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6G Technology: What We Can Expect in the Future?

by | Jun 14, 2022 | Technology




Science and technology have and continue to change human life, especially with the rapid development of information communication technology which directly brought mankind into the era of the Internet of Everything. Communication has always been central to human existence and it is a major contributor to our evolution.

And for the last couple of decades, wireless communication has changed the way we communicate and impact our life as a whole. Advances in wireless communications have brought new experiences and innovation. And each time increases the demand for more network resources.

From 1G to 4G, every generation of wireless technology has tried to meet the demands of network operators and final consumers. And each time they succeed to do so, however, they also brought new advances that required more network power. In 2019, after years of waiting, 5G wireless networks and devices finally became a reality.

And now with the 5G being rolled out, worldwide research communities are looking at what will come next. The commercialization of the fifth generation of wireless communication is far from over but we all know that preparing for the next generation of communications technology takes a decade.

That’s why research and development of the sixth generation of communication, the 6G networks has already begun. This network doesn’t exist yet, but its promises are incredible. The numbers that get thrown around when industry leaders theorize about it are mind-boggling. It is estimated that it has download speeds of up to a terabyte per second and latency as low as 0.1 milliseconds.

What it basically means is that devices will be able to move an enormous amount of data with almost no delay. The new spectrum of 6G will go beyond what 5G can do. Beyond the exploitation of millimeter waves towards a terahertz band to exploit a large amount of bandwidth that is available at such high frequencies. The possibilities open-ups by 6G are truly in the realm of sci-fi. So what exactly is the sixth generation on wireless connectivity?

What is 6G communication?

While 5G is now available in most areas, we can expect new wireless technology standards to emerge. During the next decade, 6G will be ready to replace 5G. The resulting mobile technology systems will likely be more advanced, enabling us to connect more devices and more people in less time.

The next generation of mobile connectivity promises a lot of potential. A professor at the University of Sydney claims that it will deliver mind-boggling speeds and enable mind-computer integration. It might also enable the creation of immersive technology, including cellular surfaces and wireless brain-computer interfaces, and take virtual reality to the next level.

The sixth generation of wireless communication and 5G alike, require the use of much higher frequencies than older networks to meet their potential. 5G uses 24GHz to 100 GHz range. These frequencies have wavelengths measured in millimeters and can enable download speeds as fast as multiple gigabits per second.

But the frequencies that make shifting that much data possible don’t travel very far and can be easily blocked by everyday objects. Because of this, millimeter-wave networks (5G) have only been deployed in dense urban areas where they provide the most return for the cost of installation. And even there, they only cover a small area.

So, if implementing mobile technology that operates at a 100 gigahertz maximum has been slow-going so far, you can imagine the hurdles that will arise when technology that uses Terahertz frequencies is introduced. Both 5G and 6G promises faster download speeds and lower latency times, however, 6G promises higher bandwidth.

While 5G is already a major step forward, the next generation of mobile connectivity will make the next step. It’s still a theoretical concept but its benefits are promising. Just like its predecessor, the 6G will likely use higher frequencies and allow for higher data rates and greater capacity.

It is also estimated that it will provide lower latency and less infrastructure than 5G. All this will enable the development of more advanced mobile devices and services. The concept of edge computing enables cloud services to be closer to the end-user, thus reducing the delay in delivering computing resources to the consumer.

a big 5G antenna under cloudy sky
Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Edge computing systems are fast processing and provide rapid response time. Future 6G networks will integrate the current 5G and IoT infrastructure with hardware for edge computing and heavy AI algorithms. In the end, the goal is to make this network the best and most resilient communication technology yet.

From 1G to 5G, engineers managed to transmit only two of the human senses through communication technology, namely seeing and hearing. With 6G, they hope to add the other three human senses which are touch, taste, and smell. It is estimated that it will be a fundamental technology that drives the convergence of services between industries.

It will enable ultra-wideband with ultra-low delay as well as ultra-intelligent and hyper-spatial revolutionary. Technologies such as Artificial intelligence, robotics and automation will usher in unprecedented paradigm shifts. Wireless communication and wireless networks will expand from connecting humans to connecting everything.

Promises of 6G technology

It is very difficult to predict what exactly 6G will be for instance. The research on 5G started around 2009 and its exact features were defined much later in 2015. Similar uncertainties were also observed for 3G and 4G during their inception. However, we can predict the following features of 6G.

If you take a look at what the different generations of networks have enabled, 2G and 3G have unleashed the potential of human mobility and connectivity. The 4G unleashed the potential of high-speed information and social engagement through social media and video streaming. The 5G unlocks the potential of machines and sensing.

The peak data rates proposed for 5G are 20 gigabits per second and the peak wireless data rates of the sixth generation of connectivity will be around 100 gigabits per second. But 6G data rate will not be its main attraction, the 5G latency of one millisecond would be further reduced to a microsecond. While the future is still uncertain, 6G promises to change the way we do things.

And it is predicted that the next generation of communication technology will enable perfect knowledge of the human world. These capabilities will be the key to the future of smart cities, smart spaces, smart offices and smart buildings. The technology will allow companies to build and connect intelligent, autonomous vehicles and make a significant impact on the environment.

As mentioned, 6G networks will be capable of supporting a broad range of applications beyond the current mobile use scenarios. The new network is expected to use different frequency bands and measure absorption. This will be possible because atoms and molecules emit and absorb electromagnetic radiation at characteristic frequencies.

However, this will require more advanced radio and software technology than what is available today. As the future of wireless networks grows and evolves, it is important to remember that the speeds of 5G will be surpassed by the speed of 6G. And just like 5G, 6G is expected to use ultrahigh frequencies.

In fact, it may even reach terahertz and 300 GHz ranges. The future of wireless communication networks will depend on the ability of network technologies to support a wide range of activities. As the world becomes more complex, the technology behind 5G needs to evolve to meet these demands.

The new generation of networks will be much more advanced and include new innovative technologies. With these advancements, we can expect that more people will be using mobile broadband networks than ever before. While the current state of 5G has led to many advances in wireless technology, 6G will take things to the next level.

It will consolidate multiple frequencies and technologies and allow users to easily switch between networks, bringing a revolutionary new level of convenience and connectivity to every part of the world. As the technologies evolve, the concept of conventional cellular to orthogonal communications to cell-free communications will help users automatically switch networks.

As a result, the transition from handover failures to cell-free communications will become a reality. eMBB will enable a truly immersive experience in extended reality (augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality) applications. eMBB will enable high peak data rates and low E2E latency. 6G networks will need a large system capacity to support such capabilities.

Image by Tung Nguyen from Pixabay

While 5G has had an exponentially increased rate of data transmission, 6G is expected to bring with it an even higher amount of data. The next generation must be equally efficient in the way that data is transmitted. And while its speed will be faster than the current one, it will also require a drastic reduction in energy consumption.

So while we are excited about the technological evolution of 5G, it is also time to prepare for 6G’s implications. It is crucial that the next generation networks are human-centric. This will enable a variety of new use cases, including entertainment, manufacturing, navigation and much more.

Technological Impact of 6G communication

In the coming decades, the speed and capacity of 6G networks will revolutionize the way we live and work. It will also enable groundbreaking technologies like smart sensory devices. This is an essential aspect of the new paradigm shift from the current smart to intelligent era.

The use of 6G technology will allow seamless and fast connections to cars, smartphones and other objects. In the future, everything will be available instantly and wait times will be a thing of the past. This technology will also make it possible to develop and implement more innovations on a larger scale.

It will also provide the foundation for the autonomous world that many of us dream of. For one thing, 6G will make it easier to track vehicles and people across borders, reducing crimes such as human trafficking and smuggling. It will also provide Internet services on airplanes and ships during their journey, including real-time weather information.

Further, the next generation of wireless communication will make intelligent transportation possible, even fully automated. It will help track aircraft and ships, provide immediate medical assistance in the event of an emergency and even make it possible to access services underwater. More artificial intelligence, augmented intelligence and machine learning applications will be found in 6G. We can even reach artificial general intelligence.

Mobile handsets would become personal digital assistants of individuals. 6G will be a hybrid ubiquitous network that would incorporate all advances in contemporary technologies. It will give the ability to create a digital twin of assets. It will also provide exceptional data rates and low latency. This also means that it needs to be highly reliable and secure.

6G networking would play a big role in cybersecurity. This will be of the utmost importance since the digital world has given rise to cyberattacks and increased the risk of cyberwarfare. As the network becomes more widespread, the era of Big data 2.0 will become a reality. As a result, there will be more data. It will require supercomputers to analyze the data generated.

The impact of 6G is sure to be enormous. It is expected to deploy more complex device-to-device communications. Its deployment unveils audacious goals such as increased digital trust, digital world experience, increased cost efficiency, distributed cloud, AI-native future networks and increased sustainability.

Intelligent vehicles will be able to use sensors to monitor their surroundings and communicate with humans. The same will apply to autonomous vehicles. Driverless cars will be able to optimize their routes and avoid traffic jams by using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate with each other and process data. Thus this can also be a solution to the traffic problem.

By using edge computing, self-driving cars could make use of collaborative AI to improve their navigation, avoid collisions with pedestrians and receive updates on traffic conditions. This can help tackle the congestion problem around the world. 6G could even connect to traffic lights and use them as antennas.

With this type of high-speed communication, transport will be able to communicate with other autonomous vehicles and other vehicles on the road. The benefits of 6G are numerous, including massive coverage, enhanced adaptability and full-dimensional wireless coverage. The future of Internet of Things will be enabled by the integration of sensing, computation and cognitive capabilities.

The sixth-generation network will also create the hospital of the future through the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and support remote patient monitoring and remote surgery with low latency. In the financial sector, 6G innovations would support services such as secure banking operations possibly through blockchain technology. The blockchain will help prevent cyberattacks at the same time increase transparency.

The blockchain will also decentralize the world with all the features it enables like smart contracts, cryptocurrency, decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized autonomous organization (DOA) and web 3.0. This can even to a cashless society and allow cryptocurrency to go mainstream.

The speed of 6G will allow for more dense networks of like the Internet of Nano Things (IoNT) devices. The density of the network will make it possible to manage IoNT networks easily. Nano-things can continuously generate valuable information, but small sensors will have to send it to a data center.

High-speed networks will allow nanotechnology and smart dust to transmit data smoothly. As a result, the next generation of connectivity will make it possible to build a real-time intelligent edge. While the exact uses of 6G aren’t known, its development is expected to have a big impact on the logistics industry and will take smart warehouses to the next level.

We can think about several different use cases to well represent future 6G services. While 5G is supporting virtual and augmented reality, 6G is expected to go one step further by transitioning toward virtual teleportation. Providing higher connectivity between the physical and digital worlds, it will enable holographic communication. It will be as if we can teleport ourselves to another environment.

With this network connectivity, researchers are looking well beyond virtual teleportation, they also want to transmit all human senses. In the holographic delivery of virtual experiences in 3D, the challenge here is to make all five human senses be transferred digitally everywhere around the world with low latency and extreme accuracy.

As technological innovation evolves by 2030 wireless connection will make smartphones irrelevant. By then the smartphone as we know it will no longer be the common form of intuitive interface, gadgets will be implanted into human bodies through biohacking. Like the project of Elon Musk which seeks to implant chips into the human brain to create a brain-computer interface.

But all that are decades in the future. Mobile phone circuitry that can use this spectrum doesn’t even exist yet. Neither do the mathematical models for how to best route data through a mesh network. For telecom companies, 6G is still a distant problem that they’re not too focused on. Telecom companies are in the race to deliver the promise of 5G right now.