6G (network): when will it come out? | Prysmian Group


What is 6G and how soon will we be using it?

Sixth-generation wireless technology, or 6G as it is currently known, may not exist yet, but it is in development and will eventually take over from 5G. 6G has the potential to lead us into a new era of wireless technology and transform the world. 6G is already creating headlines in the tech industry, with reports some countries are already racing ahead, but is 6G still a thing of the future or will it be with us sooner rather than later?

What is 6G technology?

Simply put, 6G is the latest generation of wireless technology that will take over from the present system, 5G. Although 5G is still the prevailing market focus, technology never ceases to move forward, so reports and studies into 6G are already being seen in increasing numbers. 6G, when it comes, is expected to be significantly faster than 5G, making use of agile cloud-based technology and higher frequency bands.

Research suggests that 6G will apply mobile technology to a much broader range of settings, such as healthcare, agriculture, and transportation. As such, 6G is expected to provide us with much more seamless connectivity as we go about our daily lives. One expert has even likened the connectivity 6G has the potential to provide to “air”. It is also worth remembering that, although 6G is the preferred term at the moment, based on existing terms, it may ultimately be replaced by another, possibly snappier, name.

When will 6G come out?

Despite all the interest, 6G is still in the development phase and is not yet a fully functioning technology. Research into 6G is receiving funding from governments, however, in the race to get ahead. Current predictions suggest that 6G is somewhere in the region of eight years away. Early commercial deployment has been estimated at either 2028 or 2029, followed by a wider rollout sometime after 2030, although nothing has yet been set in stone. Many countries are carrying out ongoing research into 6G technology. Some sources suggest that China and Japan are much closer to launching a 6G network than the West, but it may still take time for it to become a viable reality.

What are the differences between 5G and 6G?

5G technology is set to become the dominant technology for mobile access and, as such, is expected to lead to developments in infrastructure. It is likely that by 2027, 60% of the world’s mobile network traffic will be carried over the 5G network. Although 6G is still in the research phase, the main benefits it is anticipated to bring with it as compared to 5G are speed, reliability, and size of network coverage. While 4G networks were primarily designed for mobile phone use, 5G networks are already much more flexible. Predictions suggest that 6G will take this even further, replacing the need for many special purpose networks, breaking down barriers, and opening up new frontiers.

Is there a 6G network?

No 6G networks are operating at the present time because 6G technology is not yet functioning. When 6G networks are launched, in around a decade’s time, they are expected to be more diverse than earlier networks, supporting applications that go beyond scenarios in which mobile technology is currently used, such as virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). Industry specifications for 6G network-enabled products still remain a long way off at this stage. Due to the pressing challenge of global warming and the need to reduce energy consumption, the future 6G network will also need to be more efficient and consume less power, while still being fast and reliable.

How fast will 6G be?

As 6G technology is still in development, there are, understandably, no promises about speeds as yet. Having said that, estimates have suggested 6G will be around 100 times faster than 5G. Standards for 5G have recently been determined after eight years of work, so a similar process for 6G is expected to begin soon. Some experts have speculated that 6G could deliver mind-blowing ultra-high speeds of 1TB or 8,000 gigabits per second!

Speeds at that level also have the potential to lead us towards the realm of what is currently science fiction, potentially making it possible to create sensory interfaces that mirror real life. Over-the-air-charging is also considered a priority to minimize power consumption. In terms that are more relatable to us right now, the enhanced speed of 6G will also help make bugbears such as slow streaming speeds and buffering video calls a thing of the very distant past!