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5G industry innovates towards next-generation wireless networks

New whitepaper from industry trade organisation for leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers explores foundations of 6G wireless communications in 2030 and beyond

New generations of mobile technology usually arrive as decades turn, but the pace of development in the world of 5G wireless is faster than ever, with 5G-Advanced seemingly around the corner. Now a whitepaper from 5G Americas says research is under way for future sixth-generation 6G wireless cellular networks that may be capable of opening up new opportunities to extend wireless systems into nearly every facet of human and machine interaction.

The Mobile communications towards 2030 paper from the industry trade organisation for leading telecommunications service providers reviewed activities shaping wireless networks beyond 5G throughout North America and around the world, including initiatives in Germany and India. It examined early specifications and requirements for emerging mobile communications applications, including holographic communications, imaging and sensing, evolutions of massive internet of things (mIoT), smart agriculture and first responder services, among others.

It also focuses particularly on North American technical leadership, examining new applications, services and emerging technologies under discussion and planning stages. It also reviews activities by the US Department of Defense, the recent US CHIPS Act, standards activities, and North American leadership in the ITU that is significant to research and future development of 6G.

The analysis noted that 5G has a “long roadmap’ of innovation ahead of it and is laying the foundation for the success of the next generation of wireless technologies. Yet it cautioned that as the industry moves towards the future of the connected world, it must first understand areas that 5G is not addressing to create a 6G vision and establish future standards.

It also noted that companies, governments, standards organisations and academia were just now beginning to consider the possibilities of the next wave of wireless technology for 2030 and beyond.

“5G continues to evolve with tremendous advances across multiple areas,” said Brian Daly, AVP, Standards & Industry Alliance at AT&T and leader of the 5G Americas working group for the paper. “However, organisations have begun to study the next generation of wireless technology. As we look to the future, 6G is expected to have steep requirements for extremely performant, trustworthy, intelligent, cognitive, flexible and sustainable wireless communication networks.”

Ali Khayrallah, senior scientist, advanced technology group at Ericsson and co-leader of the 5G Americas working group, added: “Many projects identified as ‘Next G’ and ‘6G’ are already under way in many parts of the world. Although 6G networks are not expected until at least 2030, the right strategies and policies can promote investment, research, development, innovation and deployment of the next generation of mobile communication technologies.”

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