Get ready for full holograms and 6G while living in the metaverse, says Samsung

Even though 5G Advanced isn't even here yet


With 5G adoption on the upswing, Samsung provided a detailed glimpse as to what a 6G world would look like.

"We already started 6G research with the commercialization target around 2030," said Sunghyun Choi, corporate senior vice president at Samsung Electronics, during a presentation at the Samsung Developer Conference webcast this week.

6G networks may start going up in 2030, he said, in line with a new network being introduced every 10 years. The first generation network came about in the mid 1980s, and a new generation of communications technology has occurred roughly each decade.

"Given 5G is officially called IMT2020, we expect 6G will be called IMT2030," Choi said.

5G commercialization began in April 2019, and 162 operators had deployed network in 68 countries, serving 389 million subscribers in the first quarter this year. 6G will come after 5G Advanced, a successor to 5G expected to take off in 2025.

6G will involve a melting pot of traditional wireline and wireless networks, and non-terrestrial networks, which include satellites and urban air mobility networks established for unmanned aerial vehicles and drones.

"6G should be available across the globe from the South Pole to the North Pole without service disruption," Choi said.

Samsung highlighted fully immersive virtual reality experience and sci fi-style full hologram interactions as possible applications to emerge on 6G devices. Basically, 4K or 8K applications, or anything that needs more bandwidth, will run on 6G.

Data transfer speeds on 6G will need to peak at 1Tbps (terabits per second), which is 50 times that of 5G. Latency will need to be 100 microseconds, which is 10 times better than 5G.

The coming 6G will also be heavily centered around facilitating communication between 500 billion devices, including cars, home appliances and robots, that are expected to be connected by 2030.

"It represents 60 times the world population then, meaning that machines along with human beings will be the main users of 6G... 6G should be built to meet the requirements of such highly capable machines," Choi said.

Welcome to the new network

The network topology of 6G will be different from current networks, with data hopping through more antennas and machines before reaching a device. Today the network structure is centered around relay towers.

With 6G, data will be routed through artificial intelligence hardware and software, making decisions on what robots should do, or automating home applications.

The 5G network wasn't developed with AI and machine learning in mind as those technologies emerged much later. But that won't be the case with 6G, Choi said.

5G can operate at bands of up to 110GHz, while 6G will need to operate at 3,000GHz band, Samsung said. A shortcoming of 5G is shorter communication range and coverage area in the higher frequency bands, which will be addressed in 5G Advanced.

Samsung is investigating terahertz technology, advanced antennas and new technologies to open up reliable channels for communication without cutting off.

The terahertz and sub-terahertz bands will provide more accurate positioning and sensing technologies, but there are challenges, including atmospheric interference. The company has demonstrated a proof-of-concept network to establish reliable communication on the terahertz band.

5G Advanced is expected to include a new duplexing scheme to incorporate technologies that include AI and machine learning, and new applications such as virtual reality headsets.

Samsung is also proposing XDD (cross division duplexing) for faster and reliable communication to the emerging 5G Advanced standard, as an upgrade of current duplexing schemes like frequency division duplexing and time-division duplexing. XDD, which allows simultaneous uploads and downloads by using frequency resources that don't overlap within a carrier bandwidth, could extend to 6G.

"6G is expected to utilize all different types of duplexing schemes in an adaptive manner depending on the environment. That will also include full duplex which allows simultaneous transmission and reception over the same spectrum," Choi said.

Companies are already putting open source software and common hardware standards, like OpenRAN, on which machines and servers on a network can easily communicate. That will aid in the create of faster and cost-effective 6G networks.

"We believe that 6G will be developed with AI/ML embedded natively so that it can be used to optimize the end-to-end performance from user device to application server in a comprehensive manner," Choi said. ®

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