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University of Surrey Kick Starts Research on Future 6G Mobile

Thursday, November 12th, 2020 (1:55 pm) - Score 816
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The University of Surrey has launched the UK’s first 6th Generation Innovation Centre (6GIC), which will act as a “global research hub” to help develop future 6G based mobile broadband tech. Apparently this could take an “entirely new approach” from the tradition of pushing ever-higher data rates over ever-higher spectrum bands.

Admittedly it’s somewhat of an industry tradition for the R&D of a new mobile technology to start right as the latest standard (5G) begins its deployment. We saw it with 3G, we saw it again with 4G and now 5G. But one issue with the race to 6G is that the latest 5G standards can already harness an extremely wide range of radio spectrum frequencies, which doesn’t leave as much room for practical advancement.

At the same time most mobile network operators tend to be deploying their primary 5G services in the much more traditional sub-6GHz bands, which is despite the technology being able to harness well into the millimetre wave (mmW) – in this area mobile operators tend to look at 24-30GHz. Part of the reason for that is that mmW signals are so weak that they only really make sense if you build a dense urban network, which is very expensive.

All of this raises a challenge when it comes to developing a future 6G standard, since merely adding even higher spectrum bands (e.g. Samsung has talked about harnessing the Terahertz band for peak speeds of 1Tbps) doesn’t do much to improve the economic viability vs practical coverage side of things for operators.

Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli FREng, Director of the 6GIC, said:

“What our industry members are telling us is that the traditional approach of ever-higher data rates in ever-higher spectrum band is running out of road as a mobile service. An entirely new approach is needed that mobilises exciting new services that address the great global challenges. We are setting out this new vision in a 6G white paper being published today.”

The 6GIC’s press release vaguely mentions something that sounds a little bit Sci-Fi by proposing to “bring together the physical and virtual worlds, enabling teleportation,” (we assume they mean quantum teleportation via quantum entanglement, but it’s unclear), before going off to list the two research themes that they intend to pursue.

6GIC Research Themes

* Ambient information: a fusion of the physical and virtual worlds, powered by the integration of high-resolution sensing, geolocation and wireless technologies to enable a new level of digital services that link human senses with ambient and remote data.

* Ubiquitous coverage: making the digital divide a thing of the past by significantly improving coverage indoors, and using intelligent surfaces and researching satellite technology that makes exciting 6G services available everywhere.

Suffice to say that it’s early days yet and nobody really knows what the future 6G standard is going to look like, although various teams have now begun to research it (particularly in China and South Korea). Meanwhile the ITU-R is expected to begin early work to construct a standard for 6G in 2021 and this could be completed “as early as2028, with commercial deployments following by 2030.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar joe says:

    “quantum teleportation via quantum entanglement, but it’s unclear”

    I think lockdown is having strange effects on ppl 😉

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      You know that’s a very real thing, it wasn’t a joke 🙂 .

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_teleportation

    2. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      Think “Devs” type stuff………

    3. Avatar Alex says:

      I think it’s probably referring to something along the lines of augmented reality teleconferencing.

  2. Avatar Pezza says:

    And still their will be wide areas of the physical land with just about 3G coverage if your lucky… if they really think we will have all these fancy self driving cars and other devices all talking to each other in the future, they seriously need to think about the infrastructure first as people don’t just drive around cities, in fact I can see that being banned in all cities in the future.

  3. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

    And what about back-haul in place, like actual fibre (heaven forbid) to carry the behemoth amounts of data back and forth, then of course the actual core networks capable of delivering data at those speeds.

    Pipe-dreams for the UK then, (unless SERCO wants to tender perhaps……..)

  4. Avatar Brain Dead Conspiracist says:

    MARK MY WARDS… ITS’LL CUASE HIPER COVAD 2028!!! YOUS HERED IT HERES FURST!!! TRUMP 2024!!!

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