With no 5G standard (IMT 2020) China is working on 6G!

Consumers can’t buy 5G phones yet. But China is already talking about what comes next: 6G.  The concept of 6G is still very much unkown, but experts expect speeds in the range of 1 Tbps. Researchers have already achieved mobile speeds of 1 Tbps during lab trials.

The head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s (MIIT) 5G technology working group, Su Xin, told local media he also expects 6G to deliver improvements across the same three areas as 5G will deliver – improved bandwidth, low latency and wide connection areas.

Su Xin, head of 5G technology working group at China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that China is starting research into 6G concepts this year. The country first started looking into 6G in March, making it one of the first countries to do so.

Su said that the actual development of 6G will officially begin in 2020, but commercial use will most likely have to wait until 2030.

The arrival of 5G has been touted as a big deal. It’s not just because it promises to bring fast mobile internet, it should also enable us to connect with machines – like gadgets, industrial machines and autonomous vehicles.  For those Rip Van Winkle readers, “5G” is the name of the next-generation wireless technology that promises far faster internet access than 4G-LTE.  Experts predict it will begin to take off in 2019, well in advance of the IMT 2020 standard from ITU-R.  So what is 6G supposed to bring that 5G can’t, especially for ordinary folks?

For one thing, it could make mobile internet speeds of 1 TB per second mainstream. This means you could download around 100 films in less than a second. (It’s worth noting that researchers at the University of Surrey in England have already achieved that with 5G… but only inside a lab.)

Of course, 2030 is a long way away, so the actual applications of this technology may be hard to imagine. As Verizon executive Andrea Caldini pointed out at this year’s Mobile World Congress, nobody expected Snapchat while developing 4G – it’s the increased speeds that made it happen.

According to Su, 6G could connect our devices more efficiently than 5G, expanding internet coverage to much wider areas.

“5G has three application scenarios: large bandwidth, low latency, and wide connection – I think 6G can achieve better application in all three scenarios,” Su told local media, noting that 6G could increase transmission rates by more than 10 times. “It may revolutionize the structure of the whole wired and wireless network.”

If this sounds vague to you, it’s because there is still no definition for the technology. And according to industry insiders, it is too early to talk about 6G. It took 5G ten years to develop its set of standards, and despite commercial deployment this year, they are still not fully settled. So is 6G even a thing?

Roberto Saracco, professor at the University of Trento in Italy, believes that 5G is still a fuzzy set of promises that will take time, probably ten years, before being fulfilled. As for the next generation of connectivity, “marketing will need 6G as soon as 5G is deployed,” writes Saracco. Researchers will need a term to mark the novelty of what they are doing or to put technologies that do not fit into 5G standards into another box.

The vagueness of the term has not stopped countries to start looking into the concept. Finland’s University of Oulu launched an 6G research program called 6Genesis. Aside from futuristic phrases like “interoperability sensing based ops” and “intelligent personal edge,” one of the applications mentioned on their site is wireless augmented reality/virtual reality.

It’s worth noting that this might be an application for 5G, judging by Tencent boss Pony Ma’s suggestion that the technology could enable WeChat VR.

The new 6G movement in China could also be a way to rub their tech advancement in other people’s faces. The country is already way ahead of US in deploying 5G, according to Deloitte. Since 2015, China outspent the US by approximately $24 billion in wireless communications infrastructure (with $400 billion more coming) and built 350,000 new cell phone tower sites – while the US is still stuck at less than 30,000.


4 thoughts on “With no 5G standard (IMT 2020) China is working on 6G!

  1. Swiss network operator Sunrise is to replace its copper-based broadband services with a 5G-powered mobile alternative using technology developed by China’s Huawei, CEO Olaf Swantee revealed today.

    The service provider, which competes against Swisscom AG and cable operator UPC Cablecom in the Swiss telecom market, had hinted at the plans in a press release published in June, when it said private customers would potentially be able to use 5G instead of fixed-line ADSL and VDSL services.

    But Swantee went much further during a presentation he gave at Huawei’s Global MBB Forum on Tuesday afternoon, saying the goal was to substitute 5G for those ADSL and VDSL technologies — which deliver residential broadband over last-mile copper connections — in most places.

    Sunrise Communications AG would continue to focus on its all-fiber strategy in more densely populated urban areas, where the operator’s FTTH [fiber-to-the-home] network now covers about 35% of households, and use 5G in suburban and rural areas, said Swantee.

    “We want 5G to replace most of the ADSL and VDSL stuff and at the same time to compete against cable,” he said. “That is what we want to do and we are going to try to do it as fast as we can and with the availability of systems from Huawei.”

    Swantee’s announcement came after Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. claimed to have shipped as many as 10,000 5G base stations to customers in Europe, the Middle East and South Korea, exceeding at least one analyst’s shipment expectations at this stage. (See Huawei Has Shipped 10K 5G Base Stations Outside China.)

    Sunrise said it had put the country’s first 5G antenna into operation in June when it first suggested that 5G could be used to support residential broadband services in Switzerland.

    The Swiss operator is one of a growing number of European telcos that see potential in 5G as an alternative to high-speed fixed lines for residential broadband services.

    British operator Three UK, which similarly counts Huawei as a 5G supplier, recently flagged plans for a 5G-based home broadband service covering most of the country, while Orange Romania has been carrying out 5G broadband trials in Romania. (See Three UK to Go Big on 5G for Home Broadband and Orange Ups 5G Broadband Stakes in Romania.)

    Open Fiber, a state-backed Italian wholesale operator, last week said it was looking into using 5G for broadband in areas it cannot economically cover with fiber-optic networks. (See Italy’s Struggling Wind Tre Eyes 5G Rollout in Late 2019.)

    Swantee told attendees at Huawei’s event that he was focused on the broadband opportunity largely because Swiss regulations would pose a hindrance to other types of 5G deployment.

    “The only other country where antenna regulation is so strict is Belgium and our antennas have regulation that is ten times stricter than what the WHO [World Health Organization] deems acceptable,” he said. “You have to make sure you stay in the strict radiation regulation of Switzerland and in cities, it is even harder because the antennas are more overloaded.”

    He added: “5G for machines would require full nationwide coverage and because of antenna regulation that would take longer. It may be that regulation will change but, in the meantime, we are providing 4G for machines because we have amazing coverage.”

    In its June press release, Sunrise also complained that “rigid administrative and technical implementing provisions and lengthy mobile network approval procedures… [threaten] to delay the introduction of 5G and its related performance enhancements until 2020 and beyond because the existing infrastructure is prevented from being expanded much further, especially in urban areas.”

    In moving away from ADSL and VDSL technology, Sunrise would become less dependent on infrastructure owned by incumbent telco Swisscom, from which it buys wholesale network services.

    Sunrise had nearly 449,000 fixed broadband customers at the end of September when it served more than 2.36 million mobile subscribers. Sales of Internet and TV services totaled 72 million Swiss francs ($72 million) in the recent third quarter, while overall revenues were up 2%, to CHF469 million ($471 million), compared with the year-earlier quarter.

    Swantee was formerly the CEO of EE, a UK joint mobile venture between Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and France’s Orange. He left EE in early 2016 shortly after it was acquired in a landmark £12.5 billion ($16 billion, at today’s exchange rate) deal by UK telecom incumbent BT.


  2. UK and Germany grow wary of Huawei as US turns up pressure-Delegation from Washington warns against using Chinese supplier for 5G networks. US, Australia and New Zealand have already blocked the use of Huawei 5G equipment on national security grounds.

    The UK and Germany are growing wary of allowing Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company, to install 5G equipment in their countries after a US delegation visited Europe to urge heightened vigilance against national security threats.

    UK security officials on Thursday issued a new public warning to Huawei, saying the Chinese company must fix problems in the equipment it provides to British networks or risk a further deterioration in what is an increasingly strained relationship.

    The clear message delivered by the US delegation this month and in online communications is that Germany and the UK as key American allies must safeguard the security of their telecoms networks and supply chains, said people familiar with the situation.

    The warnings come as Germany and the UK are preparing for auctions next year for 5G, a superfast service that will enable a new generation of digital products and services. Huawei is the world’s biggest telecoms equipment supplier and has been seen as a frontrunner to build the first networks in both countries, where it has conducted extensive 5G tests.

    The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of the digital intelligence agency GCHQ, said Huawei must fix problems, highlighted in July, that pose “new risks in UK telecommunications networks”.

    The issues came to a head in a tense meeting between the board set up to scrutinize Huawei equipment and the Chinese company earlier this month, said government officials and telecoms executives.

    “As you might imagine there are some strains in the relationship as we deal with the issues set out in the latest oversight board report,” the spokesperson said. “But we remain committed to working with the company to put it right.”

    Banning Huawei outright from providing 5G equipment to UK providers or removing them from existing telecoms networks remains unlikely, officials said. But the message to the Chinese company is clear.

    “They are slowing down Huawei to allow the rest of the market to catch up,” said one former intelligence official. “If I was part of oversight board or government, I would be putting the boot in right now.”

    UK security officials rejected the suggestion they are hardening their stance in response to growing pressure from the US, insisting the concerns are not based on Huawei’s Chinese origins as a company but on the way the company manufactures software and equipment which makes critical telecoms networks vulnerable to cyber attack.

    A spokesperson for Huawei said: “We are grateful for this feedback and committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority, and we will continue to actively improve our engineering processes and risk management systems.”

    New Zealand this week became the latest country to take action against Huawei, blocking one of its biggest telecoms operators from using Huawei’s 5G equipment. The US and Australia have already blocked the company on national security grounds.

    In Germany, officials said the mood in government was growing increasingly wary of Huawei’s potential involvement in building the country’s 5G network. While it is too early to say if Berlin will ban the Chinese company from participating, concerns in some parts of the government, including the foreign and interior ministries, is deepening, officials said.

    “The US influence on this has really intensified recently,” said one German official, who requested anonymity.

    Cui Haifeng, vice-president of Huawei in west Europe, told the Financial Times in Hamburg that the company was doing everything possible to allay concerns over security. Asked if Germany was set to issue a ban, he said: “So far, I never heard about this kind of thing.”

    “[For] every technology for us at Huawei we always try to put the security and safety as top priorities so all the design, products and services will be safe,” Mr Cui said.

    Raffaello Pantucci, director of international securities studies at UK think-tank RUSI
    “The NCSC has concerns around a range of technical issues and has set out improvements the company must make,” a government spokesperson said. “In the UK, the conversation with regard to China has definitely shifted with the hawks becoming kind of dominant,” Mr Pantucci added.

    The main US concern over Huawei equipment is that the company’s ties to the Chinese government could enable snooping or interference. Huawei has strongly denied such charges.

    More generally, the US is worried about the potential application of China’s National Intelligence Law, approved in 2017, which states that Chinese “organisations and citizens shall . . . support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”. The risk, said US officials, is that this could mean that Chinese companies overseas are called upon to engage in espionage.

    https://www.ft.com/content/6719b6b2-f33d-11e8-9623-d7f9881e729f (on line sub required)

  3. ITU-T Focus Group on Technologies for Network 2030

    The ITU-T Focus Group Technologies for Network 2030 (FG NET-2030) was established by ITU-T Study Group 13 at its meeting in Geneva, 16-27 July 2018.

    The Focus Group, intends to study the capabilities of networks for the year 2030 and beyond, when it is expected to support novel forward-looking scenarios, such as holographic type communications, extremely fast response in critical situations and high-precision communication demands of emerging market verticals. The study aims to answer specific questions on what kinds of network architecture and the enabling mechanisms are suitable for such novel scenarios.
    The study is collectively called ‘Network 2030’. It will be further realized by the exploration of new communication mechanisms from a broad perspective and is not restricted by existing notions of network paradigms or to any particular existing technologies. Network 2030 may be built upon a new or refined network architecture to carry information in a manner that may evolve from, or is quite different from today’s networks. Regardless, Network 2030 based systems shall ensure they remain fully backward compatible, supporting both existing and new applications.

    The FG NET-2030, as a platform to study and advance international networking technologies, will investigate the future network architecture, requirements, use cases, and capabilities of the networks for the year 2030 and beyond.

    The objectives include:

    • To study, review and survey existing technologies, platforms, and standards for identifying the gaps and challenges towards Network 2030, which are not supported by the existing and near future networks like 5G/IMT-2020.
    • To formulate all aspects of Network 2030, including vision, requirements, architecture, novel use cases, evaluation methodology, and so forth.
    • To provide guidelines for standardization roadmap.
    • To establish liaisons and relationships with other SDOs.


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