The Road to 6G

Although 5G technology is still in its relative infancy, top technology companies from wireless carriers to chipset manufacturers to meta technology vendors are actively working on the development of the next milestone for wireless communications, known as the sixth generation, or 6G.

The demand for even faster networks with greater capacity is being driven by a desire to support more complex and data-intensive applications, connect an even greater number of devices and data sources, and enjoy persistent, latency-free data connections.

When fully developed, 6G technology may one day support data transfer rates of 1 terabit per second (100 times faster than the 10 gigabits-per-second hypothetical top speed offered by 5G), and network capacities of 50 to 100 times that of 5G networks, thereby allowing a much larger ecosystem of connected devices, allowing consumer, industrial, and infrastructure-based devices to operate on the same network with no adverse performance impact. Further, where 5G networks generally support latency rates of about 4 milliseconds (ms), 6G could reduce that latency to near zero, and each access point likely will be able to support multiple clients simultaneously.

To continue reading this article by Keith Kirkpatrick in the September 2022 edition of the Communications of the ACM, go to:

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