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What is 6G?
In 2020, telecom network operators across the world are all set to roll out the fifth-generation telecom network (5G). But each generation of telecom networks takes about 10 years to evolve from the visualization stage to commercial implementation. While preparing to roll out 5G, the telecom companies are planning to prepare the vision for the sixth-generation wireless communication network (6G) in 2021. We can assess important aspects of 6G based on information shared by leading telecom companies.
Like 5G, 6G will focus on boosting network speed, reducing latency, and promoting machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. But 6G is expected to focus on optimizing the network experience of machines instead of human subscribers. In addition to superseding 5G, 6G will come with a slew of innovative features to set up the next-generation wireless communication network for connected machines by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
What is 6G: Understanding Important Aspects of the Sixth Generation Wireless Communication Technology
Much Higher Data Rate
5G is expected to deliver 20 Gbps peak data rate and 100 Mbps user experienced data rate. But 6G will deliver a peak data rate of 1000 Gbps. Likewise, it will increase the user experienced data rate to 1 Gbps. Hence, the spectral efficiency of 6G will be more than 2 times higher than that of 5G. The enhanced spectral efficiency will enable a large number of users to access advanced multimedia services instantly and simultaneously. The network operators need to revamp their existing infrastructure to support the increased spectral efficiency.
Much Lower Latency
5G will reduce latency to 1 millisecond. The ultra-low latency will boost the performance of many real-time applications. But 6th generation wireless communication technology will reduce the user experienced latency to less than 0.1 milliseconds. The huge decline in latency will boost the functionality and performance of many delay-sensitive real-time applications. Also, the lower latency will facilitate emergency response, remote surgeries, and industrial automation. At the same time, 6G will make the delay-sensitive real-time applications function flawlessly by making the network 100 times more reliable than 5G networks.
Network Reliability and Accuracy
6G will beat 5G in the categories of network coverage and network reliability. 5G supports the highest speed of mobile devices at 500 km/h. But 6G will increase the speed of mobile devices to 10 devices/square kilometer. The enhanced connection density will make a large number of connected devices interact with each other in real-time. Also, 6G will optimize M2M interaction by improving network reliability more than 100 times and reducing the error rate by 10 times.
Emphasis on Energy-Efficiency
6G will enable end-users to access a variety of high-end services seamlessly and instantly in real-time. But the end-users will need devices with powerful batteries to access the high-end services without any delay or disruptions. 6G aims to improve the battery life of devices by two times. At the same time, the technology will contribute towards environmental sustainability by making the network perform optimally without consuming extra energy. 6G aims to enhance the energy efficiency of the telecom network by 2 times in comparison to 5G.
Machines as Primary Users
According to the Measuring Information Society Report,
“The number of global connected devices has already surpassed human population.”
5G aims to boost the mobile experience of human users, along with facilitating M2M interaction. But 6G is designed by targeting machines as the primary users. The optimal data rate and minimal latency delivered by 6G will boost the functionality and performance of many connected devices and machines – robots, drones, driver-less vehicles, smart displays, home appliances, and devices with smart sensors. Also, the wireless network will enable human users to access the next-generation mobile devices like high-fidelity holograms, augmented reality (AR) glasses, and virtual reality (VR) headsets seamlessly.
AI-Driven Wireless Communication Tools
6G will transform wireless communication by leveraging AI. Unlike 5G, 6G is designed with the goal to leverage practical applications of AI. In addition to reducing infrastructural cost, AI will help telcos improve operational efficiency in a number of ways – determining the best location for base stations, make the networks consume less energy, and manage complex networks automatically. The large amount of real-time data collected through various connected devices and human communication channels will enable telcos to embed AI into a wide range of wireless networks and services.
Personalized Network Experience
5G leverages OpenRAN as young and evolving technology. But 6G will use OpenRAN as a mature technology. The AI-driven RAN will enable mobile network operators to deliver personalized network experience to users based on the real-time user information collected from various sources. The operators can further leverage the real-time user data to improve superior services through personalization of quality-of-experience (QoE) and quality-of-service (QoS). The operators can use AI to personalize a variety of services.
Resolve Many Social Issues
The next-generation technologies always create scope to resolve current and emerging social issues. 5G will enable both enterprises and individuals to maintain social distancing in the post-pandemic environments. Likewise, the vision for 6G also emphasizes on resolving several social issues like climate change and education inequality. In addition to making devices and networks energy-efficient, 6G will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. Also, it will promote education equality by optimizing the remote learning facilitated by 5G.
The telecom companies are all set to release the vision for 6G in 2021. But 6G networks will be much more complex than 5G networks. The telcos will need completely new architectures and upgrade their network infrastructure for 6G. Hence, 6G will create many new challenges for telcos, in addition to creating many new opportunities and use cases.