5G commercial has come, how far is 6G and “terahertz era”

On October 31, 2019, the three major operators announced the 5G commercial package, and on November 1st, the 5G commercial package was officially launched, marking the official entry of China into the 5G commercial era. As an extension of 5G technology, the sixth generation of mobile communication technology 6G has gradually become the focus of the industry. On November 3, 2019, China announced the establishment of the National 6G Technology Research and Development Promotion Working Group and the General Group of Experts, marking the official launch of China’s 6G technology research and development.

Historically, mobile communication systems have been updated about every decade. 2019 is the year of 5G commercial, the industry generally believes that 6G commercial will be achieved around 2030.

It is understood that 6G mobile communications will be connected to a large number of wireless terminals, on the basis of 5G performance to improve more than 10 times, therefore, peak rate demand will reach more than 100Gbit/s or even Tbit. The 6G will officially enter the terahertz (THz) era, into the 0.1THz-3THz band transmission. Terahertz communication, with its extra-large available bandwidth and ultra-high-speed transmission capability comparable to optical fiber, is considered one of the key technologies for the next 6G.

Dr. Yu Xianbin, head of the Terahertz Communications Project at Jiangjiang Laboratory, told reporters at the question-and-answer forum that 6G will have the characteristics of ‘broadband, universal, intelligent’ and so on, and will be a multi-network integration, a combination of various information service functions, ultra-secure ultra-reliable, highly intelligent ultra-high-speed wireless access network.

In addition to the faster network experience, 6G may also bring many new changes to people’s lives, work, study, and even give birth to many new industries, such as VR/AR/MR technology to replace today’s smartphones, remote holographic technology is widely used in distance education, telemedicine, telecommuting and other fields, networking self-driving has become the main way people travel and so on.

At present, China has carried out research on the potential related direction of 6G such as terahertz communication technology, intelligent network and large-scale wireless access technology, and has made some preliminary research results in high-speed terahertz communication. For example, in 2014, the China Institute of Technology based on electronic solid-state devices in 340GHz has achieved 3Gbit/s rate of 50m communication transmission, in 2016 Zhejiang University based on photoelectric mode in the 400GH band to achieve the first ultra-100Gbit/s indoor communication transmission, these are the international first generation of terahertz communication system representative results.

“2019 is the first year of 6G research and development, China’s research and development of 6G technology has also been laid out, in general, the global research of 6G technology is still in the initial stage of exploration. Yu said.

As one of the key technologies of 6G, terahertz technology, in addition to communication, terahertz imaging technology and terahertz spectrometry technology are also the two main directions of terahertz applications. For example, in the area of security detection, with the help of terahertz’s wall-through perspective capability, three-dimensional imaging of objects behind the wall can be used to detect concealed weapons, armed personnel, etc. For example, many organic macromolecules, explosives, etc. on the terahertz wave shows a strong absorption and dispersion characteristics, the use of terahertz wave’s unique spectral characteristics can be biological detection and detection of dangerous explosive items.

Yu Xianbin believes that the current 6G application of the biggest bottleneck is ultra-high rate, ultra-low latency, ultra-high reliability, as well as high-frequency signal transmission distance is short, the base station density demand is high.