Forget 5G, China is preparing for 6G

The UK may be getting 5G in 2019, but China is already looking past the next wave of high-speed mobile connectivity and aiming to build a test 6G network for 2020.

According to Chinese state media, researchers will begin looking into 6G wireless systems from 2020. The Securities Times newspaper cited Su Xin, leader of the 5G group at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, saying that the theoretical downloads over 6G could reach the dizzying speeds of 1Tbit/sec. For comparison, 5G is capable of 1Gbit/sec speeds, making 6G ten times faster.

The jump to 6G so soon, with a goal to commercialise it in 2030, is a clear play by China to compete with efforts in the west to move to 5G in the next couple of years.

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Xin believes that 6G technology will coexist with all other levels of wireless communications out there now. It’s an extra layer that, essentially, allows for devices that require high-speed communications to utilise the network, rather than simply being a booster to your mobile internet.

6G is also said to have more coverage than 5G would offer, allowing it to transmission at higher altitudes and potentially work as satellite internet.

Right now, Xin’s team are really just looking at the potential applications of 6G before they really go deep into investing in the new technology. Essentially, they want to know which technologies they need to focus on for current 5G development, and which applications can be moved to a 6G timeline instead.

Regardless of what China’s plans are for 6G, it’s clear that 5G is on the way. O2 and Three are looking to utilise London’s sewer systems for 5G transmissions across the capital, and Qualcomm is set to bring 5G connectivity to its chips that will roll out in next year’s flagship phones.

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