Futurescoping

An infinite race where speed is the goal: 6G

An infinite race where speed is the goal: 6G

An infinite race where speed is the goal: 6G

With the agility of the latest advances in the mobile ecosystem, it was only a matter of time before 5G technology would be followed by a new milestone. In this case, the wait has been shorter than expected, especially if we consider that, in many cases, these mobile networks are still more theoretical than practical. However, the forecasts are clear: the adoption of 5G will take off exponentially in the coming years.  At the moment, this fifth generation of mobile communications networks is being deployed in the most developed countries. The United States, Europe and certain Asian countries are leading the coverage maps for this technology. And, as we have seen, there is still some way to go. 

EThe road to 5G technology

5G is an acronym for fifth-generation mobile network, ready to connect people, machines, objects and devices. Before its arrival, there have been other networks: 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G. In each of them, G stands for “Generation” and the figures represent the number of each version.  Although this terminology began to be used mainly with the arrival of GSM networks in 1992, which became known as 2G, it became popular with the third. This was responsible for making networks capable not only of transmitting voice, but also data, thus unleashing a true revolution. Experience shows that there is a new generation of mobile telecommunications networks every decade. Each of these new generations is intended to meet the objectives set by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). This United Nations body is responsible for developing the technical standards that guarantee the interconnection of networks and technologies. The challenge of each generation is always based on improving network performance and capacity levels.  The advantages of 5G over previous versions can be summarized in higher data rates, much lower latency, more reliability, higher bandwidth, higher availability. In other words, a better user experience as a consequence of all of the above.

6G, the official successor to 5G technology

 But, as we saw earlier, a new generation of mobile networks arrives every decade. If 5G networks will have been deployed around the world for more than ten years by 2030, will it be time to welcome 6G?  Some who are involved in the development of this next version of mobile networks (such as Samsung and the University of California) think so. In fact, they mark 2028 as the year when the technology will be available for technical deployment and 2030 as the year of mass commercialization of 6G. A network with which we will no longer speak of gigahertz speed, but of terahertz, reaching up to one hundred gigabits per second with very low latency. The technology manufacturer and the American university have made the first demonstration of this type of network. As they point out, the THz band has a large spectrum available, which will enable channels with a bandwidth of tens of GHz. This could provide a means to meet the 6G requirement to offer a data rate reaching several terabits per second.  In fact, it could be as much as 50 times faster than that achievable with 5G and over-the-air latency could potentially be reduced to a tenth. These improvements will enable 6G hyper-connectivity services and the best multimedia experience, such as extended reality (XR), high-fidelity mobile hologram, etc. Other companies, such as Nokia, are also developing 6G in countries such as Japan, while Huawei is stepping on the accelerator to have these networks ready for the 2030 deadline. In any case, 6G is again expected to be far superior to 5G technology in terms of peak speed, delay, traffic density, connection density, mobility, spectrum efficiency and positioning capabilities.

The map of inequalities

 But before we get to 6G, perhaps it would be necessary for everyone to be able to use 5G. Although operators publish figures on the rapid deployment they are undertaking to bring this technology to more and more users, the truth is that there are still areas where this type of bandwidth is utopian.  While large cities are the first to experience the 5G revolution, there are citizens who still do not know what 3G is. In towns like Quintanilla or Villamardones they have 68% 3G coverage, while in Molinar they have 71%, according to data from the Ministry of Economy. Even with maps such as those offered by Vodafone we can see how there are still areas of Spain with low 3G coverage. The European Union wants to put an end to this situation and it plans to extend and expand broadband to all European populations. To do so, it is promoting a series of grants so that countries like Spain can subsidize the deployment of this type of higher capacity networks.  The arrival of 5G is essential because many of the technologies and advances that we expect to occur in the coming years (such as autonomous cars, smart cities, Industry 4.0 or the Internet of Things) depend on this generation of mobile network to become a reality. The question is, will we achieve that maximum coverage before 6G comes knocking on our door? 6G llame a nuestra puerta?

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