It seems like 5G was something that just started being talked about last week and now people are starting to talk about 6G. Most people are still trying to understand 5G, but is it time to move on to something even more advanced now?
Wireless companies are already thinking ahead and searching for the next big thing in mobile communication even though 5G networks aren’t up and functioning yet.
Of course 6G isn’t around yet because 5G isn’t even fully around yet, but theoretically speaking, it could do and be a lot of things. It is possible that this kind of technology could create a whole new type of internet so let's see what all this 6G stuff could be about.
What is 6G?
It would make sense for 6G to be the upgrade of the following 4G and 5G wireless technologies. 6G will be using higher-frequency radio bands to create faster speeds for the network and lower latency, it will also be able to support automated car systems and more complicated mobile devices.
This is the decade of 5G, it will still be relevant technology for the next number of years, but there are new wireless standards that come out every decade. Nothing is permanent yet, but it is expected that 6G will come out around 2030, and after that it will most likely be replaced by the next big thing.
Internet technology has some big changes in its future, besides 6G. With companies and customers consuming more data than ever before, incorporating wifi into everything we are doing will be a big step that will need to happen. With the potential of how big this actually could be, wireless companies are jumping at the chance to compete with broadband internet providers in hopes of meeting the high demand that will be there.
4G vs 5G vs 6G
Everyone knows about 4G and how great it has been for the last number of years. 4G has brought speeds around 34 Mbps and has been able to support the new mobile phones, tablets and hotspots. 5G is the next big thing that people are talking about though and will outshine 4G with its fast speeds. This new technology will bring speed between the range of 40 to 1,100 Mbps and will be able to support the future of mobile phones, tablets and hotspots. It will also be able to support the devices we haven't heard about yet like public infrastructure and automated cars. 6G is something no one really knows about yet and the possibilities seem endless because nobody knows what the future holds. With what is known about 5G an estimated speed can be given for the future of 6G and that is around 1 Tbps (1,000,000 Mbps). That seems like it can’t be real, but it is possible especially if the technology is supposed to be used in automated cars, cellular surfaces and wifi implants, something people know little about.
Everyone nowadays has information on or has access to 4G which was launched in 2009. Before that everyone was using flip phones and was used to the slow speeds that were offered. After 4G came around people realized that there was more to do like stream movies and shows in HD and play video games online.
With the talking about 5G most customers would be surprised to know that many cell phone companies haven’t met the marks that 4G was aiming for. The term 4G LTE has been used quite a bit with cell phone companies to make it sound fancy but it is really only a sped-up 3G, not quite 4G. Most mobile devices using 4G LTE networks reach 34 Mbps download speeds, but not much over that which is what 4G was meant to achieve.
Still, some companies like AT&T, T-Mobile and others decided to launch 5G in 2018 and 2019. With 4G not working at its peak capacity, 5G cellular networks are being built across the nation. Some iterations of 5G home internet have already been created and launched by some companies.
Depending on which area you live in and what type of 5G network you are on, you could have a speed range between 40 and 1,100 Mbps. Eventually, if these companies use technology that has been spoken of like beamforming and millimeter-wave spectrum, speeds could reach their max of up to 10,000 Mbps. This would be a huge jump from what is out now and with those speeds wireless companies would have the power to move away from just serving our phones but also using 5G in industry, healthcare, business and remote working technology. The hope is that wireless companies will already be in the process of bringing 6G out to the public when speeds get to 10,000 Mbps. From what it sounds like about 6G, it will be more than just an increase in internet speed.
What will 6G look like?
It's hard to say what 6G will look like since it isn’t out yet. From what we have heard about it through media outlets is that wireless companies describe it as a fully integrated, internet based system that allows for instantaneous communication between devices, vehicles, consumers and the environment.
With smartphones and smart devices we can access the internet of things (IOT). When 6G comes along it won't only be things, but it could be potentially everything. That will depend on future developments though and if 6G actually turns into what it is expected to. Here is what experts are saying about 6G:
1 Tbps speed
In an interview of Dr. Shirvanimoghaddam, an expert in wireless technology, said that one day 6G networks could achieve max speeds of one terabyte per second on an internet device. That is a thousand times faster than 1 Gbps, which is currently the fastest speed available for home internet networks and 100 times faster than 10 Gbps which is the top speed of 5G. It will still take a while to get to these speeds. In the interview Dr. Shirvanimoghaddam also mentioned that there will be an emphasis placed on high bandwidth and reliability. It sounds like 6G will become incorporated into our everyday lives and will be continuously accessible.
In 2019, companies began testing with “terahertz waves”, which are radio bands that fall in the spectrum of 95GHz to 3THz. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the opportunity to start looking into 6G wireless networks.
Millimeter waves are the most common waves used with caring vast amounts of data at high speeds. Talking about terahertz waves is a new step up from what is used and definitely be used for remote surgeries and automated cars.
Even though millimeter waves are the most common right now, there is a downside. They can only work over short ranges and require a “line of sight” between the transmitter and the user. Terahertz waves will have an even shorter range ,but if they are used correctly it can open up more capacity for them to do more sophisticated activities over a 6G wireless network
Edge computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
A lot of new technology has been brought up in the conversation of 5G coming out. Now with the talk of 6G being the future this will become more of a thing. Some experts think artificial intelligence (AI) will be needed to keep it all running smoothly and coordinated.
Two researchers at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, Razvan-Andrei Stoica and Giuseppe Abreu said that 6G could rely on AI technology to have self-driving cars communicate with each other, navigate traffic and determine best paths to take. This is a part of something called “edge computing” which moves network management towards localized devices to reduce response times and makes everything smoother instead of having centralized clouds.
5G has allowed virtual reality to become a real thing that it wouldn’t have been able to be with 4G. Years from now, when 6G becomes the current technology, experts imagine that even more immersive technologies will come out like connected implants, cellular surfaces and “wireless brain-computer interfaces”.
Walid Saad is a faculty member at Virginia Tech and the lead author of a July 2019 white paper on 6G. He predicts that smartphones will be a thing of the past in favor of headsets and implants that “can take direct sensory inputs from human senses.”.
NTT DoCoMo is a japanese mobile company that sees a future where cyberspace and physical life are one: “For humans, it will become possible for cyberspace to support human thought and action in real time through wearable devices and micro-devices mounted to the human body.”.
6G will be a huge change for internet and life
6G is still way off in the future and there isn’t any proof of this technology yet. But there are a lot of people and companies out there interested in the possibilities of what it can do and are looking into it. A recent partnership between Chinese tech brand ZTE and the carrier China Unicom has formed that points to big things being done that will make a big impact on the way we work, communicate, and live.
Be aware of what is happening over the next few years because we might be using 6G implants to communicate.
6G internet FAQs
What does 6G mean?
Just like 4G and 5G, 6G stands for “sixth generation” and will be the latest communication and internet standard following 4G and 5G.
What is 6G?
6G is a set of ideas and theories about how automobiles and mobile devices will all be able to connect to one another in a decade from now. It will be the next step in wireless connectivity as companies are now looking into it.
What will 6G look like
We don’t really know what 6G will look like since the extent of 5G hasn’t come out yet, but we can imagine that it will involve advanced automation of drones, cars, mobile devices, industries and homes. It will also involve Artificial Intelligence and “edge computing” which will make networks more sophisticated with faster speeds and instantaneous latency.