Chinese researchers have reported a significant breakthrough on their journey to master wireless 6G communication.
Researchers from the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Secondary Institute used terahertz waves to successfully demonstrate the first live transmission of the ultra-fast 6G technology.
6th generation telecommunications or ‘6G’ technology will eventually succeed 5G technology, the latest benchmark for wireless communication worldwide.
6G networks will supercharge several wireless communication applications that have been stymied by the limitations of 5G, including high-definition virtual reality and real-time holographic communication.
6G promises to improve on its predecessor on several fronts, like having substantially lower latency, meaning less time transpires between a user-issued prompt and the physical change observed.
It will also be up to 100 times faster than standard 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks and five times the speed of the fastest 5G networks used frequently today, according to South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute.
Along with 6G’s low lag and high network speeds, its ability to operate at higher frequencies also means it can process data more efficiently.
First reported in the journal Science and Technology Today, the Chinese research team used a modified antenna to produce four unique beam patterns at a steady 100 gigahertz that were capable of achieving a transmission speed of 100 gigabits per second at the 10 gigahertz frequency, significantly improving bandwidth efficiency.
Their results mark the first tangible breakthrough in terahertz communication, which refers to the area on the electromagnetic spectrum between 100 gigahertz and 10 terahertz.
Operating at higher frequencies, terahertz communication can carry more information faster, making it fundamental to realising 6G.
The unit also made improvements in orbital angular momentum (OAM) transmission, an encoding technology that allows for extra information in each wave.
By incorporating OAM technology, numerous transmissions can be made simultaneously without fear of interference.
The team also claims to have made improvements in wireless backhaul technology. Backhauling refers to the process of sending user data received by a base station back to the core network.
Wireless backhaul technology has emerged as a strong candidate to replace standard methods that are reliant on fibre optic cables and base stations.
The team claims to have made several multiple signal transmissions and “ultra-large” capacity data transfers in the terahertz range, comfortably doubling usage efficiency.
The Beijing-based team has acknowledged areas of improvement it needed to address, including overcoming the increased ‘noise’ and signal loss experienced when communicating at such high frequencies.
6G is not expected to be available until the end of the 2020s, but that hasn’t stopped a myriad of mega corporations from allocating impressive amounts of their resources to its research and development, ironically before 5G has been rolled out globally, including Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia.