Most of us are still getting our heads wrapped around 5G but some major tech players are well into the development of 6G. Qualcomm, a huge force in wireless technology, is one of them and CNET news chief Roger Cheng recently talked to executives and engineers there about the next generation of wireless. Apple, Google and LG are also members of a 6G working group.
In broad strokes, 6G is envisioned as truly subsuming wireless connectivity into everything around us with network coverage and bandwidth availability so effortless we cease to worry about them. That’s a herculean task that 5G may only start accomplishing. “All the different sensors that we expect (to be connected) with 5G will be a lot more with 6G and everything will be talking to each other in an effort to make your life easier,” says Cheng.
That suggests 6G will need to scale both up and down, from connections that need huge bandwidth like home ISP service to devices that need only a small amount to report pressure or temperature, like a piece of future smart clothing.
Another area where 6G may take a hand off from 5G is coverage. 5G can offer good bandwidth to a large area or amazing bandwidth to a small area, but in between is something of a technical and economic null zone. “If you’ve got a fatter pipe, how do you get the range much wider, that’s when things start to get really interesting,” says Cheng. One of 6G’s clear mandates would be to overlap coverage and bandwidth without tradeoffs.
Cheng reminds that “this is all still sort of theoretical. Anyone who’s telling you this is what 6G will actually look like is selling you something you shouldn’t be buying.” It still makes for a fascinating future to ponder and you can do so with the video of Roger’s full conversation with CNET’s Brian Cooley.
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