WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
5G is only just out of the gates but countries are already laying the groundwork for 6G.
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5G is only just out of the gates but 6G, which would push mobile network speeds into the Terabits range, and even 7G are already on the cards with China recently launching the world’s first 6G satellite demonstrator.
Currently 6G is expected to be able to stream 8K and UHD video with crazy low latency that’s around 1ms, and ultra-low power consumption – something that’s way beyond the capabilities of even the fastest 5G networks.
Since the data rate of 8k and UHD video is so high, however, it’s necessary to compress the data when being transmitted wirelessly using microwaves or millimetre waves, which results in delays and increased power consumption. So it’s only natural that researchers have been focusing on trying to develop technologies that supports the uncompressed wireless transmission of 8k and UHD video.
“In general, the higher the frequency, the greater the capacity to transmit information, with terahertz waves having a higher frequency than microwaves and millimetre waves. We focused on terahertz waves in the 300GHz band,” said Julian Webber, an assistant professor at Osaka University in Japan.
The researchers configured a two-channel terahertz transmitter (Tx) by modulating the output of a laser pair. They then sent an 8K video signal source using an intensity modulator and converted it into terahertz waves using an ultrafast photodiode.
“In general, such ultra high-speed data transmission experiments are performed using multilevel modulations via a complex system with high power consumption that uses off-line or on-line digital signal processing,” said research lead Masayuki Fujita.
“Our achievement demonstrates the usefulness of terahertz waves and is expected to accelerate research and development activities for the realisation of Beyond 5G and eventually 6G.
“Such uncompressed wireless transmission technology for UHD video will enhance the quality of telemedicine and telework, which are directly related to social issues, and will lead to the advancement of physical-cyber fusion by utilising the big data of UHD video.”
In 2019, former US President Donald Trump called for American firms to ramp up development on 6G in order to maintain the country’s technological lead.
In 2017, one expert told E&T that 6G networks may never come to pass and that future iterations will instead rely on evolved 5G standards.