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While 5G is still considered to be in a nascent stage, some of the biggest names in the Telecom sector have already begun looking towards 6G and its applications. As most developed countries have started to make the move towards this new technology, even developing countries are paying close attention to it. Thus, it could be possible that the transition from 5G to 6G might happen at an even faster pace as compared to the previous transitions (3G to 4G or 4G to 5G)
5G – How is it evolving
5G is the current cellular standard and is being rolled out at a rapid pace. It has tremendous scope to enable functionalities across artificial intelligence, data processing, and cellular communications. With IoT-enabled devices in mind, 5G connects a higher density of devices at higher speeds and makes things lag nearly non-existent. As a result, 5G creates an excellent user experience irrespective of the application, device, or service. With an array of future applications like smart cities, autonomous vehicles, security, and healthcare it also enables corporations to look at sustainability, energy production through smart grids, and smart environmental monitoring to reduce greenhouse gases and pollution. Although there was news of China testing 10G and a few other countries testing 8G, their commercial viability is still under question. The transition will be gradual and as a logical next step, 6G will be next to overtake the advancements of 5G.
6G – Inception
As the name suggests, 6G will succeed 5G, offering higher bandwidth and lower latency. In the past, on average, it has taken about a decade for a technology to move in from the research phase to implementation (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G). As an ongoing trend, every decade paves the way for the advancement of next-generation technology to kick in. Thus, it is expected that 2030 would be the year for the launch and rollout of 6G services across the globe. Some of the early research in this field along with the information on key consortiums is as follows:
The Need for 6G
Operating at terahertz frequency bands, 6G will deliver a peak data rate of 1,000 gigabits/s having air latency of under 100 microseconds. When we talk about 5G vs 6G network speed, 6G speed is expected to be 100 times faster than 5G with enhanced reliability and wider network coverage.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a reality today. IoT solution implementations were very challenging with 4G, which was compensated by 5G. Moving ahead with 6G, we expect to connect ten times more devices per square kilometer with an increase in the number of connected devices in the upcoming years.
4G networks had a latency of about 50 milliseconds (ms), whereas 5G networks had ten times lower latency than 4G i.e., 5ms. With 6G internet, latency will slip down to a range of 1millisecond to 1microsecond, lowering latency to five times that of a fifth-generation network making massive data transmissions possible in less than a second.
Use Cases for 6G
Like 5G, 6G has an array of applications that would enable better communication and user experience, especially in the Telecom industry.
How prepared are we to experience 6G?
It is expected that by 2025, 57% of the global population would use mobile phones to access the web. This number is bound to increase by 2030 when 6G services are expected to roll out commercially. Thus, we might just be on our way to experiencing some breakthrough innovations in the years to come. IoT also promises to scale at a rapid pace with multiple device interoperability solutions in various healthcare and Telecom domains. The benefits offered by 6G in terms of low latency promise various possibilities in these fields. We might also question the need for Edge computing solutions, with the advancement of 6G bringing in better response times along with lower latency issues. Today 6G is in the research phase, but it promises a world of opportunities. We are yet to see it get implemented on the ground, but the possibilities are all the more exciting to wait and watch.
The Path Ahead
In spite of all the possibilities with 6G, it does come with a fair share of challenges. There are challenges in designing the 6G standard and implementations, including high-spectrum path loss, high computation requirements, and massive amounts of real-time information. The shift from 5G to 6G cannot happen overnight. The advancement of 5G technology requires strengthening its capabilities by bringing in more connected devices, data, and AI. The use cases of advanced 5G and their successful implementation will define the emergence of 6G and pave the path ahead. 6G promises to bring more reliability and speed. As we see, 5G evolves and improves, so we can be sure that the future holds the possibilities for hyperconnectivity and better user experience.
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