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6G enters orbit

A schematics of the Earth coverage in 6G with a progression of bigger and bigger areas covered, from pico-cells to satellite coverage. Image credit: Muhammad Farooq et al, Future Generations of Mobile Telecommunications Networks

As most Countries are focussing on accelerating the deployment of 5G China has decided to move forward and deploy… 6G.

Well, as I mentioned in the series of post on 6G, 6G does not exist yet, we actually are not even sure what it will look like. One of the things that most researchers on future networks would agree is that with 6G we will have a smooth transition from one type of coverage to another, from picocells (very very small cells, even smaller than the future micro-cells used in the 5G mm waves) up to satellite illuminated areas. Hence China has decided to launch an experimental satellite (watch the clip) to allow researchers to play in a lab from the sky.

According to statements from researchers the satellites will be using frequencies in the THz range that can potentially increase the available capacity by two orders of magnitude. China has started looking into 6G last year, in November and after one year they are already moving into some form of experimentation.

As shown in the picture the future will see a seamless integration of different systems, most likely owned by different players that will be deploying them to serve specific and diverse business case. The crucial point is that technology will be able to seamlessly self-integrate these different systems into a fabric that will be perceived as homogenous from the point of view of applications.

If you feel that 6G is too far down the lane, just consider that researchers looking at future networks have already started to wonder about 7G! and one of the point of this very future system (that might be deployed in the 2040-2050 timeframe) will be the inclusion of a myriad of small (cube) satellites providing a complementary communications infrastructure in the sky. As a matter of fact, at the IEEE FDC we have already received a proposal for funding research on these tiny satellites.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.