What is a 6G Network? Definition, Features, and Benefits

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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A 6G network refers to a cellular network operating in untapped radio frequencies that use cognitive technologies such as AI to enable high-speed, low-latency communication at a rate multiple times faster than the fifth-generation network.

The 6G network allows for high-speed, low-latency communication that is multiple times faster than the fifth-generation (5G) networks.

This article will discuss the 6G generation of cellular data networks. This article explains 6G's core functions and how they work.

What is a 6G Network?

A 6G network can be defined as a network that uses untapped radio frequencies to transmit high-speed, low-latency communications at speeds multiple times faster than 5G networks.

6G networks are still in research and development. 6G is currently being developed as a sixth-generation standard for mobile communications over cellular data networks in telecom.

It is the successor or next bend in the road after 5G, and it will likely be even faster. Every ten years, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), standardizes wireless generation.

They are usually denoted with a gap in the "air interface", which indicates a shift in transmissions, or coding. This is done to prevent older devices from being updated to the latest generation. Doing so would cause an inexhaustible amount of noise and spectrum pollution.

The result is that subsequent generations (i.e. the next G) often use more advanced digital encoding than older computers. They rely on wider airwave bands, which governments have not made available previously.

They also have complex antenna arrays that are impossible to build before. Today, we are in the fifth generation. In 2017, the first standard for 5G New Radio, (NR), was created and is currently being implemented worldwide.

According to "6G: The Next Hyper-Connected Experience For All", the ITU will begin work in 2021 to develop a 6G mission statement. When the first 6G devices become available, the standard will be finished by 2028.

By 2030, widespread deployment is expected to be possible.

How will 6G Work?

It is unknown what 6G will do as its exact operation. The specification has yet to be finalized and published by the ITU. Based on the previous generation of cellular networks, several core functionalities can be expected.

The primary functions of 6G are:

Making full use of the free spectrum: A large portion of 6G research is focused on transmitting data at extremely high frequencies. Although 5G is capable of supporting frequencies as high as 100GHz theoretically, it cannot be used at the moment.

Engineers are trying to transfer data over waves in the hundreds or terahertz ranges of 6G. Although these waves are fragile and hardly detectable, there is still a lot of spectrum that can be used to transfer data at incredible speeds.

Enhancing the efficiency of the free spectrum: Current wireless technologies allow transmission and reception at a particular frequency simultaneously.

Two-way communication can be achieved by users dividing their streams according to frequency (Frequency Division Duplex, FDD) and defining periods (Time Division Duplex, TDD). 6G could increase the efficiency of spectrum delivery by using advanced mathematics to transmit and also receive on the same frequency.

Taking advantage of mesh networking: Although mesh networking has been around for decades, 5G networks still use a hub–and–spoke architecture.

End-user devices (phones) link to anchor nodes, which are cell towers that connect to a backbone. 6G could use machines to amplify each other's data, which allows each device to increase coverage and also use it.

Integrating the "new IP":  A research paper by the Finnish 6G Flagship Initiative at the University of Oulu suggests 6G might use a new version of the Internet Protocol. This paper compares an IP packet in HTMLv4 or HTML6 to regular postal mail with a labeled envelope, text pages, and a label.

It would be similar to a courier package that is fast-tracked and contains navigation and priority information.
6G will use the selective application of different frequencies to assess absorption and adjust wavelengths accordingly.

This technique takes advantage of the fact that molecules and atoms emit and absorb electromagnetic radiation at specific wavelengths. The emission and absorption frequencies for any material are identical.

When will 6G be Available?

The launch of the 6G internet in commercial mode is expected to take place around 2030-2035, as mentioned previously.

The ITU is not the only one to ratify this dateline. In a peer-reviewed paper entitled " 6G Architecture to Connect Worlds", the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a non-profit society, also ratifies it.

To simultaneously allow growth, sustainability, and full digital inclusion, we need a 6G vision. Although there has been preliminary discussion to describe the technology, 6G research-and-development (R&D), efforts started in earnest in 2020. The 6G Flagship Initiative combines research on 6G technologies throughout Europe.

Japan has committed $482 million towards the 6G expansion over the next few years.

▸The country's primary objective is to demonstrate innovative mobile and wireless technologies by 2025.

Russia's R&D institutions NIIR and Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have produced a 2021 estimate that predicts the availability of 6G networks in 2035.

▸American mobile operators are developing their 6G innovation roadmaps.

▸T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T are the leaders of the Next G Alliance, an industry initiative.

The Next G Alliance launched a technical program in May 2021 to develop 6G technology.

What is The Significance of 6G?

One might wonder why 6G is necessary, given that 5G deployments are still in the early stages of development and 4G penetration in remote areas remains low.

▸Its primary goal is to support the 4th Industrial Revolution by building a bridge between machines and humans.

▸In addition to surpassing 5G, 6G will have a range of unique features to establish next-generation wireless communication networks for linked devices by using machine learning (ML) and Artificial intelligence (AI).

▸This will benefit emerging technologies such as smart cities, driverless cars, and virtual reality.

▸It will integrate and correlate various technologies such as deep learning with big-data analytics.

▸It has been shown that 6G and high-performance computing (HPC), has a strong correlation.

Some IoT data and mobile data can be processed using edge computing resources. However, most of it will need much more central HPC capacity. This makes 6G essential.

8 Unusual Features of 6G

While 6G networks might coexist with 5G, they will be significantly better than previous generations in many ways.

Because 6G will have the following distinct features:

1. New Spectrum Bands

Radio connections are dependent on the spectrum. To fully benefit from technological advances, every new generation of mobile devices needs a pioneer spectrum.

This transformation will also include a reframing of the digital cellular spectrum, from legacy technologies to the new generation. The newest spectrum slabs of 6G for urban outdoor cells are expected to be in the middle bands of 7-20 GHz.

This would allow for greater capacity via extreme Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO). Opens a new window. Low bands range from 460-694MHz for broad coverage and sub-THz spectrums (between 900 GHz and 300 GHz) for data speeds exceeding 100 Gbps.

5G-Advanced will significantly improve localization accuracy up to the centimeter level and extend 5G beyond data transfers. 6G will use a wide spectrum to help localization. This includes new spectral ranges up to terahertz.

2. High Data Transfer Speeds

High Data Transfer Speeds

▸5G will offer a peak data throughput rate of 20 Gbps, and a user-experienced speed of 100 Mb.

▸6G will offer a maximum data speed of 1 Tbps. It will also increase the data rate to 1 Gbps.

▸The spectral efficiency for 6G will therefore be almost twice that of 5G.

▸Many users will have instant access to multimedia services that are more efficient with higher spectral efficiency.

To enable greater spectral efficiency, network operators will need to redesign their existing infrastructure.

3. Network Functions With Ultra-Low Latency

5G's latency will drop to one millisecond. This ultra-low latency will improve the performance of many real-time applications.

The sixth generation of wireless communication technology will reduce latency by 0.1 milliseconds.

▸This drastic reduction in latency will result in improved performance and functionality for many delay-sensitive real-time applications.

▸A decreased latency will also allow for remote surgery, emergency response, and industrial automation.

The network will be 100 times more reliable than 5G networks, and 6G will allow for the seamless execution of delay-sensitive real-time applications.

4. Support for Machine-to-Machine (M2M), Connections are Greater

5G is designed to address both human users as well as Internet of Things use cases. 6G, however, will be more focused on M2M connectivity. Today, 4G networks can support approximately 100,000 devices per square mile.

5G is significantly better, enabling connectivity of 1 million devices per square kilometer.

The goal of 10 million connected devices per square kilometer, which is the target for the 6G networks' introduction, is now possible.

Mobile edge computing will be part of all 6G networks, but it must also be included in current 5G networks.

Edge and core computing will become increasingly integrated as components of a unified communication infrastructure and network framework by the time 6G networks are in place.

5. Energy Efficiency: A priority

As we have discussed previously, 6G networks will need stronger radio frequencies to provide greater bandwidth.

One of the problems is that foundational (chip technology) technology can't (yet?) function energy-efficiently within these frequency ranges.

Optimizing power consumption is therefore a major focus area for 6G developers.

Researchers are currently working to reduce energy consumption per bit to less than 1 nanojoule (between 10-9 joules), according to a peer-reviewed paper entitled " From5G to6G Technology: Meets Energie, Internet-of-Things, and Machine Learning: A Survey."

6. Network Reliability is Improved

Network Reliability

In 6G, the Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication service (URLLC), which is 5G-led, will be further developed.

Using simultaneous transmission, multiple wireless hops, device-to-device connectivity, and AI/ML might improve reliability.

In terms of network penetration, stability, and performance, 6G is better than 5G.

6G will also optimize M2M interactions, increasing network dependability by more than 100fold and decreasing error rates tenfold in comparison to previous generations.

7. New Architectures are on The Rise

5G is the first solution to replace wired connections in industrial and corporate settings.

It is currently deploying services-led architecture within the core foundation and cloud-native deployments. This will then be extended to parts of the radio access networks (RAN).

It is also expected that 6G networks can be deployed in heterogeneous cloud environments, which could include a mix of public, private, and hybrid clouds, with the appropriate architecture.

8. For Optimal Connectivity, AI and ML are Used

5G will enable artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), technologies to reach their full potential.

AI/ML will eventually be implemented in many network components, network levels, and network services.

AI/ML can help you achieve superior efficiency with lower computational complexity, from refining beamforming on the radio tier to planning at your cell site using the self-optimizing network.

Nokia Bell Labs is one of the 6G developers. They want to take a completely new approach to AI/ML. This will allow AI/ML to choose the best method to communicate between two ends.

Advantages of 6G Networks

The following benefits are expected to be offered by 6G networks:

1. Security is Enforced

Cyberattacks are increasingly targeting networks of all types.

These attacks are unpredictable and require robust security measures. 6G networks will be protected against threats such as jamming.

When creating mixed-reality environments with digital representations of real and virtual objects, privacy concerns must be addressed.

2. Personalization Support

OpenRAN is an innovative and rapidly evolving technology that 5G uses. OpenRAN is a mature technology that 6G will use.

Operators of mobile networks will be able to offer personalized network experiences to users using AI-powered RANs based on real-time data gathered from multiple sources.

The operators may further exploit real-time user data to provide superior services by personalizing quality of experience (QoE) and Quality of service (QoS ). Operators may personalize several services with AI.

3. Increase The Capabilities of 5G Apps

This will improve the 5G application performance.

It will also expand the capabilities of wireless networking to allow for new and innovative wireless monitoring, cognition, and imaging applications.

6G access points can serve multiple customers simultaneously by using orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA).

4. This is What Drives The Development of Wireless Sensing Technology

The sampling rate is the number of samples taken from a continuous signal every second (or an equivalent time unit) to create a digital signal.

The 6G frequencies will enable faster sample rates than 5G. They will also provide significantly higher throughput and data rates.

Furthermore, sub-mm waves (wavelengths less than 1 meter) and frequency selectivity are expected to speed up the development of wireless sensing technology.

By collecting signals from objects, the network will be able to detect their type, shape and relative positions, velocity, and other information.

This sensing technique may allow for the creation of a digital mirror or equivalent of the real environment.

This information, when combined with AI/ML will give new insights into the physical world and make the network smarter.

5. Inspiration For New Technology Innovations

New technological innovations that support 6G will make society more prosperous. This includes:

Advanced data centers 6G networks will produce significantly more data than 5G networks. Furthermore, computation will expand to include edge and core platform coordination. These changes will require the data center to grow.

The new nano-cores will replace the traditional processor cores. It is expected that Nano-cores will be a single computing core that combines HPC with AI. Nano-cores don't have to be physical network nodes. It could be a conceptual aggregation or sharing of computing resources by multiple networks and systems.

6. Reduced Software Dependence Means Lower Costs

Networks are already using software-defined operations.

Virtualization will allow for additional 6G components such as the media access control and physical layers. Currently, PHY and MAC solutions require the deployment of specialized network hardware.

The cost of networking equipment will be reduced by the virtualization offered by 6G. A 6G rollout with a high density will be economically feasible.

7. Improves Cellular Network Penetration

Cellular Network

One of the many benefits of 6G networks' large coverage is their wide coverage. This means that fewer towers are required to cover a certain area.

This is helpful if you plan to build towers in areas where there are frequent showers or where trees and other vegetation are abundant. Additional mobile connections can be made to 6G, in addition to 5G.

This means that there will be less interference between devices and this will result in better service.

8. Optimizes Indoor Network Usage

While the majority of cell traffic is generated indoors today, cellular networks were not designed to target indoor coverage.

6G uses femtocells, small cell sites, and Distributed Antenna Systems to overcome these obstacles.


While the 5G rollout continues around the world, mobile companies and research organizations are hard at work on the sixth generation mobile connectivity.

6G networks are designed to connect the virtual and physical worlds via faster M2M communication, and better support for immersive technologies.

To be ready for the future, organizations should understand the importance and working of 6G networks to fully utilize the wireless infrastructure.

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