With 5G networks yet to be deployed globally and the debate over vendors, Huawei as already begun research into 6G, which is the term used to describe 6th generation mobile wireless internet networks and the successor to 5G. According to technology website The Logic, Huawei is the latest to join a small group of companies that has begun researching 6G. The company says its research will take place at its Canadian lab and is in talks with Canadian university researchers.
2030 at the earliest
6G will not be viable until at least 2030 a spokesperson for Huawei said. But with 5G still nascent is the jump into 6G research jumping the gun? 5G promises speeds that are anywhere between ten to a hundred times faster than the current 4G technology most smartphones are currently on. Experts say the difference between 4G and 5G is speed, capacity and stability. In theory 5G should have high uninterrupted data rates.
Lag times on 5G networks are much less than 4G and many predictions about how the network will change the future. These range from increasingly digital everyday life including smart homes and appliances to self-driving vehicles and even remote surgery. The most money that will be made by providers and operators will likely be made through 5G adoption on smartphones. This means it is very difficult to wrap one’s head 6G which has the potential to deliver speeds of 1 terabyte per second.
AI and ML
To put that into context, streaming Netflix for an hour will consume 56 gigabits of data, which means using a 6G connection a user could in theory download 142 hours of the highest quality Netflix content every second. Experts say this capacity has the possibility of completely changing the way humans interact with technology. An increasing number of devices make extensive use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The vast majority of these devices depend on cloud services requiring higher network bandwidths and 5G will not be able to deliver requiring an evolution towards 6G. Whilst the foray into 6G may seem premature, it is to be expected because network standards evolve over nine-year cycles with the standardisation of 5G complete. There are hurdles for 6G research such as a significant improvement in material science, computer architecture, chip design and energy use. It is critical that a sustainable way to power all the 6G devices is arrived at, otherwise the Earth will quite literally burn.