30 seconds fast reading

1. 5G commercial use is still in the popularization stage, and 6G research has been put on the agenda.

2. The general view is that 6G will arrive in 10 years, and most performance indicators are 10 times higher than 5G.

At the 2018 Mobile World Congress in the United States, an official from the Federal Communications Commission first publicly looked forward to 6G, the sixth generation of mobile communication technology. In November 2019, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, together with the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Natural Science Foundation of China, organized a 6G technology research and development kick-off meeting.

Recently, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Europe have invested in 6G research programs, while domestic institutions such as China Mobile, UNISOC, vivo, CCID Think Tank and other domestic institutions have successively released 6G series of white papers. The prevailing view is that 6G will arrive around 2030.

In ten years, we may meet 6G. What are the keywords of 6G? When 6G comes, how will our lives change?

01 Air-space-ground integrated network coverage

Xu Hao, an operator of mobile network experts, believes that the main difference between 6G and 5G is greater range and stronger network capabilities: “The latter represents higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more connections, while the former It refers to the integrated communication between the sky and the ground.”

According to the world’s first 6G white paper “Key Drivers and Research Challenges of 6G Wireless Intelligence Ubiquitous” released by the University of Oulu in Finland, most performance indicators of 6G will be improved by 10-100 times compared with 5G, such as peak transmission speed will reach 100Gbps -1Tbps, while 5G is only 10Gbps.

In addition to the significant improvement in transmission capacity, wireless networks are no longer trapped on the ground, but will achieve seamless connection between ground, satellite and airborne networks. It can be said that 6G has almost no “blind spots”.

6G Spectrum and KPI Target Image Source / “Key Drivers and Research Challenges of Ubiquitous 6G Wireless Intelligence”

Both 5G and satellite Internet have been included in my country’s “new infrastructure” category. Exploring the integration of the two new infrastructures and realizing the integrated development of space, space and ground is one of the 6G trends.

SpaceX plans to launch 12,000 satellites by 2024 to form a vast Starlink network that will provide Internet services to people in all regions of the world. Under the 6G network, satellite communication terminals and terrestrial communication terminals are developing towards the integration direction. The integrated and three-dimensional fusion network of space, space, earth and sea will become a reality. 6G can also provide support for the exploration and development of deep space communication.

6G extends the frequency band to terahertz, the last span of the entire electromagnetic spectrum. “Terahertz communication is a new spectrum resource technology for 6G, just like 5G extends spectrum resources to millimeter waves.” Professor Li Shaoqian, director of the State-level Key Laboratory of Communication Anti-jamming Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, explained that the spectrum resources in the terahertz frequency band (0.1-10THz) With a large-capacity transmission capacity of more than 100Gbps, the bandwidth is larger, and the speed is faster when transmitting signals.

China Mobile Research Institute pointed out in the white paper that the important trend of 6G network development is the centralized and distributed network architecture. The network architecture design of 5G and previous generations is centralized control. With the diverse scenarios and network performance requirements of space and land, the centralized network architecture cannot meet all scenarios, and the 6G network design needs to consider the distributed architecture. At the same time, the 6G network needs to identify the environment in which different types of terminals are located, and select the appropriate air interface technology to serve them.

Wan Yi, deputy director of the Institute of Standards, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, believes that to achieve the integration of space, space and ground, firstly, we must break through professional barriers to achieve technology interoperability, business complementarity, talent interaction and industrial chain integration; secondly, commercialization needs are the driving force. , guide the system design, and promote the formulation of standards through demand analysis, scenario definition, and technical index sorting; the third is to jointly promote the construction of industry standards and national standards, and actively voice in the International Organization for Standardization and form intellectual property rights.

02 Digital twin and holographic interaction become new application scenarios

In addition to the integrated network coverage of space, space, and ground, what are the application scenarios of 6G? Digital twin and holographic technology are the application scenarios mentioned in several 6G white papers.

Source of digital twin model of production process/Deloitte University Press

The twin virtual world is the simulation and prediction of the physical world. It can accurately reflect and predict the real state of the physical world, and perform predictive maintenance on the physical world to avoid its deviation from the normal track.

Digital twins have already been applied in the 5G era. At this year’s Industrial Expo, the three major operators exhibited digital twins that function as analog analysis and product monitoring in industrial scenarios. In the 6G era, digital twins will be applied to more industries such as digital twin people, twin agriculture, and twin industry. “For example, an elderly person who lives alone can monitor his health through the digital twin, and if an abnormality is found, his family will be alerted in time,” said Wu Qiang, a mobile network expert at the operator.

Holographic technology is an image method that finally presents a stereoscopic visual effect in the target space by recording the three-dimensional image of the object and transmitting it through the network. The ideal holographic display should be realized based on the naked eye, and when necessary, it can also be realized with the help of head-mounted display and AR/VR and other technologies.

Relying on the 6G network, holographic technology will be integrated into application scenarios such as communication, telemedicine, office design, military and entertainment games, and realize the interaction between projected content and users, greatly shortening the distance between dissemination of information and users, and establishing “Human experience” as the core of information dissemination. Just like the scene in the movie “Iron Man”, as long as your hand slides in the air, you can switch the display content, assemble some digital mechanical devices, and test their performance.

However, Wu Qiang believes that these applications of 6G are essentially the in-depth development of 5G applications, and the core lies in AI. “6G currently does not have very revolutionary new technologies (such as no longer using OFDM, but the multiple access method and resource carrying scheme), but the refined use of technology within the existing 5G technology framework. 6G is like AI. the ‘last mile’.”

Wu Qiang also said that big data is the driving force for the development of 6G, “The demand for big data will make 6G come earlier, and big data requires high computing power and large bandwidth. Autonomous driving requires extremely high computing power, so the evolution of 6G is required.”

03 5.5G, is it a transition?

At the 2020 Global Mobile Broadband Forum, Huawei Executive Director Wang Tao proposed the concept of “5.5G”. 5G has three standard scenarios defined by ITU, namely eMBB (enhanced mobile broadband), mMTC (massive machine type communication) and URLLC (ultra-reliable and low-latency communication). At present, among the three major scenarios of 5G, the main application scenario is eMBB, URLLC is used in unmanned driving and drones, and there are not many cases of mMTC.

The 5.5G proposed by Huawei expands three new scenarios on the basis of 5G, including UCBC (uplink ultra-broadband), RTBC (broadband real-time delivery), and HCS (communication perception fusion), changing the “triangle” defined by 5G scenarios into 5.5 G’s “hexagon” supports the interconnection of all things and realizes the intelligent connection of all things.

UCBC achieves a 10-fold increase in uplink bandwidth capability, meeting the upload requirements of machine vision, massive broadband IoT, etc. in scenarios such as enterprise production and manufacturing, and can also greatly improve the user experience of mobile phone deep coverage indoors; RTBC scenarios support high bandwidth and low interaction Time delay, creating an immersive experience when people interact with the virtual world, such as XR Pro and holographic applications; HCS fusion perception communication helps two scenarios of autonomous driving and drones, and through M-MIMO beam scanning technology, HCS scenarios It can provide both communication and perception, and if extended indoors, it can also provide high-precision centimeter-level and low-power positioning services.

Regarding the 5.5G proposed by Huawei, Xu Hao believes that 5.5G is a subdivision of the current 5G application, more like “5G+”. “Whether it is 5.5G or 6G, we have not seen innovative technologies yet.”
Responsible editor: tzh

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