in most of its efforts.

Researchers are already offering some examples of revolutionary 6G applications, including wireless brain-computer interactions, which introduce new use cases that allow technology to be literally controlled by the brain. " Today's wireless networks can't really handle brain commands, so it's very exciting for 6G ."

They also predict that 6G will usher in the “end of the smartphone era”. In today's cellular networks, the devices now communicate with centralized base stations. With 6G, researchers in the United States, China and elsewhere predict that smart surfaces and metamaterials will make way for the walls of buildings to become base stations with which devices communicate.

5G technology: an emerging network 100 times faster than 4G

5G has the potential to be 10 to 100 times faster than the 4G networks that most smartphones currently use. This network has been operating since 2009, which took over from the 3G networks launched in the early 2000s and the 2G networks that brought global sms for the first time in the 1990s. Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam, a wireless communications expert at the University of Sydney says there are three main areas that separate 5G from 4G: speed, capacity and stability.

The deployment of the infrastructure necessary for the 5G network will allow multiple uses such as intelligent urban communication and multi-object interactions. Credit: Qovo

This emerging network is expected to increase the digitization of everyday life - from smart appliances to autonomous vehicles or even medical equipment. 5G networks on a smartphone offer users the ability to download an entire serial season in seconds.

6G network: a technology potentially 8000 times faster than 5G

Shirvanimoghaddam says 6G networks could give users speeds of 1 terabyte per second, or 8000 gigabits per second. To put that into perspective, streaming Netflix at its highest quality for an hour is equivalent to 56 gigabits of data, so in terms of 6G, you would be able to download just over 142 hours of higher quality video than Netflix every second.

This data processing capacity has the potential to completely change the relationship humans have with technology, as the 6G era could allow devices to be used via our brains. The vast majority of these devices will rely on cloud services that require higher network bandwidths. 5G simply will not be able to provide this service.

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