As 5G deployment begins throughout the world, telecommunication companies are working to bring the next-generation speeds to wireless networks. Although very few 5G zones are currently working researchers have already started their efforts for the next generation. While we do not have a tentative name scheme for these standards lets just continue with 6G for now.
Like we previously saw in a paper from Samsung 6G promises 100 times faster speeds than our conventional 5g standard. Theoretically, this will be fast enough to download 142 hours of Netflix in just a second. However, these are just theoretical goals as researchers are still striving to determine ways to deliver much faster speeds.
Interestingly a team of scientists from Osaka University and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has shown what we can expect for the future of telecommunication. As described in a paper in Nature Photonics they developed a chip capable of transmitting data at 11 gigabits per second. This is faster than rated speed for 5G which is 10 gigabits per second.
To put things in perspective this amount of bandwidth is enough to stream a 4K high-def video in real-time. The team is confident that in time they can improve these speeds even more and get closer to what we have in mind for 6G.
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Before we dive into more details of this development lets first take a step back and analyze what the current standard 5G has in store for users. This will put the goals for 6G in perspective and give a clearer idea of our current standing. We know that wireless signals travel by Electromagnetic waves. Now a wave is characterized by two parameters its frequency and wavelength.
In simple words, the wavelength is the distance a cycle of the wave covers (the peak to peak amplitude distance), and the frequency is the number of waves that pass a given point in one second. A certain frequency band of these waves is used by our phones which send and receive information on these waves by modulation.
What the Next-generation Entails:
The 4G standard used millimeter waves( derived from their wavelength) of the low and mid-band spectrum. These frequencies lie somewhere around 1 GHz(sometimes more sometimes less than that). With 5G we increased data rate by adding waves of higher frequency, up to 300 gigahertz to be exact.
This provides a lot of bandwidth necessary for high definition video streaming and calls. with these ultra-fast rates came one big disadvantage, these millimeter waves are very prone to distortion and can not penetrate through many surfaces.
With this alleged 6G chip were looking at even higher speeds. It can transmit up to three times the maximum frequency of 5G(One Terahertz). The team said that they were able to yield a data rate of 11 gigabits per second. While that is noticeably faster than 5G it is just the beginning.
Given a few years, we can easily expect these numbers to grow even more. One expert in the field says that we can expect 6G networks to handle rates up to 8,000 gigabits per second with much lower latency and higher bandwidth than 5G.
The prototype chip uses silicon and has rows of triangular holes possibly allowing waves to pass through. The team also reported that they were able to transmit terahertz waves without any errors. Ranjan Singh, Nanyang Technological University associate professor, the leader of this project said:
“Terahertz technology can potentially boost intra-chip and inter-chip communication. And support artificial intelligence and cloud-based technologies, Such as interconnected self-driving cars. Which will need to transmit data quickly to other nearby cars and infrastructure. In order to navigate better and also to avoid accidents.”
Hopefully, we’ll be getting more updates on 6G development in days to come.