Numerous 5G networks are still launching around the world, but that isn’t stopping the industry from talking about what’s next with 6G — even if it isn’t quite real yet.
If you’re looking forward to upgrading to 6G, you’ve got quite a bit of waiting ahead. At the IFA conference in Berlin, Samsung said it anticipates the commercial introduction of 6G around the end of 2030, according to Phone Arena. The comments came as part of the company’s broader showcase of its next-generation innovations.
Each generation of cellular technology lasts for about a decade. Verizon jumped in early with 5G at the end of 2018, so the 2030 estimate from Samsung sounds about right. Even before then, you’ll see infrastructure and networking companies talk about the next-generation technology in the preceding years. Once the technology gets shown off, carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T will integrate them into their networks, but it often takes a few years before their customers feel the impact in a real way.
Just as 5G offered a big leap in speed and the ability to manage the network, 6G will likely see significant changes for the next generation of mobile networks. In addition to increased speed, lower latency and precise actions, 6G will better pair with artificial intelligence and XR, or mixed reality, technology. Where 5G networks can only support about 10 or 11 devices per square kilometer, 6G could support over 100 devices at once. This means more people will be able to access 6G networks simultaneously, and more devices around you will be connected.
Nokia Bell Labs president Marcus Weldon says 6G will be like a “sixth sense experience for humans and machines,” RCR Wireless reported in 2019.
In the meantime, mobile carriers are working to make the most of 5G. Verizon recently unveiled multiple improvements to its 5G Home Internet like a new gateway that supports WiFi 6E and Tri-Band for faster internet. AT&T launched its 5G-based Internet Air service in 16 markets last month. Over the summer, T-Mobile said reports from Opensignal measured its overall network and 5G performance, determining that it had the fastest download speeds, best overall consistent quality, best overall live video experience and best 5G availability.