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Scratching the 6G Surface

\”We can imagine completely autonomous systems; or multi-sensory extended reality which integrates 5 traditional human senses with the digital world; or real-time remote telesurgery; or complete virtual shopping malls,' says the Senior Lecturer in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications. Within the next Ten years, don't be surprised massive changes and new technologies coming into our way of life that will require increasingly more connectivity at higher speeds once we transfer increasingly more data, \”she further adds.

All this must seem like it's straight from sci-fi, but unequivocally it's not. This is just, what would be one of the numerous dimensions of 6G. When we're still behind the complete deployment of 5G globally, researchers all over the world are already laying the foundation for the next generation of wireless communications, 6G.

Compared to 5G, the 6G network will increase data rates by over 100 times, to one terabyte per second or even more, enabling the inclusion of edge intelligent devices and computing. 6G may be the sixth generation of wireless communications technologies where signals is going to be transmitted in a frequency band higher than happens to be widely utilized.

The current 5G standard (including 5G evolution) covers frequency bands between approximately 0.4 GHz and 114 GHz and can deliver bandwith speeds of up to 10 gigabytes per second.

However, with increased global communication and much more and more applications requiring fast and reliable delivery of information, it comes with an ever-greater requirement for increased bandwidth. This sits in a “gap” around the electromagnetic spectrum between existing radio waves and infrared light, where such radiation couldn't be generated until just a few decades ago.

It is therefore a really empty space on the spectrum, that is subsequently ideal for future communication technologies which will require high bandwidth and fast speeds. The biggest and many obvious benefit of 6G is the potential speed of information transfer, because of the increased bandwidth that would be made available.

While 5G offers accelerates to 10 gigabytes per second, research suggests 6G would enable transfer speeds of around 1024 gigabytes per second, which is comparable to 1 terabyte per second.

So 6G offers to accelerate to 100 times faster than current standards, and some say it will be much quicker even .

The increased bandwidth also means a lot more information could be transferred at any given moment, that allows new technologies for example autonomous vehicles and remote telesurgery being more and more feasible. The amount of data such applications require means they are technically harder to build up given the current 5G standards.

We can expect a lot more physical objects to feature sensors, processors and software that connect these to the web of Things, so they can exchange data along with other devices and systems.

Aside from telecommunications, another benefit of beginning to generate signals in the terahertz frequency range relates to security and imaging-as an alternative choice to X-ray scanners.

Terahertz signals are able to go through ceramics, plastic textiles and paper which will make it well suited for security screening, especially since other organic materials, for example explosives and certain illicit drugs, have high absorption peaks in terahertz radiation and for that reason produce a distinctive “fingerprint.” Therefore, it is possible to detect whether a sealed envelope or package contains illegal substances even without having to open it-just by scanning with terahertz radiation.

In addition, the photon energy of radiation at terahertz frequencies is extremely low, that makes it a secure alternative for medical scanning purposes to X-rays which are ionizing and can damage living tissue and DNA.

Cognitive Information Transmission: Compared to traditional communications, the 6G network would significantly reduce redundant transmissions and better ensure semantic meanings are mined, extracted, and sent.

Almost every industry may benefit from quicker information transfer, with 6G within the terahertz frequency range promising latency-that it's time delay before a transfer of data begins-of just microseconds.

A key development is expected to be in real-time telesurgery where low latency is essential, as well as other healthcare processes for example patient monitoring, and real-time analysis of MRI and CT scans.

The accessibility to autonomous vehicles is also prone to increase as 6G causes it to be quicker and easier to deal with all the details being collected from various sensors and radars, which require to become transferred very rapidly to ensure a high level of safety.

In some cases, the attenuation of high-frequency signals may very well be a benefit.

Near-field communication where sensitive and information is being transferred becomes more secure when signals are more localized, while battlefield communications might take benefit of the fact that information cannot travel long distances and be acquired by the enemy.

Experimental 6G trials start with NEC, DOCOMO AND NTT

NEC Corporation is collaborating with NTT DOCOMO and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) on sixth-generation mobile communication system experimental trials.

The company says 6G will need dramatic advances in communications technology to attain 10 to 100 times higher speeds and capacities compared to 5th generation mobile communication system (5G).

It says 6G will require ultra-low power consumption of 1/100 and coverage that will reach from the ocean’s depths to the heights of space.

NEC says it'll work with DOCOMO and NTT on the distributed Multi Input Multi Output (MIMO) technology. It's expected to boost the stability of communication even in a high-frequency band, that is highly linear and prone to shielding material, and it is promising for implementing the high-frequency bands of 6G.

The company says it also really wants to focus on OAM multiplex transmission technology, which examines increasing the number of data signals to be transmitted simultaneously.

NEC says this is done by putting a signal on the plurality of radio waves having different orbital angular momentum states (OAM mode) and transmitting them wirelessly. It says combining conventional polarisation multiplexing methods can reach even you can hear utilisation efficiency and larger capacity.

The company says using millimetre waves and sub terahertz waves is desired to expand the transmission distance.

Mayank Vashisht | Sub Editor | ELE Times