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6th Generation Wireless

While the global roll out of 5G ranges from the beginning stages to fully completed, researchers have already began exploring the possibilities of 6G. Although this research is still in the early stages, it is an exciting area of study that aims to define the future of wireless communication networks.

Key aspects of 6G research:

Timeline:  According to Remmert (2023), the first 6G standards are expected to be published in the mid to end 2020’s, with the first lab testing and pilots estimated to be underway in 2028, and final deployment expected around 2030.

Frequency bands:  6G is expected to operate in higher frequency bands than 5G, with a focus on the terahertz (THz) range (100 GHz to 10 THz) (IEEEComSoc, 2024), resulting in faster data transfer rates with lower latency.

Key goals of 6G:

  1. Speed: 6G aims to achieve speeds of up to 1 Tbps (1000 Gbps), which is significantly faster when compared to 5G networks that achieve a maximum speed of 20 Gbps.
  2. Latency reduction: 5G has a current latency of around 10 ms (milliseconds). 6G is aiming to reduce its latency to less than 1 ms (millisecond).
  3. AI and machine learning integration: There is a likelihood that 6G will take advantage of AI and machine learning algorithms that will enable real-time processing, predictions and the optimization of network operations.
  4. Quantum computing integration: Researchers are not only exploring the possibility of 6G but also the potential of integrating quantum computing into 6G networks. The will assist in enhancing security and processing capabilities.
  5. Terahertz technology: 6G will utilize terahertz frequencies which will result in faster data transfer rates, higher capacities and more reliable network connections.

Potential applications:

  1. UHD (Ultra-high definition) video streaming: With the potential of reaching speeds of up to 1 Tbps, 6G will enable the seamless streaming of UHD videos and other immersive content.
  2. AR and VR: Faster speeds and lower latency will improve AR and VR experiences.
  3. IoT and industrial applications: Because of 6G’s lower latency, it will prove to be more reliable for critical IoT applications, like; autonomous vehicles, factory automation, smart grids and so on.
  4. Healthcare and telemedicine: Fast and reliable internet connectivity will improve remote healthcare services, telemedicine consultations as well as medical data transmission.


Research challenges:

  1. Frequency allocation: Finding frequency bands that are suitable for 6G deployment will be challenging due to already existing spectrum allocation constraints.
  2. Power consumption: As seen with 5G, the battery life of devices connected to this network drain more quickly. Therefor if the goal of 6G is to be an improvement on 5G, an improvement in power consumption and its effect on battery life and thermal management will be a key challenge.
  3. Security: As mentioned above, 6G’s integration with AI and quantum computing will require innovative approaches when it comes to preventing cyber threats.
  4. Standardization: In order to standardize 6G technology globally, an international collaboration between industry leaders, regulatory bodies and governments will be required.

While 6G research is still in its beginning stages and many challenges need to be addressed before it is deployed commercially, the potential benefits of 6G technology makes it an exciting area of study with great promise for the future of wireless communication networks.


Remmert, H. (2023) When is 6G coming, and what does it mean for 5G and 4G LTE?, Digi International. Available at:,5G%20Advanced%20in%202024%2D2025.

IEEEComSoc. (2024) Terahertz Communications and Sensing for 6G and Beyond: How Far Are We? Available at:,%2C%20and%20the%20millimeter%20waves).