Just as 5G starts rolling out 6G is in the already in the works

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

The march of technology never stops, and as users celebrate Gigabit mobile speeds Terabit mobile speeds are already on the drawing board.

 

While countries around the world are just beginning to roll out their first 5G networks that operate at Gigabbit speeds, technologists at Finland’s University of Oulu are already starting work on 6G, that will operate at Terabit speeds. And they’re not alone after China recently announced it wants to start rolling out 6G technology in 2030, with the US too taking early steps to release 6G and even 7G spectrum for “tests.”

 

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Recently the Academy of Finland announced the funding of “6Genesis,” an eight year research program to “conceptualize 6G” with the University of Oulu’s Centre for Wireless Communications.

Even though you might not know it Oulu in northern Finland is a major hub for 5G development, and in a paper proposing 6Genesis, director Matti Latva-aho explains “a new mobile generation appears every 10 years, and thus, 6G will emerge around 2030 to satisfy all the expectations not met with 5G, as well as new ones to be defined at a later stage.”

 

6G Concept Video
 

“Vision for 2030: Our society is data-driven, enabled by near-instant, unlimited wireless connectivity,” the paper goes on to say. The new network will involve “distributed computing and intelligence, as well as materials and antennas at very high frequencies,” he said.

That means “radio oriented research towards the THz range” and “artificial intelligence inspired applications.”

With the 5G standard just recently locked down, and the first 5G networks rolling out we don’t know what effect 5G will have on society. As Verizon exec Andrea Caldini pointed out at Mobile World Congress recently 4G enabled a wide range of innovations, from Snapchat to Netflix streaming, thanks to fast mobile data rates.

 

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The initial 6G study groups “will be focused on exploring technologies that aren’t yet possible,” but that will evolve what the industry is doing with 5G. Take those terahertz radio frequencies. To enable very high data rates and capacities, 5G pushes cellular radios up into the multi-gigahertz frequencies, also called “millimeter wave.” So it isn’t too surprising that 6Genesis will look at going even farther.

The group will also look at “making policy recommendations for a high-speed, AI-enabled world.”

“Besides technology advances, there will be a wave of societal changes due to massive digitalisation of services, and this will call for novel incentive and business models in addition to telecom regulation and legislation,” said Latva-Aho.

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