Most of you must have used 3G & 4G already and you will be able to use 5G probably by next year. Each one is a different generation of the wireless network. Interestingly, each one has been so much more powerful than the previous one that they have given a completely different experience to us. First-ever mobile phones were 0G. Calling them mobiles is not fair as they were big boxes with transmitter and receiver. 1G was the first-ever mobile that common people could actually use. They were busy flaunting their telephone without wire.
Little did mankind knew that we will upgrade by 1G every 8-10 years. 2G was 15 times faster than 1G. This means phones could not only call but send text messages and pictures. Then came 3G which was 50 times faster than 2G and it facilitated internet-based applications. 3G was simply so cool in those days that Apple names its smartphone "iPhone 3G" just because of its capability to support 3G services.
4G was 50-500 times faster than 3G. It facilitated HD video streaming and multiplayer gameplay. Talking about 5G, it can load and share internet content in real-time. Its latency is so low that you can control the machines at the exact moment when you using them without any delay.
What is 6G Technology?
As soon as a generation is released, tech giants start working on the next one. It's plain business. If they can come up with a newer generation, they can sell their products boasting its latest feature. Even though we are psyched about the 5G now, Samsung had actually built it back in 2013.
So though 6G is scheduled for 2030, chances are, companies are already halfway there. In fact, the super early 6G chips have already been built. It's not as fast as 6G is going to be, but it already passed the theoretical limit of 5G. Its speed is as fast as 11Gb/s. Tech giant Samsung has already dropped a document showing their plans for 6G. 6G can get you 100 hours of Netflix downloaded in just 1 Second. It would support 10X more devices and it will be 100X more reliable.
Why the heck do we even need 6G?
You might think 5G is already fast enough then why do we need 6G? It sounds crazy right now because we aren't currently living in the society that it is meant for. They are building a technology that is trying to serve the need of future humanity. That world will be vastly different from the current world.
Imagine a self-driving car driving itself on a freeway full of the same. They can not afford to lose or a weak signal as it can cause a road accident. That's what 6G will help us to do. What if all the cars can connect and coordinate with each other so that no one gets stuck.
Think about a glass or contact lens which can immediately create a virtual layer in the real world i.e., mixed reality. For all these features to work, we will need a super-fast network that only 6G can make it possible. Besides that, we will also need a data connection inside the sea, land, and space. Only 6G can achieve that efficiently, but for that, we will have to reduce the response time to microseconds from milliseconds.
In short, TO FACILITATE THE NEXT GENERATION OF TECH, WE NEED THE NEXT GENERATION OF NETWORKS.
What are the problems with 6G?
1. You must have experienced a weak connection with 4G. This is because 4G waves can only travel about 10 miles. If you go further than 10 miles from a cellphone tower, you will lose signal. This problem is even worse with 5G. We increase the speed of the network by replacing the wave with smaller and high-frequency waves. They are called millimeter waves because they are 1-10 millimeters long.
2. Since they are so small, they can also get easily blocked. You might even lose the signal just because of a wall. To even start the 5G service, we will have to replace one big tower with multiple small towers. Experts are claiming that this millimeter-wave idea won't even work outside the urban cities.
3. On top of that, every 5G phone will have to switch seamlessly between 4G to 3G, and 2G because we will still need them. So to use 6G, we will have to come up with even smaller waves. The current top candidate is sub-millimeter waves or terahertz waves which is 10th of a size of 5Gs millimeter waves. We might have to install a 6G antenna at every building and cover our skyline with them. One might need to have multiple antennas inside their homes as signals can be easily blocked by walls and furniture.
4. Experts are pitching the idea to integrate 5G with AI. This means that devices can automatically talk to each other and smartly manage the data. Some are talking about 'novel antenna technology' which calls for more efficient antennas. This is just an imagination for now. We can make each device a receiver and transmitter of the 6G waves. That means we can have a web of devices that are receiving 6G as well as helping other devices by transmitting 6G.
One relief is that 5G towers are built to support any future upgrade. So we won't have to completely replace them for 6G.
Technology is inevitable. We can't be ignorant towards them. Of course, given the current difficulty with 5G, we might not be able to upgrade in just 10 years. We expect 6G to be rolled out by 2035. Given how conscious we are getting towards the damage that we are doing to nature, hopefully, 6G will be energy efficient too. How? That remains to be seen.