6G announcement follows major 5G network launch
China has officially started researching 6G technology a few days after state-run telecom operators launched 5G networks in the country.
According to reports by Chinese state media, government ministries and research institutes met this week with the aim of establishing a national 6G technology research and development group.
The Ministry of Science and Technology said that it will set up two working groups to carry out the 6G research activities.
One group will consist of relevant government departments responsible for promoting how 6G research and development will be carried out. The other group will be made up of 37 universities, research institutes and companies, which will exclusively focus on the technical side of 6G technologies.
However, the Chinese government considered that there is still a long way until 6G technology can be defined. Vice Minister Wang Xi of the Ministry of Science and Technology said: “The initial stage and the technical route [of 6G] is still not clear, and the key indicators and application scenarios have not been standardized and defined.”
According to a recent report by the CNBC, Chinese vendor Huawei has already begun research on future 6G technology.
Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei told a CNBC-hosted panel that the company began to carry out research activities on 6G “a long time ago,” and has parallel work being done on 5G and 6G — but that it’s in an “early phase”.
Ren also said that there’s still “a long way to go” before commercialization of 6G, which according to the executive is still “ten years out.”
Huawei has started research on future 6G mobile technology at its research facility in Ottawa, Canada, tech site The Logic recently reported.
Also, ZTE’s Chief Scientist Xiang Jiying told reporters at this year’s MWC Barcelona that the Chinese vendor was already researching on future 6G technologies. “We have a research group focusing on that. This group is called advanced technologies, which would be those technologies beyond 5G,” the executive said.
In the advanced technology research group, a total of 100-200 researchers are currently working to identify new technologies.
Earlier this month, the University of Oulu, in Finland, published what is claimed to be the world’s first 6G whitepaper, outlining the key drivers, research requirements and challenges for this technology.
The report outlines a tentative roadmap towards ‘ubiquitous wireless intelligence’ for 2030. “The bottom line of 6G is data,” said Matti Latva-aho, director of 6G Flagship at the University of Oulu and co-editor of the whitepaper. “The way in which data is collected, processed, transmitted and consumed within the wireless network should drive 6G development.”
“6G needs a network with embedded trust. 6G network should provide proper mitigation and protection from attacks. 6G will create data markets where privacy protection together with clear rules for the market will be key enablers. 6G needs an upgraded networking paradigm moving from best effort to differentiated service quality,” the whitepaper stated.
The whitepaper also postulates that 6G will become a framework of services, including communication services: “In 6G, all user-specific computation and intelligence may move to the edge cloud. Integration of sensing, imaging and highly accurate positioning capabilities with mobility opens a myriad of new applications in 6G. Trust and privacy are key prerequisites for a successful 6G service platform.”