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  • Writer's pictureAngela Sanna

What is 6G, when will it arrive and what will we do with it?

What mobile technologies will define the next 20 years? Although that’s a big question, we know that the entire industry is working on the new 6G mobile standard, expected for introduction around 2030.

Since Martin Cooper placed his first mobile call, the industry has constantly been changing. Systems evolve, and even as 5G deployment intensifies, the industry is working to build the next foundation for mobile innovation: 6G.

Is 6G real?

Yes and no. Yes, 6G (or whatever its eventually called) will eventually replace 5G, but 6G is not yet a functioning technology, and is instead in the early research phase.

As with the previous additions to networking, 6G will improve on the capabilities of its predecessors, offering faster and more complex mobile broadband. However, many questions surrounding what form 6G will come in are yet to be answered.

How fast will 6G be?

We don’t know how fast 6G will be yet, but experts think it will be able to send an incredible 1 terabyte of data per second. Forget one movie downloading in a few seconds from Netflix with 5G, with 6G speeds like that, in just one second you could download 142 hours of Netflix movies.

What will 6G mean to you?

It’ll be like 5G, but more so. Even higher speeds, even lower latency, and masses of bandwidth. Researchers and scientists are talking about 6G going beyond a “wired” network, with devices acting as antennas using a decentralised network not under the control of a single network operator. If everything connects using 5G, 6G will set these connected devices free, as higher data speeds and lower latency make instant device-to-device connection possible.

While the technology we expect to emerge from 5G — from autonomous cars and drones to smart cities — will be enhanced further with 6G, it may also bring about sci-fi applications like the integration of our brains with computers, and greatly improved touch control systems

When will 6G be available?

According to most sources, the general consensus is that 6G won’t be rolled out for another ten years at the minimum. On average, there is a ten-year gap between each generation of mobile network and as 5G is only just being rolled out now, it would be safe to assume 6G won’t be arriving until at least 2030. Plus, there are already plans to boost 5G and iron out some of the issues that have arisen with it, so the mobile networks will be focussed on 5G over the next few years.

Within a couple of years, we should have better insight into 6G’s capabilities as the first standards are agreed. It promises to support the next decade of mobile innovation, with the first devices appearing from 2030.

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