Early 6G research suggests a broader range of frequencies could be possible
Image credit: deutsche telekom
Researchers believe there are more spectrum options for next-generation 6G networks than previously thought.
Commercial 5G networks launched in 2019 with promises of lower latency and higher data rates. To expand this functionality, it is thought that 6G networks will need to utilise the higher frequency Terahertz bands.
However, at higher frequencies these waves become harder to manage, making it easy to lose connection. New algorithms must also be developed that will allow processing to happen at the new bandwidth and completely new hardware will need to be designed that can function in this new zone.
A team from the University of Southern California (USC) has been conducting tests on proposed 6G frequencies to start the work of addressing these challenges. They are attempting to learn enough about the nature of each frequency and then engineer novel devices that will work within them.
Andy Molisch, USC professor of electrical and computer engineering, explained that their early work suggests we have more options for communications at 6G frequency than previously thought.
His team performed a series of highly detailed measurements on possible 6G frequencies that yielded some “surprising” results that will help in the design of the next-gen networks.
“Researchers have long believed that as we move up into 6G frequency, the ways in which a signal can reach a receiver will be greatly limited,” said Molisch. “Our work shows that in a number of important situations that is not actually the case.”
He added that there is still much more work needed to be done before they can begin building practical tools that work in this space.
“Our first round of measurements has so far been extremely successful, but many more measurements must be taken before we understand communicating at these frequencies enough to make 6G an everyday reality,” he said.
The team identified three technologies that could be enabled with 6G networks: haptic internet, mobile edge computing and holographic communications.
All three of these areas have the potential to change the face of communications, health, transportation, education and more, the researchers said.
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