In Latin America, the 5G network is still far from being a reality. With the help of Huawei, some countries have started projects to create an infrastructure that allows this network. And even though this network is not yet fully developed, research centers around the world begin to think about the next generation of telecom: the 6G network.
The 5G network will boost the Internet of Things (IoT) and will have critical applications both in rural areas and in the creation of smart cities where thousands of devices will be connected at the same time and sending data for processing. The 6G network will go even further, but what is this technology?
What is the 6G network?
6g is a still hypothetical technology that will allow wireless connections of one TB per second and will have the ability to cover underwater connections. These features will allow extending the applications of Artificial Intelligence by increasing the speed of data that is sent in real-time.
An example of the possible uses of this technology is autonomous cars. These vehicles will need to send constant information not only about their location but also need to know the place of nearby vehicles with a latency of less than a millisecond. In addition to this, there will be hundreds of cars that receive data simultaneously. A bad connection could cause data corruption and prevent these vehicles from functioning efficiently.
The 6G network will boost research and development in areas related to IoT and artificial intelligence, some of which we don’t even imagine yet.
Why the rush to investigate the 6G network?
The United States was one of the pioneer countries in adopting the 6G network. This fact allowed startups to emerge or become popular in the country such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, among others. The fast connection of mobile phones transformed the way people share content online.
On the other hand, in Europe, the deployment of the 4G network was affected by regulatory issues. This issue put the region at a disadvantage against the United States and is one of the reasons why few technology companies compete globally from the old continent.
How fast will the 6G network deployment be?
The current 4G LTE standard will dominate for several more years, as telecommunications operators will try to recover their huge investments in that infrastructure. Meanwhile, operators are proceeding cautiously with 5G. The deployment of 5G will be much more expensive than 4G due to the short distances to which the signals can travel and the need for a higher density of equipment to transmit the signals.
When 5G technology becomes the dominant network (remember that the 5G network will begin to be a standard by the end of 2019 and during 2020), it will be the most significant leap since the evolution of 2G to 3G networks. The 5G not only promises theoretical speeds of 20 Gbps compared to the theoretical maximum of 1 Gbps for 4G, but it does not have latency and supports a higher density of connections in a smaller area. It will be promoted as a solution to enable smart cities, smart factories, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality transmission without ties, and more.
Therefore, it is likely that in the next decade, we will not see a 6G network in the world. Also, this network will have as a challenge that each country tests a regulation that allows using the necessary bandwidth for the transmission of data with this technology.
Data from the University of Santa Barbara in California, which is investigating new radio technologies to develop 6G, downgraded the forecasts for this technology a few months ago. According to the center that is in charge of the study, the speed of the future standard would be 100 Gbps at very low latency; 5G is expected to be transmitted at 20 Gbps. It would also change the frequency range it would use, which would reach 1THz and move, at its lower limit, in the 100GHz band. The group pointed out that the generation of mobile communications could be available for commercial use within ten years.
Who is working on 6G technology?
Like most of the latest technological innovations in the United States, in this 6G, research is being carried out in California. To be precise, at the TeraHertz Communications and Detection Center or ComSenTer. Currently, research is directed in two directions: augmented reality and transport.
The most significant change will be not only the speed but also the frequency range in which this network will operate.
The US company Qualcomm also announced to be working on 6G technology. The CEO of the company Cristiano Amon mentioned that after launching 5G in 2019, they already had a team working on the next generation of mobile connectivity.
China is also preparing the ground for 6G, as published by a local media and collected by the Bloomberg agency. China hopes to officially start the research and development of 6G wireless systems in 2020. The press cites the leader of a 5G work team from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, who has also noted that the following transmission standard mobiles will favor the deployment of coverage at higher altitudes, in addition to improving the expected speed tenfold with 5G.
Huawei is also already working on the 6G network, according to CNET and The Logic media. In its R&D (Research and Development) offices, the Chinese company studies all the details to start working with this new network technology. The Huawei work center is located in Ottawa, Canada, but beyond this, there are no more details about Huawei’s plans with this new technology.
Several Korean technology companies also started with 6G investigations, according to the South Korean public agency Yonhap.
In January 2019, LG Electronics joined the Korea Institute of Advanced Science and Technology (Kaist) to open a 6G research center.
At the end of May 2019, the Korean mobile operator KT last week signed an agreement with the Seoul National University (SN8U) to assist in the 6G research.
In early June, Samsung announced the opening of a new research center to develop technology for 6G mobile networks. The firm’s research and development department, Samsung Research, has recently incorporated a research team to accelerate the development of solutions and standardization of 6G, a technology that is part of this company’s long-term business plan, according to the sources.
And what about 6G in Latin America?
So far, only one Latin American country has announced plans to develop 6G technology: Brazil. Before the end of 2019, Brazil’s Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Marcos Pontes announced that Brazil is collaborating with Finland to boost the development of this technology in the country.
In an interview with the Brazilian medium Valor, Marcos Pontes commented that “the future is already defined, it is time to think about 6G. For the first time in history, we are starting together with the world, in this case, Finland, which is one of the main leaders, the development of technologies with a future. “
The leader of these investigations is Professor José Marcos Brito of the National Telecommunications Institute (Inatel) in Santa Rita do Sapucaí, Mato Grosso. Brito is the director of postgraduate research at the institution. Its work team is made up of twenty Brazilian researchers involved in a Finnish program recognized worldwide for leading the most advanced discussions on mobile phone innovation.
“I always clarify when I am serious; it is not a joke. Brazil wisely decided to bet the chips on 6G technology,” says the professor of Inatel in a good mood.
Five years to see progress in 6G.
Although there are currently several companies that work on the development of 6G technology, we will most likely not be able to see the first results of these investigations in the next five years. This situation was the case with 5G technology, which barely begins its deployment in the world.
Huawei started working on the 5G network in 2014, and it wasn’t until 2019 when they were ready to deploy this network in various parts of the world. At present, there is still a lot of work to do so that Latin American countries have the necessary infrastructure to take advantage of this technology, but progress is on track. Huawei announced that it has contracts in Latin America related to 5G for next year.
In the region, it represents an advance that countries decide to adopt new technologies as soon as possible to boost development in the region. However, more Latin American economies need to take Brazil’s position to place themselves at the forefront of these technologies by promoting research in Latin America.