What is the 6G network?
6G mobile network technologies are currently still being developed. Rumours abound about which company is in the lead on the race to the 6G finish line; however, Huawei is the name that appears most often as the front runner. The 6G network is the next generation in mobile data transfer technology, with the system transferring data at significantly faster speeds than 5G. Whilst the exact speeds are not known for sure, it is anticipated that the speeds could be around 1TB per second. This literal lightning speed is hundreds of times faster than the current projections for even enhanced 5G networks.
How 6G technology could change individuals and businesses.
5G Networks are the current pinnacle of mobile data technology, with the system still being rolled out around the globe. That being said, the older technology of 3G and 4G networks are still operational and employed in many areas around the world. So, with this in mind, why do we need to start thinking about 6G network technology?
If you take a look back in time to the late 1990s; mobile phones were a novelty, internet was optional, and entertainment was bought on disks and played on standalone machines. Data has driven the technological revolution that we have seen across the world in the last 20 years. Faster and more affordable data has meant that the way we communicate, consume entertainment and work has been transformed. My point is that back in 1999 we couldn’t even imagine that our CD players would be replaced by music streamed via the internet to our mobile phones; how do we similarly look into the future to see what the world could look like with 6G technology? And what should our businesses be doing right now to ensure that we are ready for the 6G world? How will this technology fit into our digital marketing strategies?
How will 6G technology work?
Whilst we do not have a lot of hard information on the exact way the 6G network will operate, we do know that the technology will utilise millimetre waves at ultrahigh frequencies. The 6G network will be using higher radio frequencies than the current 4G and 5G networks, meaning more data can be transferred. It is anticipated that 6G technology could reach frequencies up into the terahertz ranges, beyond the current upper limits of the radio spectrum of 300 GHz. For this to be commercially viable significant research and development needs to be made into the hardware that supports such a powerful system.
When will 6G launch?
Experts suggest that 6G technology is to be expected in around a decade, with the Japanese planning a tentative launch of the technology in 2030. The South Korean government has also confirmed plans that it will test its 6G network in 2026. In India the 6G network is anticipated, and support is growing for this country to be a front runner in the testing and rollout of the 6G network due to its highly mobile phone dependent economy. Although this appears to be a significant time from the present, the speed differentials that are anticipated make it essential to consider when planning new technology hardware and software builds. As with the rollout to 5G networks, there is considerable planning and logistics involved, however, the opportunity would also exist for those savvy enough to invent newer and better ways of managing the rollout of new mobile technology, other than dishes on mobile phone towers.
Opportunity also exists for hardware manufacturers; with increased data speed and capacity needs to come newer and more efficient ways to manage and display the information. Currently, there are multiple research projects throughout the world looking at the hard and software components that would be required to deal with mobile data speeds of those rumoured for the 6G network.
Why do we need 6G technology?
Like almost all technologies that have gone before, there is no need until the technology exists, then it is indispensable. One of the most commonly cited current limitations of the 4G and 5G networks is the upload speeds. 5G technology, which began development in 2008, was created for a world of downloads. AI and VR technologies were in infantile forms and not yet considered to be a part of the mobile realm. The most significant impact that 6G technologies will have is in the domain of VR and AR, where download and upload speed need to be balanced to create a consistent experience.
The implications of this are tremendous, and should you let your imagination wander for just a moment; you can see multi-sensing machines that take our Google Home novelties to a whole new level. Instead of a Google home, imagine a Google city, that regulates waste, pollution, parks and public transport; this is the level of change that we need to consider when exploring 6G. Take this concept further into the world of healthcare IoT and the possibilities are mind-boggling; contact lenses could be a thing of the past, replaced with lenses that computational adjust and correct vision, remote installation of pacemakers, micro tablets to replace CT and MRI scanning, the list is as inexhaustible as the human imagination. In the sphere of entertainment, the way that films are created and distributed could be changed entirely, with fully immersive experiences being possible. Home internet connections, Bluetooth and wi-fi, could all sit alongside dial-up modems as relics of a previous technological age.
Whilst 6G technology is still a way off; it is much more than a pipedream. The actual question that needs to be asked is are we dreaming big enough. With only a decade until the next evolution of the technological revolution, it is time for both big and small business to think seriously about the implications of a 6G network and start the process of development of both devices and systems ready for this new world.