6G wireless: The Next Frontier

As 5G has becomes the buzz word in 2021, and with deployments ongoing, overall 5G is in its infancy stages. Now the industry is talking about a 5G successor and the industry players are already busy working on 6G.

In October 2020, a Washington, D.C.-based standards group known as the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions who develops technical and operational standards for mobile technologies, has formed a “Next G Alliance”. The NG Alliance includes companies like AT&T, Facebook, Qualcomm, T-Mobile US Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. The alliance is aimed at advancing the rollout of 6G and is focused on aligning the U.S. tech industry throughout the entire lifecycle of 6G deployment, from R&D and manufacturing to standardization and market readiness.

Recently Apple posted job ads seeking wireless research systems engineers for its sixth-generation, shortly after the company show cased its first 5G-capable iPhones. Other industry leaders like AT&T Inc., Facebook Inc. and QUALCOMM Inc. are teaming up to develop 6G industry standards, that includes research and development to deployment. While 5G download speeds are many times faster than current 4G LTE networks and with significantly lower latency times, 6G is set to raise the bar even higher, with speeds estimated at 100x faster than 5G and upped bandwidth to keep consumers more connected than ever before.

The potential results of a 6G technology according to some research companies will see 6G providing things like holographic technology. This technology utilizes diffraction to add depth and dimension to everyday objects. Additionally, it will support smart city applications and technological advancements in the areas of environmental monitoring and crop management. Crop management will need Rural broadband infrastructure, and this may come by way of the recent proposed House Bill, worth $7.35B. 6G is also expected to place a greater emphasis on wearable technologies in order to amplify people’s day-to-day routines.

In 2019, the FCC sought to encourage experimentation with this spectrum by creating a new category of experimental licenses for use of frequencies between 95 GHz and 3 THz. 6G, will double down on high-band spectrum, operating in the terahertz frequency range, a block of ultra-high radio frequencies aimed at accommodating more energy-intensive applications.

It is going to take some time to research and develop the necessary infrastructure to roll out 6G and analysts indicate we are at least a decade out.

Michael Murdock, VP Fiber Group, brings over 25 years of Telecom experience overseeing numerous wireless and fiber network deployments from the carrier to the vendor side of the business. Michael’s expertise in telecom management and operations has seen him start new lines of telecom business and markets, and he has been instrumental in several telecom mergers and acquisitions within the U.S. and the Middle East. Mike’s focus over the past five years has been on outside plant engineering and its application within the wireless technology. He is located in Scottsdale, AZ.