- Telecommunication experts expect 6G will launch in 2030, but the technology is still in its research stage.
- After billions of dollars in investment, return on the 5G effort is still low.
- Could 6G turn out to be a sensor used to detect all objects moving through a space?
6G technology could be ready to roll out as soon as 2030. Of course, we don’t have much of a clue as to what 6G will even be. And we’ve been struggling to achieve widespread adoption of 5G since its 2019 launch.
Still, though—6G in 2030. Yippee.
According to a CNBC report, telecommunication and technology firms say they’re starting to weigh the parameters of 6G, and the new technology could have far-reaching impact on more than just cellular networks.
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The industry must still establish standards for 6G, so there’s no clear understanding of what the technology really is. Experts believe advances could enhance cybersecurity in mobile networks or bring additional artificial intelligence know-how to the everyday user. Pekka Lundmark, Nokia CEO, tells CNBC that there’s even the chance 6G will turn into “one big, large sensor” to track the size, speed, and direction of moving objects, ideal in manufacturing or driverless vehicles.
Hey, why not keep moving toward a Jetsons-like flying-vehicles path?
But before we get to 6G, there’s still the issue of 5G, which may see an upgrade into “5G advanced” between now and the next big leap.
Current 5G technology boasts high bandwidth and low latency (an ability to handle a large volume of data without delay), but CNBC says data from Strategy Analytics shows only one in seven people use a 5G-enabled smartphone. The initial 5G launch in 2019 still hasn’t returned the hundreds of billions of dollars companies poured into it to make it a reality. With a burgeoning network of 5G technology across the globe, telecommunication companies hope its adoption becomes more universal, and that more consumers find value in connecting to the network.
One expert tells CNBC that because 5G isn’t even in a full deployment, we should focus on that technology before we start thinking about 6G.
“We as an industry need to stop confusing customers by talking to them about Gs because the next thing you’ll ask me is when is 6G coming? I don’t see any use cases today that we can’t do with 5G or its immediate evolutions,” Howard Watson, BT’s technology chief, tells CNBC. “I do not want to be confusing consumers and enterprises with, wait for this new thing called 6G.”
Still, 5G is here and 6G will eventually come. What it all means, however, we still aren’t exactly sure.
Tim Newcomb is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. He covers stadiums, sneakers, gear, infrastructure, and more for a variety of publications, including Popular Mechanics. His favorite interviews have included sit-downs with Roger Federer in Switzerland, Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, and Tinker Hatfield in Portland.