The latest technology-the fifth generation of mobile networks or 5G is currently being deployed in select locations around the world. And that raises an obvious question. What factors will drive the development of the sixth generation of mobile technology? How will 6G differ from 5G, and what kinds of interactions and activity will it allow that won’t be possible with 5G?
Nobody has launched a 5G network yet, but the technologists at the Finland’s University of Oulu are already starting to figure out 6G.
The Academy of Finland announced the funding of “6Genesis,” an eight-year research program to conceptualize 6G under the auspices of the University of Oulu’s Centre for Wireless Communications.
Oulu, in northern Finland, is a major hub for 5G development. We profiled the city’s cluster of 5G startups and hackathons in a feature story last year.
The group will also look at making policy recommendations for a high-speed, AI-enabled world. “Besides technology advances, there will be a wave of societal changes due to the massive digitalization of services. This will call for novel incentive and business models in addition to telecom regulation and legislation,” Latva-aho says in the CWC interview.
As you can see 5G is a significant advance on the previous 4G standards. The first 5G networks already offer download speeds of up to 600 megabits per second and have the potential to get significantly faster. By contrast, 4G generally operates at up to 28 Mbits/s—and most mobile-phone users will have experienced that rate grinding to zero from time to time, for reasons that aren’t always clear.
5G is obviously better in this respect and could even replace many landline connections.
So how can 6G better that? 6G will, of course, offer even faster download speeds-the current thinking is that they could approach 1 terabit per second.