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1 Mar, 2023
2 min time to read

During Mobile World Congress' session on the future of 6G, representatives from companies including Samsung, the European Space Agency, and Telefonica gathered to share their perspectives on how the development of 6G will unfold.

To begin with, it's important to note that 6G technology won't be available anytime soon. Projections suggest that consumers like us will only be able to access 6G technology from around 2030, so it's best to temper our excitement for now. Nonetheless, the prospect of having a device that can stream at least a terabyte of data into our eyes is enough to excite our inner geek. With 100 times the capacity of 5G and sub-millisecond latencies, 6G promises to revolutionize the way we use mobile technology.

A panel discussion featuring Kimberley Trommler, Yue Wang, Xavier Lobao, and Nicolas Kourtellis discussed the most exciting aspects of 6G technology. One area that stood out was the significant reduction in energy consumption, which would make 6G deployable in a wider range of scenarios, including with IoT devices. The panelists also discussed real "edge computing" applications and far greater cybersecurity as exciting aspects of 6G technology.

"Convergence" was a word that came up several times during the conversation, referring to the convergence of terrestrial and non-terrestrial (space) networks to provide seamless connectivity. Additionally, 6G promises greater resilience across networks, making virtual education via XR headsets more accessible and potentially boosting UN Sustainable Goals, particularly in emerging economies.

The panelists also noted that 6G networks will be more robust from a consumer point of view, addressing issues such as signal cuts in elevators. Smart labeling in the 6G environment will allow for tracking of any kind of product, although this may raise privacy concerns.

Other potential applications of 6G technology discussed during the panel included precision manufacturing with robotics, communications for autonomous vehicles, and brain-computer interfaces. "Kinetic content," "AI-generated content," and "digital replicas" will also be more accessible on 6G networks. For instance, medical students could be trained using holographic patients to safely make mistakes as many times as needed.

Privacy-preserving federated learning (ppFL) is another promising concept that 6G technology could offer. Multiple parties could train a single model without sharing raw training data, potentially mitigating risks such as cyberattacks over neural networks.

Making the transition from 5G to 6G is expected to be easier than the switch from 3G to 4G since much of the groundwork has already been laid. The networks appear to be prepped and ready for the next era of mobile technology. However, consumers will have to wait until around 2030 before they can enjoy the full benefits of 6G technology.