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Sunday, August 21, 2022

The Road beyond 5G, Value?

Have not seen much out of 5G

The Road to 6G    By Keith Kirkpatrick

Communications of the ACM, September 2022, Vol. 65 No. 9, Pages 14-16   10.1145/3546959

Although 5G technology is still in its relative infancy, top technology companies from wireless carriers to chipset manufacturers to meta technology vendors are actively working on the development of the next milestone for wireless communications, known as the sixth generation, or 6G.

The demand for even faster networks with greater capacity is being driven by a desire to support more complex and data-intensive applications, connect an even greater number of devices and data sources, and enjoy persistent, latency-free data connections.

When fully developed, 6G technology may one day support data transfer rates of 1 terabit per second (100 times faster than the 10 gigabits-per-second hypothetical top speed offered by 5G), and network capacities of 50 to 100 times that of 5G networks, thereby allowing a much larger ecosystem of connected devices, allowing consumer, industrial, and infrastructure-based devices to operate on the same network with no adverse performance impact. Further, where 5G networks generally support latency rates of about 4 milliseconds (ms), 6G could reduce that latency to near zero, and each access point likely will be able to support multiple clients simultaneously.

However, the vision for 6G and its technical underpinnings is still being formed, as a wide range of technology companies, governments, and industry groups each work on the technology that could enable a persistent, reliable, and speedy communications infrastructure that would support mobile applications, smart cities, V2x communications, virtual and augmented reality technology, and even personal biologic-data systems.

"I think the key thing with 6G is, and I think this is quite refreshing, is that it's going to be a network of networks, an amalgam of complementary technologies," says Stephen Douglas, head of market strategy for Spirent, a U.K.-based provider of automated testing and assurance solutions. "In addition to having a macro terrestrial network, you're potentially going to have these body area networks where humans are part of it as well." Douglas adds it is likely 6G will allow the interlinking of wireless networks with satellite, drone, maritime, and fiber-linked networks, resulting in a fully connected ecosystem.

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