While there are still many doubts about 5G technology for mobile devices and its implementation is in its early stages for the general public, it is necessary to think further. The Chinese started ahead with the development of the so-called 6G and many analysts and engineers are already debating what could be or even come to 7G.
A report published by Ericsson reveals that there will be 220 million 5G network users in the world by the end of this year. It seems a very impressive number and a strong indication that the technology is finally becoming a reality, but it is important to note that about 80% of those users who will already have access to the resource are located in China, which has been investing heavily in telecommunications infrastructure, and long-standing IT. Still, even that volume of users is a fraction of the country’s total population, let alone the planet.
It is estimated that 2021 will end with only 4% of the population of the United States with access to 5G and about 1% of the population of Europe. In emerging countries, these numbers drop even more drastically. Still, there is optimism in the adoption of 5G technology. The survey also predicts that 5G networks are expected to reach 3.5 billion mobile subscribers by 2026 and account for half of all data traffic in the world.
6G means the planned successor to 5G that is likely to be significantly faster, reaching speeds of ~ 95 Gbit / s, at even higher frequencies than before in the terahertz range. The consensus is that its commercial implementation should not begin until 2030. However, for infrastructure and technology to be available in ten years, the time to start feasibility testing is now. And China, once again, is determined to win this race.
With 5G winning the market once and for all in 2026 and 6G expected to start its applicability in 2030, it would be extremely premature to talk about 7G and any company, page, YouTube channel that is promoting this technology for short is selling cat in a poke.
People are faced with propagation problems and they are forced to increase the wireless power (something that is not allowed by regulators and would decrease battery time) or make cells smaller. The latter is what needs to happen. The problem with smaller cells is that they need to increase the investment at the edges. The number of antennas required by, assuming they want to deliver the 5G capacity potential and cover the same area, is ten times that of the 4G network: this means a huge investment in infrastructure (in antennas, drop in optical fiber and space rental).
The most plausible conjecture at the moment is that the 6G will be a fusion of the 5G network with a satellite system (which would explain the Chinese launch), while the latest 7G technology would come precisely to account for the transmission of the signal in space, between the satellites that are part of the network, without necessarily having a direct application for the consumer on the planet’s surface.