If you’re looking forward to 6G wireless broadband, you’ll probably be waiting for a while.
6G will be the sixth generation standard for wireless communications technologies. The successor to 5G will be significantly faster, at speeds up to 100 times that of 5G. And 5G is no slouch, capable of speeds up to 10Gbps.
Although Lightning Broadband starting rolling out 5G fixed wireless internet technology back in 2018, 5G is barely out of the starting gate across the Australian telecommunications industry generally. But murmurings about 6G have begun and become more common in the last couple of months.
Some of this chatter is probably attributable to relatively recent news stories offering a glimmer of a 6G future.
For example, Germany’s Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance launched a project in October focusing on the “Vision and Drivers” for 6G. The Alliance previously provided industry-wide guidance on 4G and 5G. But, the NGMN are really only just getting started on 6G.
Then last month China launched what was described as “the world’s first 6G satellite” as a testing platform for enhanced space communications. But as the BBC points out, with it being several years away before agreement is struck on 6G’s specifications, it’s not certain the technology China is trialing will make it into the final standard.
Even before both of these recent developments, telecom giant Huawei kicked off its 6G research last year. However, Huawei 5G Product Line President Yang Chaobin stated at the time 6G would not be viable until 2030.
Dr Diep Nguyen, Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney’s School of Electrical and Data Engineering, is a little more bullish on the timeframe – around five or six years. He also recently told Information Age that instead of speed being the sole focus of 6G, perhaps accessibility, reliability, latency and efficiency enhancements will be considered more important.
While it’s good to have an eye on the future with musings about 6G, the rollout of 5G is a more pressing issue as it supports technology and applications that can use it now – and some we haven’t even thought of yet.
So, don’t sweat on 6G at the moment – or for any moments to come for quite a while. And no doubt when 6G is approaching prime time, Lightning Broadband will be ahead of the pack, just as it was for 5G.