Forward-looking: 5G might still be in its infancy, but companies are already working on the successor: 6G. One of these is Samsung, which has just released a white paper outlining its plans for the sixth-generation mobile network and what the technology could enable.
Samsung last year announced the launch of a new research center dedicated to initial work on 6G. The company said it is "committed to leading the standardization of 6G in collaboration with various stakeholders across industry, academia and government fields."
In the white paper, Samsung expects the earliest commercialization date of 6G to be 2028, with mass commercialization occurring in 2030.
As you might imagine, 6G promises to make 5G look slow. Samsung writes that its performance requirements are a peak data rate of 1,000 Gps, which is 50 times faster than its predecessor, while air latency is less than 100 microseconds, whereas 5G is one millisecond. With reliability improved by 100 times compared to 5G, 6G could be utilized by latency-sensitive services such as remote surgery, emergency response, and industrial automation.
Other areas where 6G will likely find use is in truly immersive extended reality (XR), a term that includes VR, AR, and mixed reality. Samsung believes truly immersive AR requires 0.44 Gbps throughput, while 16K VR streaming is closer to 0.9 Gbps---speeds 5G can't provide.
More use cases for 6G include high-fidelity holograms; a human-sized, real-time hologram similar to those seen in science fiction movies will require speeds of several Tbps. There's also 'Digital Replicas,' which involves the virtual replication of physical entities, including people, devices, objects, systems, and even places.
The white paper states that meeting the requirements of 6G will require several technologies, including the use of the terahertz (THz) frequency band, novel antenna and advanced duplex tech, the evolution of network topology, spectrum sharing, and AI in wireless communications.
Samsung isn't the only company working on 6G. Ericsson and Xiaomi are also researching the tech, while Huawei's initial work on 6G began last year at its research center in the Kanata suburb of Ottawa, Canada.