6G wireless? Samsung is already outlining its plans

Connected machines and digital twins will help drive 6G networks, Samsung says.

Industry 4.0 / Industrial IoT / Smart Factory / automation
Jiraroj Praditcharoenkul / Getty Images

Samsung has started to publicize its direction for 6G, the next generation of wireless networks likely to supercede 5G sometime in the next decade. The company joins Nokia and a few other organizations that are exploring the upgrade.

Connected machines and artificial intelligence will feature prominently in future use-cases, as will digital twins, hi-fi mobile holograms and immersive extended reality (XR), the company says in a white paper.

6G features will include better spectral and energy efficiency and a requirement for trustworthiness that, “addresses the security and privacy issues arising from the widespread use of user data and AI technologies,” Samsung says in an associated news release.

Faster data rates

From a technology standpoint, Samsung says it will be aiming for peak data rates of 1Tbps and latency less than 100 microsec, "fifty times the peak data rate and one-tenth the latency of 5G." 6G will use terahertz frequencies, which are well above microwave and millimeter wave, along with optimized antennas. Spectrum sharing enhancements and more sophisticated duplexing will be used to better utilize wireless frequencies, Samsung says.

Reliability also is mentioned as a focus. But it’s the projected megatrends that Samsung says will propel 6G that are most interesting.

6G will connect machines

While legacy products like voice may still be a feature, it will be vehicles, robots, construction machinery and factory equipment that will become prime “connected machine” users. “Smart sensors installed in various infrastructures” will be a part of that, Samsung says.

In terms of new use-cases, Samsung thinks that a combination of virtual reality, artificial reality and mixed reality called XR will be set in motion by 6G. Roadblocks to XR include hardware limitations, in particular processing power, and battery performance, but also wireless capacity. Samsung thinks 6G will solve these issues. An example: AR alone needs 55.3 Mbit/sec to support 8K displays, Samsung says, and XR needs even more.

With enough bandwidth, holograms could display gestures and facial expressions in real time, but with a peak data rate of 20Gbps, 5G is too slow, Samsung says. Holograms of 19.1 gigapixels, for example, require 1Tbps throughput, which would be Samsung 6G's top speed.

Digital twins, too, could enter mainstream usage with 6G, Samsung says. Industrial uses could include detecting problems in sensors remotely. “A user could physically move within a remote site by controlling a robot in that space entirely via real-time interactions with a digital-twin representation of that remote site,” Samsung says.

“Increasingly, machines will need to be connected by means of wireless communications,” Samsung says.

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