After 5G comes 6G: 6 scenarios for the technology of the future
5G hasn’t even really arrived yet, and the next mobile technology is already waiting: 6G. Nokia is the company with the second most 5G patents and also wants to be at the forefront of the next era of the upcoming 6G standard. Nokia Bell Labs has now identified a number of fields in a blog where 6G could shine. Here are six of them.
The largest mobile phone manufacturer for over a decade until 2011, Nokia had launched the first new-generation devices, but then found itself overrun by the smartphone market and eventually had to sell its cell phone business to Microsoft in 2014. But as was revealed at the time, the Finnish company had the most patents worldwide, ahead of Cisco. It has also kept many of them, because in 5G, Nokia is the second-largest patent holder worldwide after Samsung. In 2014, the sale of the cell phone division and the purchase of the remaining shares in the former joint venture with Siemens created Nokia Network, a company that today employs 50,000 people and has annual sales of around 13.8 billion euros. A year later, parent company Nokia Oyj also acquired Alcatel-Lucent, making it the largest network equipment supplier – ahead of Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE. Along with Alcatel-Lucent, the renowned Bell Laboratories (Bell Labs) also became part of Nokia.
And its head of research, Core Research President Peter Vetter, has now revealed in a blog “Nokia’s Vision for the 6G Era” what to expect from the next generation of mobile communications. As he points out in an explainer video, 2G was still reserved for voice and SMS, 3G or UMTS brought broadband data transmission to mobile, 4G or LTE brought video and things like social media, and 5G brought applications like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and interactive video.
6 Forecasts for 6G
6G will only truly enable people to fully connect and immerse themselves in the digital world (hence immersive technologies). For example, holographic encounters of unprecedented quality are possible, as if one were teleported into the other’s environment to work together on the same object, for example.
Telecoms.com has picked out six of the possible features identified by Vetter:
- 6G will make Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI and ML) the basis of decisions on how two endpoints best interact in an entirely new approach beyond enhancement, according to Nokia Bell Labs.
- The groundbreaking new frequency blocks are expected to be in the mid-bandwidth range of 7 to 20 GHz for urban outdoor cells and will enable much higher capacities thanks to extreme MIMO antenna arrays (pursued by Nokia, ed.). 6G will take positioning to a whole new level by exploiting the frequency spectrum up to the terahertz range.
- As an exciting innovation, Vettel sees that 6G will be able to fully sense the environment. The ubiquitous or omnipresent network will thus become a source of a new situational awareness that can capture the signals reflected from objects to determine their shape, relative position, speed and even material properties.
- 6G will also help to further refine the 5G key technology Ultra Reliable and Low Latency (uRLCC) to address even extreme connectivity requirements in highly specialized subnets at the endpoints of wide area networks. To further improve network reliability, the transmission could be carried out over multiple wireless radio fields (hops).
- 6G will also deliver unprecedented network automation and agility with optimal service at the lowest cost of ownership, thanks to new network and service orchestration solutions combined with a thoroughly cloud-native approach and advances in AI and ML across all network functions.
- 6G networks will eventually be designed to deliver trusted services based on a zero-trust infrastructure and protect against major traditional and emerging threats (such as disruption of mission-critical private networks). Data protection is also an important issue when it comes to creating new mixed reality worlds with 6G, for example.
These are six Nokia predictions, picked out by Telecoms.com, regarding the deployment of 6G, the 6th generation of mobile communications, which is expected to be launched around 2030. Some of the points mentioned, such as the deployment of MIMI antenna arrays, 5G, AI and ML – are fields that VINCI Energies and its subsidiaries, such as Axians and Actemium, have been working on for many years and are driving forward with customers throughout Europe.
Source cover image: Adobe Stock / Yingyaipumi