Wireless internet has been available to so many of us for so long that we don’t even consider how much our world revolves around and relies on it. Well, maybe except for those times when we enter an area with no cover, and suddenly we find ourselves channeling the same energy of a teenager in a tantrum.
It started – contrary to what you might expect – with 2G (second generation) all the way back in 1991, followed by 3G in 2001, 4G in 2009 and
in 2018. In fact, despite being introduced 3-4 years ago, 5G has yet to be made widely available and fully exploited.
So why are we even talking about 6G when even the latest generation isn’t fully developed and adopted yet, you might ask? Well, for one, we tend to get excited about nerdy topics like this one here at PhoneArena, especially when it comes to phones.
have already stated that they have organized teams for the sole purpose of researching and realizing 6G. In other words, 6G would most likely arrive sooner or later, and it’s nice to try and get a glimpse of the future.
So, with this out of the way, dive in with us and let’s find out what one of the greatest advancements in the world of mobile technology – wireless internet – could look like in a few years.
What is 6G?
In its simplest terms, 6G refers to the next generation of wireless Internet, or “6th generation,” if you will. However, the possibilities that 6G can bring can undoubtedly make it a much more complex and meaningful leap than just a faster internet connection – it would be an understatement to reduce it to that.
Now 6G technology is technically just a concept. We have yet to witness 6G, in addition to all the progress and innovation it would bring. That said, there’s already some information about how it might work and what new technologies it might spawn.
Keep in mind that this is all theoretical at this point, so take it with a grain of salt as you read.
What can 6G bring us?
Sci-Fi concepts brought to life!
It’s not that uncommon for technologies we see in sci-fi stories to eventually make their way into reality. Well, one innovation where 6G could help is the production of fully autonomous vehicles (as in Westworld, for example).
Another area that could be greatly improved with 6G is virtual and augmented reality services and products. This is where things start to sound a little creepy, though. The point is that 5G AR/VR is already going to improve a lot thanks to the faster speeds it can offer, so how could 6G make that even better?
Well, experts in the field theorize that 6G may enable connected implants (chips) that would be placed in our brains, in addition to “wireless brain-computer interfaces.” This way you no longer need glasses and you have constant access to your virtual reality. Yeah, this is the kind of thing that gets you the idiot.
Health and Safety
While we’re still on an uncanny note, it seems fitting to add that 6G could have a significant impact on public safety. The government can use 6G for facial recognition, threat detection and even in areas such as law enforcement.
The good news is that 6G can also be used to measure our well-being and factors that can influence it, such as air quality, toxicity levels, etc.
6G has the potential to go hand in hand with another innovation that has gained traction recently, so-called “edge computing”. Edge computing is closely linked to the IoT (internet of things), which is all the devices we use that “talk” to the cloud and exchange information. That process can slow down depending on the distance the information has to travel, and edge computing aims to use smaller devices to locate servers and thereby reduce latency and increase speed.
What 6G can contribute here is that our own devices can function as small hubs and become part of edge computing themselves.
Finally, while faster internet speeds aren’t the only improvement we could see when 6G comes, it’s certainly a big part of it. A senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, Dr. Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam, suggested that in theory we could achieve 1 terabyte – the equivalent of 1000 GB – per second. That estimate applies to data sent in short bursts over limited distances.
However, given that the theoretical peak for 5G is about 10 GB per second, it’s hard to imagine such a big jump. A more realistic speed, especially in the early years, could be slightly less than half that.
How is 6G different from 5G and 4G?
The fourth generation of wireless internet was the first to allow us to experience the web as we do today. The speeds of 4G made it possible to stream higher quality videos and play online games with ease. 5G, of course, comes with a huge jump in speed, ranging from about 40 Mbps all the way up to 1100 Mbps. It is also expanding beyond just personal devices and has the potential to be implemented in public infrastructure and services, becoming a technology that affects many more people in any given community.
On the other hand, 6G is expected to dive in and expand similar mutually beneficial developments such as Wi-Fi implants, edge computing, automation, AI and much, much more. Keep in mind, however, that no one knows what 6G means and looks like.
When is 6G coming?
There is no clear date or even year when 6G should become available to the public, but experts predict that we will see its introduction by 2030. If you look at how much time usually elapses between generations, it usually lasts between 8-10 years.
Can 6G Replace Wi-Fi?
6G has great potential to completely replace Wi-Fi. Frankly, some ISPs and carriers have already tried to use 5G connectivity to replace Wi-Fi in people’s homes. In other words, we may not even have to wait for the next-generation wireless internet to replace our home Wi-Fi networks.
Who is behind 6G?
Frankly, there are many parties already involved in the development of 6G technology in addition to what it could also introduce to the mobile internet scene. As mentioned before, some of the biggest tech companies like Samsung, Huawei, Nokia and others have already set up research and development programs and their teams have been working on 6G.
More specifically, however, here are just some of the projects currently underway:
- Ericsson (based in Sweden), Nokia (Finland) and TIM (Italy) have joined forces to create Hexa-X. Hexa-X is made up of members who are experts in wireless internet and work together to advance 6G technology.
- Samsung has entered into a number of partnerships with the common goal of advancing 6G technology. In 2021, South Korea-based tech giant assisted The University of Texas in launching a 6G research center.
- In 2022, Samsung partnered with Keysight to drive the development of AI-enabled air interfaces that utilize massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology.
- LG has also joined the race for 6G by opening its own R&D center together with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Together with the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), LG and KAIST are working to optimize the efficiency and output of 6G radio waves.
- The University of Texas is currently working on machine learning capabilities, advanced detection, location and the terahertz wavelength itself, at its 6G research and development center. The center was built thanks not only to Samsung, but also Qualcomm, Nvidia, AT&T and InterDigital.