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Forget 5G, Super-Fast 6G is already here

Samsung researchers: Wonsuk Choi, Shadi Abu-Surra and Gary Xu with the THz proof-of-concept system.

Samsung researchers: Wonsuk Choi, Shadi Abu-Surra and Gary Xu with the THz proof-of-concept system.
Picture: Samsung

The technology march is waiting for no one, so despite lightning fast 5G speeds we have been promised is nowhere near covering the entire country, Samsung is already testing 6G in the laboratories. The test hardware delivers blisters speeds that promisewell well figure that part out later.

A team of researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Samsung Research and Samsung Research America completed a new test of a 140 GHz transmitter and receiver first developed by UCSB electrical and computer professor Mark Rodwell back in 2017. While 5G wireless signals exist in a frequency range up to 40 GHz, 6G would instead occupy the wireless spectrum above 100 GHz, in the terahertz spectrum, which provides significant performance improvements.

The 6G hardware, which operates at a frequency of 140 GHz and a bandwidth of 2 GHz, successfully transmitted data at 6.2 Gbps – around 775 MB / s – over a distance of approx. 50 feet. Bin March, Nokia and Turkey’s Turk Telecom set 5G speed record which reached over 4.5 Gbps using special hardware that consumers will probably never get hold of. So even the earliest implementations of 6G already show significant promise over its predecessor, but the potential is much greater than that.

Operating in the less widely used terahertz spectrum means that 6G can potentially hit transfer rates of up to 1 Tbps, or 125 gigabytes of data wirelessly flows in and out of a mobile device every second. What does it mean for most people? It remains to be seen. Telecom and service providers have struggled to find ways to convey the virtues of 5G to most consumers who cannot see the difference between watching an HD Netflix stream on their smartphone’s small screen versus a 4K feed. The benefits are clearer for those who live in isolated areas who are struggling to get high-speed Internet into their home or business. When 5G coverage areas are expanded, it can easily deliver broadband internet access without the need for expensive and extensive infrastructure upgrades.

There will surely be equally useful applications for 6G when it finally rolls out, then our smartphones can project 8K holograms or stream complex virtual reality worlds streamed in real time from a powerful remote server that handles all the complex rendering. With a timeline that sees 6G arrive by 2030 at the earliest, even bleeding edge early adopters should not pay much attention to technology yet.

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