Five key technologies propelling futuristic 6G use cases
6G will enable innovative, futuristic use cases that, when deployed on a massive scale, will transform the way we live and work in remarkable ways.
Imagine an average day in the 2030s. You begin the day with your home robot bringing your favorite cup of flavorful morning coffee. You scan the news over your mixed reality mobile device, zooming in photos and videos of interest. You put on your intelligent posture-supporting exoskeleton suit that helps maintain the correct posture when going about your daily activities. As you leave for your morning commute, your electronic watch dog begins its home-guard service alerting its networked community counterparts to be on the look-out for trespassers in the neighborhood.
You settle in your auto-guided vehicle and while your personal bot opens the top tasks for the day, you recall how rush hour delays and gridlock are all “in the rear-view mirror”. Your personal guardian assistant keeps track of your environment and surroundings and guides you through your day. You quickly check your digital financial assistant, and it explains its decision process for an investment being recommended.
At the medical center where you work, patients are used to being treated by robotic first responders and having their health conditions and even minor surgical procedures handled remotely. While you are there, drones deliver packages at your smart home, where the lighting, appliances, temperature, and security all hum along automatically. As you wind down your day, you’ve got more leisure time than ever for entertainment, such as multi-sensory virtual reality experiences of distant places or events and holographic calls with family and friends. As you get ready to go to bed your smart speakers project noise-canceling walls around the home, allowing for peaceful sleep. You wonder how you ever lived without these “crucial devices”.
Laying the groundwork for 6G
Making this exciting dream scenario a reality will require 6G’s advanced network attributes: exceptional data rates, low latency, secure reliability, agility, and dynamic insights. 6G mobile networks will need to manage many complex demanding processes, services, and functions. To do this dynamically and automatically, 6G networks will need to harness many leading-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cognitive networks, post quantum cryptography, and Internet of Things (IoT)-based automation. They’ll also require an unprecedented level of network security, trustworthiness, and privacy protections to fully realize the enticing use cases we see on the horizon.
Ericsson views that five key technology building blocks will drive mobile network evolution towards 2030 and beyond:
- Embedded sensors will allow digital representations creating digital twins of both humans and physical objects as well as their environments, paving the way for the convergence of physical and digital worlds.
- This future network will be powered by limitless connectivity that will dynamically adapt to realize an agile, robust, resilient, and open network framework.
- The future network will also be powered by cognitive AI networks capable of optimizing their own performance by virtue of continuous observation while acting autonomously.
- The convergence of IT technologies will promote a unified network compute ecosystem that seamlessly connects users of the air interface, the internet, cloud services and devices.
- Confidential computing and Zero Trust Architecture principles will ensure the safety, security, resilience, and privacy of 6G and other future networks.
Network operators, service providers, policymakers, government representatives, social influencers, business leaders, and other key decisionmakers should take the time to become familiar with these key technology trends as they are essential to enabling the dramatic societal transformation that 6G promises.
Get ready for the 6G quantum leap
In the lead-up to 6G, the United States can take a leadership role in this pivotal technology transformation. This means working with the industry to help drive the key technologies, capabilities, infrastructure, and standards that are needed to build cost-effective, secure, reliable, and powerful 6G wireless networks. The formation of public-private partnerships (PPP) can help provide access to the necessary funding, technologies, experts, and skills that can accelerate 6G research and development. While some early versions of the key technological building blocks discussed here are already becoming available as part of 5G, 6G will amp them up to a whole new level. Next-generation mobile networks will serve as an indispensable and comprehensive innovation platform capable of serving tomorrow’s intelligent, sustainable, and connected world.
In its recently published white paper, “Mobile Communications Beyond 2020: The Evolution of 5G towards the Next G,” 5G Americas provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of the technology trends, use cases, challenges, and opportunities society faces as mobile communications networks evolve beyond 5G.
As a leading industry trade association, 5G Americas facilitates and advocates for the advancement and transformation of LTE, 5G, and beyond throughout the Americas. This in-depth 56-page report, featuring contributions from major telecom CSPs and vendors can be found here.
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