Heather Broughton

Heather Broughton

Senior Director, Communications Service Provider Marketing

Last Updated

What is 6G?

6G is the sixth generation of wireless technology. A new generation happens about every 10 years.

See What is 2G, 3G, 4G? for What is 5G? for more information on previous generations.

When Will 6G Be Available?

Current ETA 2030, and it will build on the advances 5G has made in speed and capacity.

How Will 6G Work? What Will the 6G Network Look Like?

6G will start where the 5G specifications end. 6G is predicted to operate in higher frequencies–the terahertz (THz) spectrum–with lower latency than 5G. Because transmitting in the THz frequencies is best for short ranges only, cellular networks might become mesh networks using multiple base stations and smaller inexpensive antennas to create microcells that can be accessed concurrently by 6G devices, or by relying on smart devices and smart surfaces (internet of everything) as networking elements to create microcells, or some combination, leading to ambient connectivity. Mobile edge computing and core computing will certainly be completely integrated. Another theoretical solution is solving the full duplex transmission problem, which would allow two-way transmission on the same frequency, at the same time, doubling the capacity of current bandwidths

How Fast Is 6G?

Using some or all of this new architecture, 6G networks are expected to support data rates of 1 terabit per second (Tbps), that’s 1,000,000 Mbps.

What is the difference between 5G and 6G?

Industry sources are currently predicting 6G will enable:

  • Holographic-type communications.
    Truly integrated remote learning, geographically dispersed team meetings, telemedicine, museum exhibits, etc.
  • Five sense networks with fully tactile haptics.
    The virtual reality (VR) experiences we’re just now enjoying will be expanded to include all five senses–sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste–good for gaming, game changing for prosthetics. Prosthetic users could have seamless–possibly even neurological–integration with their devices and instantaneous response, perhaps using wi-fi implants.
  • Time-engineered applications.
    With the extremely low latency promised, large scale, real-time, precise synchronization is possible – think super-efficient manufacturing or ports, or traffic flow maintenance that is variable with traffic conditions minute by minute.
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT) improvements to critical infrastructure.
    If an internet of everything is possible, search and rescue could get as granular as each individual in a disaster.
  • The development of user-specific, usecase-specific, and location-specific micro-services.
  • Unmanned vehicles, including planes, are a possibility with the sort of network coverage, data capacity, and low latency being discussed.
  • Additionally, 6G should continue 5G networks’ increasing sustainability, with improvements in automation and CSPs able to reuse network equipment
  • A close to the digital divide.
    As networks become easier and cheaper to deploy, coverage will expand. With networks moving from hardware to software, overall costs for CSPs and end users could drop as well.

Check back with this page, as we update it with more 6G developments.

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