The Strategist

Japan sets to launch 6G mobile communications

01/28/2020 - 09:41

This year, the world expects a massive transition to the 5G standard - the fifth generation of cellular communications. It’s been tried on for several years: at the end of 2018, one of the companies launched a 5G network in the USA, and a new generation of communications was launched in South Korea and some cities in Switzerland at the beginning of 2019. Then, several cities of China launched the technology in test mode.

According to analysts, by the end of 2020, the total number of connections to this technology worldwide will reach 205 million, of which 28 million will be in the United States and 143 million in China. Five years later (according to forecasts), the United States will increase its presence in this network up to 318 million connections. The main share will be in China, in which more than a billion connections to this technology are expected. It will automatically make the country a leader in this direction.

Japan has joined the technology race by unexpectedly announced start of work on 6G mobile communications. What for? To prevent Chinese technological dominance.

The Japanese bid sounded loud, the more so the concept of 6G has not been developed yet. Scientists are still wondering how to build this network. At that, there’s no doubt that new requirements will appear soon. For example, to increase the data transfer rate, it is necessary to make smaller cells, so that the distance between the transmitters is less and the network is denser. In addition, the algorithm for creating this network, of course, will still be finalized, and the 6G network itself will improve.

The transition from 3G to 4G could be called a technological revolution. Then, engineers introduced turbo codes and significantly reduced the likelihood of error; there were also a lot of discoveries in the field of signal processing, various access methods.

All these methods are more or less developed nowadays, and there were only few improvements to existing solutions on the way to the 5G.

If the trend persists, we will see some evolution, but not revolution. However, it cannot be ruled out either: today the most promising direction for development is the machine learning method, the desire to make networks more intelligent, and if research to create a new generation network moves in these directions, everything will turn out differently.

There’s also one more aspect: with the development of technology, the requirements for equipment working with data transfer are changing. A few years ago, base stations - the very cells - were used to transmit data. But the current global trend is to transfer everything to cloud technologies, including cellular communications. At the same time, the base station, in fact, is a certain program that “spins” in the cloud and processes the signal. What the Japanese project will offer on this part is still a mystery.