What Would You Do With Extra Speed? Exploring 6G Use Cases

By: Megan Davis

1, April, 2020


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1TBps. What could we all do with that speed of connectivity?

It is the speed that 6G promises along with even lower latency than 5G. While the hype for 5G continues to ramp up, some forward-facing research organisations are looking towards the next next-generation network. With the kind of technologies that 5G claims to support, one can only imagine what the world might be with 6G.

If 5G were a cheetah, 6G will perhaps be a falcon — swifter.

Some areas where 6G will be beneficial are threat detection, feature and facial recognition, health monitoring and gas and toxicity sensing. These are areas that require quick alerts and response — the faster, the better. It will move technologies, like AR, VR, Industry 4.0, robotics and unmanned mobility, a notch higher. 6G will also in theory make holographic telepresence possible. You just send your 3D, holographic self for all meetings. It will save costs, time, and energy and yes, perhaps prevent the spread of Covid-19-like viruses – as we have already seen, the pandemic has seen many events transformed into virtual events to prevent the spread of the disease.

Isn’t most of it already possible with 5G?

While some of the possibilities will already be enabled by 5G, certain trends will drive the need for 6G.

There has been a shift to using electromagnetically active surfaces for wireless communication, like walls, roads and buildings. The use of such smart surfaces will drive the 6G architectural change. The need for 6G will also be driven by the XR trend: connected robotics, autonomous systems, and wireless brain-computer interaction.

6G technology will build upon the 5G technology, including service-based architecture, low-latency, smart antennas and MIMO and integrating edge computing and communication. It will most likely run on cloud technology, or edge architectures, and naturally require advanced cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, the research in 6G has only just begun.

Yes, 6G research has already started

The first 6G whitepaper was from the University of Oulu in Finland. It talks of ubiquitous wireless connectivity by 2030, expecting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to shape the new 6G technology. It also highlights the need for new transceiver architecture and computing to achieve the 1TBps connectivity of 6G. The whitepaper also expects 6G to facilitate better attack mitigation and protection. However, it also emphasises the need for trust and privacy.

Among industry players, Samsung has launched its research in 6G at the Advanced Communications Research Center in Seoul. Nokia, Ericsson and SK Telecom have collaborated for 6G research, while also undertaking research in distributed MIMO, artificial intelligence and ultra-reliable and low latency topics. In China, Vivo has formed its 6G research and development team. This research team will also collaborate with local and foreign universities. Japan too has set up a dedicated panel on the technology. The Japanese government plans to allocate JPY 220bn for 6G research.

As more industry players and universities worldwide begin conducting research in 6G, Deloitte anticipates 6G to be finalised by the 2030s. In fact, by that time, it is expected that they will start contemplating 7G! The evolution of wireless communications technology will continue in the future but for now, we will only explore the potential of 6G. At the 5G Expo series of events, experts will look at what 6G is, how it can be and what it can enable.

Learn more about this topic by attending any of the 5G Expo World Series events:

5G Expo North America 2020 (4-5 November)

5G Expo Europe 2020 (24-25 November)

5G Expo Global 2021 (17-18th March 2021)