The rollout of 5G will help scientist identify factors that will sharpe 6G. img source
Mobile technology transforms the ways that people interact with the world around them. The latest innovation in the mobile landscape, 5G is tipped to completely overhaul our patterns of interaction with our environment. As the new technology is being rolled out, the scientific community is already on the lookout for flaws and inefficiencies in 5G which will most likely be addressed in another successive generation – 6G.
The academia and industry experts are beginning to turn their attention to the factors that will shape 6G, how 6G will supersede 5G in various ramifications, and the type of interactions and applications that 6G will bring to life.
At the forefront of the 6G examination are Razvan-Andrei Stoica and Giuseppe Abreu, researchers at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany. They’ve attempted to identify the possible limitations of 5G which 6G would make up for, as well as other factors that will characterise 6G. According to their report, artificial intelligence will be at the heart of the new wave of applications powered by 6G.
The Basics of the Evolution
While 5G represents a quantum leap in the current connectivity landscape, 6G will take on a different dimension from 5G. Currently, conservative figures of how 5G compares to 4G hold that 5G will offer data speeds at least hundreds of times that of 4G.
Another key difference between 4G and 5G is the capacity of their base stations. While 4G base stations have a maximum capacity of 4,000, 5G stations can handle millions of connections on average. 5G will therefore facilitate seamless connections in places with a high concentration of devices, including in event centers like stadiums, as well as in dense IoT systems.
5G will also bring about a tremendous difference in the aspect of latency – the time it takes to send signals across a network. Compared to 4g, which has a latency of over 50 milliseconds, 5G boasts latency of just a single millisecond, allowing for functionally instantaneous transfer of data across devices in a network.
Entering 6G not only will allow for greater data speeds (at least 1 terabit per second, according to current estimates) and much lower latency, it’s poised to transform the entire digital landscape. 6G will solidify telepresence, enliven virtual reality, and supercharge sensing and intelligence infrastructures in IoT systems. 6G will also augment 5G’s single beam structures for data transfer which currently limit the speeds of 5G radios.
AI and 6G will take applications like virtual reality, augmented reality, and teleoperation to unprecedented heights. Source.
Stoica and Abreu argue that artificial intelligence will be the powerful glue binding the various components of 6G together, given the scale of data exchange and collaboration that will characterize 6G. The new generation will be geared towards facilitating instantaneous communication between intelligent agents for speedy resolutions of highly complex problems in real time.
For instance, 6G will be highly instrumental in the coordination of self-driving vehicles through busy city streets. Self-driving vehicles need to process a wide range of data during a commute, including information about their destination, current location, optimal routes, road condition, commute duration, other road users (including other autonomous vehicles), and more. During their journey, they’ll have to compute these ever-changing streams of data, utilising and abandoning on-the-fly networks at various instances while also remaining hooked up to a centralised network.
During such operations, AI will be instrumental to the transfer and computation of massive data volumes with ultra-low latency. AI and 6G infrastructure will be pivotal for collaborations and interactions geared towards resolving challenges distributed over a vast range of physical points. Other key areas where AI and 6G integrations can help supercharge collaboration and interactions include live trading in the financial markets, telesurgeries, and “nowcasting” – the science of predicting and reacting to events as they unfold.
AI will therefore play a central role in the interaction between intelligent agents during the 6G era. “To harness the true power of such agents, collaborative AI is the key,” claims Stoica and Abreu. “And by nature of the mobile society of the 21st century, it is clear that this collaboration can only be achieved via wireless communications.”
It’s still too early to predict how the interplay of AI and 6G will pan out in the future. We barely even know what bargaining points will be used to negotiate the standards for 6G. However, from the dots we can connect from the map of the current connectivity landscape, Stoica and Abreu’s claims make for an interesting preview into a 6G connected world.