6G, compared to its predecessor, is expected to offer significantly better communication capabilities, such as Tbps-level peak data rates, microsecond-level latency, and 99.99999% network dependability.
Although 6G promises a lot, it is unlikely that 6G will be in daily life soon, despite the fact that several important companies and nations have already begun 6G research, as shown in the figure below, the telecom industry needs to address several issues before seeing the success of 6G. The difficulties are not only in THz technology but also in identifying applications that will fuel 6G adoption. IDTechEx has been researching 5G and 6G for years. This article will discuss some of the hardware-related hurdles to 6G connectivity, as well as potential applications that could drive 6G
Challenges in THz Technology
6G will use a spectrum above 100 GHz and will ultimately reach THz. The advantages of employing such a high frequency are obvious: huge bandwidth may be used, allowing for Tbps peak data flow with microsecond-level latency. However, there are several limitations to employing such a high-frequency spectrum.
One of the most significant challenges ahead is that the THz signal attenuates considerably in the air, restricting the transmission range and making it easily blocked by obstructions. Because the laws of physics cannot be ignored, the most crucial element for creating a device for high-frequency communication is to provide enough energy to achieve a reasonable transmission range, even as part of an antenna array.
Choosing the right semiconductors to increase link range is the most critical. Below is an overview of semiconductor technology choices operating above the 100 GHz spectrum. CMOS can cover devices operating below 150 GHz, especially for short-range communication requirement devices (For longer range, using other semiconductors such as SiGe or III-V for power amplifiers may still be required). When it comes to frequencies above 200 GHz, however, a combination of CMOS for logic and III-V transistors for low-noise amplifiers and power amplifiers will be the way to go. SiGe BiCMOS technology currently provides the best compromise in terms of performance, low cost, and simplicity of integration for frequencies ranging from 200 GHz to 500 GHz. InP could be the ultimate THz technology and may be suitable in applications where cost is not the primary concern.
Other active research and development areas aside from semiconductor technologies include the need to find ultra-low-loss materials with a low dielectric constant and tan loss to avoid significant transmission loss, develop a novel packaging methodology that tightly integrates the RF components with antennas, and manage power and thermal issues as devices become more compact and complex. IDTechEx’s 6G market research report, “6G Market 2023-2043: Technology, Trends, Forecasts, Players“, discusses these challenges in detail.
Applications That Could Fuel 6G Adoption
It is essential to identify key business use cases to stimulate the uptake of new technologies. Despite carriers’ touting the superior performance that 5G mmWave provides, the mmWave market has yet to take off despite years of 5G’s commercialization. The vast majority of 5G build-outs continue to use 5G sub-6 GHz. The reasons? The one reason that most people mention, according to IDTechEx’s primary interviews, is the absence of applications that can be only enabled by mmWave and no other technologies. The same question about 6G will be asked: why is it needed?
From a consumer’s perspective, having a Tbps data link and microsecond level latency but paying a higher subscription fee will probably not be attractive if the applications on their mobile devices are pretty much the same as what they have right now. We’ve heard a lot about hypes going on metaverse enabling by 5G and 6G, yet, the real-life use cases that can drive widespread adoption are still lacking. However, it should not be forgotten that 6G will have its unique capability in sensing, imaging, precise positioning, and so on. These characteristics will open other business use cases and enable 6G to be used in areas beyond mobile communication, which can further drive advanced digitalization and automation of various industries. For example, using 6G networks to achieve accurate perception and centimeter-level positioning of mobile robots, demonstrating the ability to remotely control mobile robots to pick up and carry various objects. At the same time, this transmission link also carries the high-speed wireless transmission of real-time high-definition video between the mobile robot and the controller, enabling synaesthesia integration. Furthermore, as the spectrum expands beyond 275 GHz, interesting use cases worth highlighting include the use of THz connections as wireless links to replace fiber for data centers, enabling reconfigurable routes and allowing the reduction of the size of server/router racks, and of course, significant cost reduction; and creating one or multiple point-to-point high-speed communication links within a device, enabling faster routing.
To summarize, the strong business cases IDTechEx sees for 6G are presently centered on business-to-business use cases. However, this is not to suggest that 6G will not be essential in consumer communication markets; rather, a compelling use case must be demonstrated in order to promote widespread adoption in consumer markets.
I would be wary of the rise in ElectroMagnetic Radiation from both 5G and 6G. I don’t see that addressed in the article.
This was in a press release
I see it as a bit like TV – beyond 8K nobody can see the difference (even 4K and 8K looks wierd to those of us brought up with lower resolutions) – so we are reaching technologies that now exceed our limits of perception, or need. More is not always more, and how do you then sell that to the public whose consent is needed to make it commercially viable……you cant. It is a real hard wired ‘limit to growth’.
It seems the public are able to eat everything up presented to them.
Are we as men and humans put here to sit in front of a flat screen 8-10 hrs/day and 24/7 be “connected” cut off and far from any physical contact with the real world??
For me its a perversity of our human purpose here on earth and in addition an extremely boring life compared to the real stuff. But it could just be me.
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The dangers of Radio Frequency Radiation are well known, and were completely ignored by FCC when authorizing 5G systems. FDA is lying to the american people AGAIN, claiming that FCC limits are safe; however, FCC standards are thermally based and only address acute hazards from tissue heating; FCC standards do not address the primary “route of exposure” to humans from non-ionizing radiation. The BIOLOGICAL impacts on people, plants, and wildlife are significant and known, with thousands of credible studies. RFR is the Love Canal of the 21st century, and EPA’s mandate to protect health and the environment should have applied (before the FCC… Read more »
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First, IBM is making the quantum computer correctly and it WILL be able to track everything that transmits and/or uploads and even UPDATES the human mind and body and the system is massively paralleled computing platform which is being fabricated at the same rate as when G6 comes. By then, oxygen which resonates at that frequency (Dr. Pall of Washington State University has several teaching sessions for those that are highly inclined to understand what is being stated and he has 3 post doctorate degrees in neurophysiology, neurology, brain surgery and there are a few others of lesser degrees). DO… Read more »
You’re deluded. It is preinstalled in 5G devices.