It can sometimes feel like we haven’t had enough time to get to grips with a new technology before its successor arrives. As we get older, this will happen more and more; although there are many who say Moore’s Law doesn’t apply to modern technology anymore, it’s certainly still moving quickly enough to potentially leave us behind. It feels like 4G barely had enough room to breathe before 5G was introduced as its successor, and now, it looks like the same could be happening again.
Yes, we could be about to enter the world of 6G, which is, as you might expect, billed as a faster successor to 5G. At the moment, the technology is still in its infancy, but as time goes on and prototypes are perfected, we will likely see another huge jump in download speeds. The applications for 6G are far-reaching; it’s not just tech for mobile phones. This tech will be used in everything from medicine to artificial intelligence, so without further ado, let’s take a look at what 6G is, how fast it’ll be, and when it’ll get here.
What is 6G?
As you might imagine, 6G is the next step in mobile internet technology. 6G networks are expected to utilise higher frequencies than the current 5G standard, which means that the tech will be faster and more reliable than even 5G is. Without getting too bogged down in technical details, 6G is expected to be able to support 1ms (one microsecond) communication, which is a ridiculously low level of latency that should virtually eliminate any kind of lag or slowdown.
How fast will 6G be?
At the moment, we’re expecting 6G to be able to reach theoretical transfer speeds of 1TB/s, which is a huge improvement over 5G. 6G technology is also expected to support multiple clients over a single access point, which means better and more reliable connections for everyone connected to that point. It’s worth remembering here that lab conditions usually don’t translate to the real world, especially when it comes to mobile internet, but you can expect 6G to be many, many times faster than 5G – up to 100 times faster, in fact.
How does 6G work?
Well, right now, it doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as 6G as it stands currently (it’s complicated; some countries are claiming they’ve already cracked this code, but others are suggesting it’s still a ways off). In theory, though, 6G would work by transmitting data in the upper spectrum of hundreds of gigabits. Without getting too deep into the science, these spectra are very fragile, but if we can master ways of transmitting data across them, they could be a huge untapped resource. We’ll have to see whether this tech is possible on a realistic level or not first, though.
What is not 6G?
It’s also important to get some misconceptions out of the way. First off, 6G absolutely isn’t anything to do with Wi-Fi standards. Wi-Fi 6E, for example, which adds 6GHz spectrum support, is not 6G and is not the same thing as 6G, although marketers will probably try to hop on this technology to advertise it as such. In addition, 6G also isn’t commercially available yet and probably won’t be for some years, so if someone advertises something as “6G” within the next few years, take it with an extremely large pinch of salt.
Do I need 6G?
Right now, this question is moot, because you can’t have it. 6G isn’t likely to make its debut for some years, because usually, new wireless data standards roll around every ten years or so. 5G began circulating in 2017, and so we aren’t expecting 6G to arrive until 2027 at the very earliest. However, if you’re asking yourself whether you’re going to need this tech in the future, here’s a litmus test. Are you performing all of your mobile internet duties with enough speed right now? If you think you need more speed, then you probably need 6G.
When is 6G going to happen?
As we say, 6G probably isn’t going to arrive until around 2027, perhaps 2028 at the earliest. Samsung says that it’s beginning work on a new 6G standard, and that this work began last year. We can expect the first fruits of that work to arrive some time in the next five to six years, but until then, 6G is probably going to remain a pipe dream, especially when it comes to commercial viability. After all, it’s worth remembering that there are lots of applications for 6G tech that aren’t part of the consumer space; businesses use this tech too!
Who will 6G benefit?
In theory, 6G will be beneficial for everyone who uses it. Since the data transfer rates will be so much higher, 6G will definitely benefit mobile customers, but it’s also great for other industries. Samsung is suggesting that this tech could be used to display accurate holograms, which would, in theory, require 580Gbps rates (which 6G could theoretically achieve). The spaces of artificial intelligence and robotics would also benefit hugely from 6G, since they could use the high data transfer rates to transmit commands and codes to robots, which could then execute those commands in real time.
We hope this brief guide on 6G has been useful to you. Of course, there’s much, much more to this technology, but we’d have to enter realms of expertise we’re not comfortable commenting on; it’s best to look to scientists and engineers for more information about this as and when it occurs!