6G, short for the sixth generation cellular network, is the next frontier of telecommunications which promises more reliable and faster communication than any of the existing technologies. 5G networks, which different parts of the globe are rolling out, offer low transmission latency delays. Experts predict that 6G networks will further lower latency delays and enable efficient use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Researchers at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Second Institute have achieved a breakthrough in next-generation 6G communication by conducting the first real-time wireless transmission, the South China Morning Post reported.
What makes China’s achievement special?
Experts expect 6G cellular networks to enable high-definition virtual reality (VR), holographic communication, and other data-intensive applications. The researchers used a special antenna to generate four different beam patterns at 110 GHz frequency. Doing so enabled them to transmit data at 100 gigabits per second on a 10 GHz bandwidth, a significant upgrade from current levels.
The technology used for this real-time data transmission has been dubbed as terahertz orbital angular momentum communication, the SCMP said in its report.
Terahertz refers to communication in the frequency range of 100 GHz and 10 THz of the electromagnetic spectrum. The higher frequency range of this technology enables faster data transfer rates and more information to be transmitted. Terahertz communication has also attracted interest for use in military environments since it offers high-speed and secure communication.
The other significant part of their achievement is the orbital angular momentum (OAM) used in the transmission. This encoding technology allows more information to be transmitted at once. The researchers used OAM to transmit multiple signals on the same frequency demonstrating a more efficient use of the spectrum.
While it may take a few years for these technologies to become commonplace, the researchers also demonstrated advancements in wireless backhaul technology that can be deployed soon.
Conventional cellular networks transmit data from devices to base stations and then to core networks through fiber optic cables. However, with an expected increase in base stations, fiber-based transmission is anticipated to become more expensive and time-consuming. The researchers aim to provide flexibility at lower costs by using wireless technology for backhaul, which can also be used for existing 5G communication.
In the future, 6G communication technology will also be critical for short-range broadband transmissions such as lunar and Mars landers and spacecraft. The U.S. government has taken cognizance of advances made by the Chinese communication industry and looking for ways to advance the technology at home and reassert U.S. dominance in the area, the Wall Street Journal reported.