January 24, 2023

What is 6G? The next generation of wireless technology explained

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Sixth-generation (6G) wireless technology isn’t coming anytime soon, but industry leaders and researchers are stepping up efforts to accelerate its development, experts said.

Artificial intelligence will be “at the heart” of 6G, said Merouane Debbah, chief researcher for AI and telecommunications systems at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in Abu Dhabi. The National at the inauguration Abu Dhabi 6G Summit Thursday.

This will lead to new ways of communicating, including through holographic means and 3D coverage, he said.

“It’s a long process. Right now we have people in research centers who are developing the technologies that will meet the key performance indicators [KPIs] of 6G,” Mr. Debbah said.

“We want to build an infrastructure that connects intelligence.”

What is 6G?

It’s the next generation of wireless communications, promising even faster speeds and efficiency compared to 5G, the current iteration.

When will 6G be available?

If history is to be any benchmark, new generations of wireless technology emerge with every new decade – meaning 6G would become available in the early 2030s. This is a widely shared industry expectation. .

The United States has historically introduced new iterations of wireless technology, with the third generation being released in 2002, the fourth in 2010, and 5G in 2018. The second and first generations were in the 1980s and early 1980s, respectively. 1990s, with the so-called “zero G”. existing before that.

What is the 6G release time?

Research into 6G technology began in 2020, which marked the start of a long and intensive process, Debbah said.

By 2024, the standardization process would begin, which will be kicked off with testing to ensure the technology works “in the right configuration” – a process that is expected to continue until 2026.

We have people in research centers who are developing the technologies that will meet the key performance indicators of 6G. We want to build an infrastructure that connects intelligence.

Merouane Debbah, researcher in AI and telecoms

Once tested, researchers will select the technology that meets established key performance indicators, then move on to the next phase, which includes identifying frequencies for use by around 2027.

This period would last until 2028 or 2029, before 6G networks would be in place by hopefully 2030.

What is the biggest challenge of 6G?

Besides the tedious process of development and standardization, the most important aspect is to involve all organizations and then agree on the standards in order to move quickly, if the deadlines are to be met.

“Whenever there are different stakeholders, like manufacturers and phone manufacturers, they must know how to talk to each other. You have to be sure everyone is on board,” Mr. Debbah said.

Energy consumption is also a challenge. The industry is looking for other ways to make 6G technology more sustainable, in line with Objectives of the COP climate summit.

There is also the concern to “connect the unconnected”, which involves bringing network coverage to most, if not all, parts of the world – especially in “dead spots” such as deserts – to ensuring no one is left behind when it comes to communication.

How fast will 6G be compared to 5G?

Current technology, 5G, is already fast. However, 6G makes it possible to download movies with 8K video resolution at speeds up to 500 times faster than those offered by 5G.

In addition, 6G is expected to increase the capacity of current 5G networks by 100 times, Debbah said.

Latency, the time between sending and receiving information, will be reduced by a factor of 10 to 0.1 milliseconds while the energy efficiency of networks will drop by a factor of 100, he said.

“It will be massive connectivity compared to what it is today – around 10 million connected objects per square kilometer,” Debbah said.

What would be the enabling technology of 6G?

As with every new standard, the technology would either be improved or introduced.

With 6G, the Internet of Space Things, ubiquitous AI, network automation and terahertz communication bands that would satisfy the demand for faster speeds are expected to be its main enablers, according to a study by Abu-based TII. Dubai.

Pervasive AI is the process by which machines learn from experiences.

At present, the most interesting but unexpected engine is the metaverseappeared last year.

This is largely due to the fact that it is heavily promoted by Meta Platforms, the parent company of social media platform Facebook.

“The big picture is really a gigantic world,” said TII advisory board member Ian Akyildiz, who also noted the great business opportunities the metaverse presents — up to $394 billion by 2025. did he declare.

The metaverse presents a huge economic opportunity worth between $8 trillion and $13 trillion, according to a PwC report in July.

“It’s an incredible opportunity in every way – software, hardware, more applications and platforms – and it may be so much more,” Akyildiz said.

Is it too early to talk about 7G?

He is. However, the TII research does provide some clues as to what we can expect from technology that would presumably arrive in 2040.

Among the key enabling technology applications of 7G are quantum communications, which uses quantum physics and cryptography – or the use of codes – to protect data, and the Internet of NanoThings/BioNano Things, which detects biological signals environment and sends them to data centers for processing over the Internet.

It all sounds so futuristic, but with the current pace of technology, it won’t be a surprise if we get there sooner rather than later.

Updated: 04 November 2022, 04:48

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