The global penetration of sales of 5G-enabled smartphones reached 51% globally in January this year, surpassing that of 4G smartphones for the first time, according to a report by Counterpoint Research. Thus, while the fifth generation of mobile technology is progressing at different rates in different regions of the globe, in some countries research is already underway on its successor, i.e. the 6G network, or sixth generation.
If 5G networks are characterized by much faster connection speeds than 4G, as well as lower latency and the ability to connect more devices simultaneously without problems, 6G will improve these characteristics. The latency is a very relevant issue because it is about the time it takes to travel the data from one point to another and, although it is currently possible to perceive that this trip is super fast, the truth is that it is still possible to reduce it much more to a tenth than what 5G has (in its optimal version)i.e. at 0.1 milliseconds.
In addition, the sixth generation of networks will have unprecedented functionality. For example, it will be more efficient because its infrastructure will use artificial intelligence to be able to optimize everything related to the storage, processing and exchange of data.
It is important to note that 6G is not yet a working technology: in fact, it is still in its early stages in the research phase, and industry specifications are still years away from advancing the manufacture of devices. devices compatible with the next generation of mobile technology, which would be operational in 2028.
So far, projections indicate that by the end of 2025, more than two out of five people in the world will be able to benefit from 5G. For this reason, mobile operators are working on the deployment and standardization of this technology, while companies related to telecommunications infrastructure are those who are thinking about 6G.
“Beyond purely technological issues, the sixth generation must distinguish itself from the previous ones by focus on human needs and social,” commented Meryem Simsekwho is Lead Scientist at VMware, a global company that provides solutions related to application modernization, cloud computing, networking, security and remote desktops.
In this sense, Simsek believes that 6G could enable innovative use cases such as incorporation of holograms as well as the combination of different realities such as virtual, augmented and mixed, which will converge in a reproduction adapted to any screen. This progress would mark a milestone in sectors such as education.
Another field of application of 6G (and also a promise of 5G) is in the management of autonomous cars and drones, as well as the proliferation of solutions such as domestic robots to take care of various domestic tasks simultaneously. With this, there would be an improvement in the quality of life of the elderly, disabled or with health problems: technology that allows them to continue living at home without major limitations.
On the other hand, the VMware expert points out that in terms of coverage, 6G could become universal, which will mark an important step in reducing the digital divide. “The next generation will consume less energy. The energy efficiency is essential for a more sustainable mobile industry due to the exponential growth of data generation,” he adds.
For its part, from Huawei they assure that “this advanced mobile communication system will be able to merge the physical, digital and biological worlds, truly marking the beginning of an era in which everything will be detected, connected and intelligent”, and they add that at the household level, for example, you will see a direct impact on the use of the metaverse”.
Logically, this will also pave the way for the rise of smarter cities, Industry 4.0, and use cases that sound like science fiction today, like integrating our brains with computers. .
While countries like China, Russia, the United States and Germany are already investing in the development of this technology, the truth is that the standard has not yet been defined and the frequency bands that will be used for data transmission are unknown. respondents believe that the first real use cases may not arrive until the next decade.