What is the sixth generation 6G network technology and how does it work?

Although it wasn't long after the advent of 5G, tech companies are already preparing proactively for the next generation of wireless technology, namely 6G. What does this mean exactly? How will it work?


Before we get to the interesting part, we have to clarify something: At the time of writing, 6G has nowhere near properly tested or implemented. Reports that China launched its "first 6G satellite" in November 2020 are not false but do tend to raise the whole ordeal a little.

Yes, China launched an experimental terahertz capable satellite in space, but that was only testing part of the 6G technology.

What is the sixth generation 6G network technology and how does it work?

What is the sixth generation 6G technology?

If not really, 6G is the sixth generation of wireless communication technology. The cornerstone has yet to be laid, but the standard promises to create a more widespread and reliable online presence across all cellular networks. To obtain more substantial details, we will have to clarify what makes this standard different from its more well-known predecessors.

We call this new standard “6G” and not “5G faster” or “5G enhanced” because there is a difference in how device manufacturers apply each standard. A 6G transceiver box that provides communication services to another device will not have enough similarities in its internal parts to share the same generation as its predecessor.

Put simply, the requirements that 6G is supposed to meet will need manufacturers to completely redesign their product communications sets to work with these standards. This was the same reason why 5G has become a "different" thing rather than being seen as just an enhanced version of 4G LTE.

What does 6G technology promise us?

At this point, no standard has been fully developed, but telecom companies around the world are already speculating on what 6G might offer. Currently, it appears that this technology can provide a bandwidth of around 95 Gb / s, providing a robust platform for multiple devices to transmit and receive data with low latency and high reliability.

Basically, 6G is looking to harness the powerful capabilities that 5G has already provided for the "Internet of Things" ecosystem. People who watch YouTube casually while taking a stroll on the sidewalk won't notice much of a difference given that previous generations of communications technology already cover the bandwidth needed for it.

The real difference will come when there is enormous potential for network congestion in an area. Large tubes make large amounts of water flow more smoothly!

In short, with 5G (and by and large, even 4G LTE) covering the vast majority of mobile phone needs in our current society, 6G is just telecom operators anticipating new developments in consumer and business technology that will require more breathing space.

It's not just a gear!

Besides changing the way transceiver boxes are manufactured, 6G will also change the entire infrastructure of a local cellular network. As a rule, an increase in the transfer rate requires a more tight distribution of cells.

Ultimately, all this fanciful talk about new standards boils down to different ways of using radio spectrum to convert waves into data and vice versa. Each new generation uses a higher frequency of the spectrum with a sacrifice of wavelength. Having to make this sacrifice means the cellular carrier will have to deal with band issues.

Each generation of cellular technology that uses signals of shorter wavelengths is forcing both manufacturers and network providers to grapple with the challenges of the new infrastructure. 6G is no different.

It's not just the hardware that has to change - it's everything. And we're not done with 5G yet.

To really understand the amount of stress our cellular networks are facing, we will have to take a step back and compare 5G to 4G.

A typical 4G LTE transmitter and receiver can serve its local cell for a distance of about 10 miles. This means if you are building a network with the goal of keeping your customers under a seamless 4G 'bubble', you will have to make sure that it is set up in such a way that no one is more than 10 miles away from one of your powerful antennas.

If you were to expand your network to 5G, you would have to shrink those 10 miles to 1,000 feet with the same amount of power. This is not impossible, but the proposal becomes more and more expensive and often on the existing infrastructure of the city.


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