Is 6G a Thing? When is it Coming and How Fast Will it Be?
6G technology will change the way we live, work, and play. Click here to learn the latest developments and when you can expect it to roll out.
The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, creating a demand for faster and more reliable connectivity solutions. For the most part, this demand has been answered by the development of 5G networks, which have revolutionized mobile wireless networks, though still having a ways to go when it comes to home Internet. Now, sixth-generation connectivity, or 6G, is on the horizon.
This article discusses 6G technology, how it’s different from 5G networks, potential use cases, and when it’s expected to debut.
What Does 6G Mean?
6G, or sixth-generation connectivity, is the next step in the evolution of wireless networks and connectivity. That means it will result in faster data transfer rates, greater bandwidths, lower latency, and more reliable wireless communications than its predecessors.
That’s because 6G technology will operate on higher frequency bands, including terahertz (THz) frequencies, than past generations of wireless networks (i.e., 3G, 4G, 5G). Generally, this will increase the speeds of most mobile networks and enhance the connectivity of the Internet of things (IoT).
How is 6G Technology Different From 5G?
5G networks are fast and reliable, with low latency and higher data rates than previous generations of WiFi and wireless networks.
However, 6G technology is expected to offer even faster data rates, lower latency, and more reliable wireless communication networks. This is due to the high-frequency bands, including THz frequencies, and more efficient interfaces expected to be used in 6G networks.
How Fast Is Sixth-Generation Connectivity?
6G technology is still in the research and development phase. However, it’s expected to offer significantly faster data transfer rates than the 5G networks of current cellular networks.
Some estimates suggest that 6G technology could offer data transfer rates up to 1 Tbps, which is approximately 100 times faster than 5G networks.
For example, in 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened up 6G frequency for spectrum testing covering frequencies from 95 gigahertz (GHz) to 3 Terahertz (THz).
When Can We Expect 6G to Debut?
6G technology is still in its early stages of development. Nevertheless, some companies have already begun their work to launch it. Learn more below.
- Samsung released a white paper outlining its vision for 6G.
- Nokia has set up a dedicated research facility for this purpose.
- The University of Oulu in Finland is also conducting studies on the topic.
- The Next G Alliance - an industry group backed by the IEEE and including major telecoms such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile - is working towards establishing standards of 6G technologies.
Overall, there isn’t an official timeline for when 6G networks will be available, but some experts anticipate it could happen as early as 2030.
Which Country Has a Next Generation 6G Network Now?
Currently, there is no country with a functioning 6G network. However, many companies and organizations are developing this technology, such as NTT Docomo in Japan, Samsung in South Korea, and Ericsson in Sweden. The FCC has also allowed the testing of 6G networks multiple times in the United States.
Use Cases - How Will 6G Technology Be Used?
In addition to the advancements in mobile technology and telecommunications, there are many possibilities for a new technology like 6G. With that in mind, here are a few potential use cases for 6G technology:
- Augmented/Virtual Reality: 6G can provide the real-time, high-speed connectivity essential for real-time AR/VR applications.
- Robotics & Automation: Faster communication & control means improved efficiency and productivity in robotic and automated systems.
- Healthcare: Telemedicine services will benefit from enhanced 6G connectivity between healthcare professionals & patients.
- Autonomous Vehicles (Self-Driving): Improved communication between autonomous vehicles and their surroundings.
- Edge Computing: 6G will enable more powerful edge computing capabilities and advanced AI/machine learning applications.
- Sustainability: More sustainable mobile and communications networks, reducing energy consumption & environmental impact.
- Gaming: Lower latency & faster Internet speeds for next-generation gaming with reduced lag and immersive gaming potential.
- Smart Cities: More efficient & reliable communication networks with greater potential for IoT & other communication technologies.
These are just a few potential use cases for 6G wireless technology. As research and development efforts continue, many more use cases will likely emerge in 6G communication technologies.
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We’ll have to wait a long time to see what 6G has to offer. But in the meantime, there are still many great options currently available for high-speed WiFi at home or on the go.
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