South Korea has set a date for the release of 6G. The next generation of mobile broadband networks will be launched in 2028 as part of the government’s K-Network 2030 program and in an attempt to secure early mastery of future wireless frequencies, according to the announcement from the responsible ministry.
In parallel, the government will incentivize local companies to produce equipment, materials and components for 6G technology, as well as next generation software and strengthening of the supply chain. It will also develop an open radio access network that is compatible with any device and allows mobile phone operators and other providers to offer a wide variety of services over 6G.
It must be said that while 4G was mainly dominated by American and European companies, South Korean companies took the lead in the development of today’s 5G. The country offers the fastest mobile networks on the planet and has 26% of the number of 5G patents. Its goal is to reach 30% or more in the battle to obtain 6G patents and hence the early launch of the new networks.
What will 6G offer?
5G still has years of deployment to go, but the technology industry is not resting and 6G is on the horizon for a global rollout early in the next decade. Some, like Korea, will get ahead of the rest. But also others like Japan, where an alliance between the telecommunications operator NTT DOCOMO, the Japanese manufacturers of telecommunications equipment NEC and Fujitsu, and the Finnish manufacturer of telecommunications equipment Nokia, are already carrying out the first experimental tests.
If the forecasts come true, 6G performance will be truly impressive, with sci-fi data transmission speeds: 1 petabit per second. Putting the data in perspective, say that it is 100,000 times higher than the theoretical maximum of 5G or the equivalent of 10 million channels transmitting at 8K per second. A speed that will be reduced in the real world, but that will be equally extraordinary and that will definitely replace wired networks.
6G will be a challenge and it will require a good number of new technologies, new high-frequency bands above 100 GHz and expansion of communications coverage. Machine learning and artificial intelligence, now so popular with chatbots, are expected to play a decisive role in the development of all phases of 6G networks, spanning design, deployment and operations.
As the network evolves to support flexible and programmable cloud-native deployments, network automation will be crucial in simplifying the management and optimization of networks that will become “cognitive” in the sense that aspects such as the placement of virtualized network functions, partitioning, quality of service, mobility management, radio resource management and spectrum sharing, will rely on artificial intelligence to varying degrees.
It is expected that 6G will be deployed at the beginning of the next decade on a planetary level and that countries such as South Korea or Japan will be ahead of the rest of the world.