6G: The Next Horizon

ByGary Maidment

July 15, 2022

Gary Maidment

Are you ready for 6G?

While 5G has hit the ground running in industry scenarios, many consumers have yet to experience its benefits. In 2021, only 14% of markets covered by the fifth generation of mobile technology had reached the 10% tipping point of subscribers – a key milestone where the technology positively impacts mobile revenues for carriers.

But by end of 2022, global 5G subscribers is expected to hit the one billion mark.

So, is it premature to talk about 6G?

The average consumer may think so, but for the industry the answer is a definitive no.

New generations of mobile communications emerge roughly every 10 years, and 6G rollout is anticipated in 2030.

Historically, mainstream services provided by mobile networks and the application of new frequency bands usually take two generations or more to mature. In fact, it took almost four generations to achieve the capability of anywhere, anytime connectivity.

Each new generation of mobile network has represented such a leap forward that it has enabled society to enter a new stage of development. 2G took the 2.4 k/bits speed of 1G and made it 15 times faster, providing the ability to send text and even picture messages. In turn, 3G represented a speed boost of over 50 times over 2G – for the first time, Internet-based applications were possible. The arrival of 4G kicked things up several notches, with speeds up to 500 times faster than 3G and the emergence of rich multimedia capabilities, like streaming video at 1080p and multi-player gaming.

5G, of course, doesn’t just enable potentially lightning fast speeds of up to 20 times faster than 4G. It also opens up a new world for various industries, especially when combined with cloud and AI. As we’re already seeing, mining, ports, and healthcare are benefiting from the technology’s speed and latency.

Read more: Working with 5G: Safer, Smarter & People-First

So that brings us to 6G and the potential of a distributed neural network that provides communication links to fuse the physical, cyber, and biological worlds, opening up an era in which everything will be sensing, connected, and intelligent. 

From 2030 onwards, many aspects of daily life will be augmented by ultra-high speed and ultra-reliable wireless connections, native AI, and advanced sensing technologies. Five major categories of usage scenarios are defined, with eMBB+, URLLC+, and mMTC+ extensions and combinations of the usage scenarios defined in 5G. Sensing and AI are two new usage scenarios that will flourish in the era of 6G. 

The Huawei white paper, 6G: The Next Horizon – From Connected Things to Connected Intelligence, sets out in detail how this exciting new technology will develop. And in this blog series, we break down the major points of the white paper, covering:

  • The drivers and pillars of 6G: What are the trends driving the next-gen wireless tech and what capabilities can we expect?
  • Use cases: How will we see 6G applied in the real world and what changes will that bring?
  • Trustworthiness and sustainability: How will security and green technologies be built into the technology as the world becomes ever more data-driven and energy-intensive?
  • New elements: What will we see in regard to spectrum, materials, and new approaches to antennas and other infrastructure?
  • Enabling Technologies: What breakthroughs are needed in elements like air interface design and network architecture?
  • Roadmap: How do we define the path to 6G rollout?

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Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.

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Gary Maidment

Digital Content Manager, Huawei Gary is a tech writer who focuses on ICT industry trends & he also runs this blog.

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