6G, more than a new network: towards the union of the physical, virtual and human worlds

The 5G is rapidly being deployed around the world and brings its share of new features with even more speed, reduced latency times opening up new possibilities (autonomous car, industry 4.0 , fine long-distance piloting, etc.) and an infrastructure that is beginning to become aware of its environment by adapting its capacities in real time according to needs or emergencies.

These elements will be found in 6G, the next generation of mobile technology which will take its first steps by the end of the decade and will be deployed more widely over the years 2026.

She will push these notions further by allowing a fusion between the real world and the digital world to create digital duplicates of physical elements full of a whole set of data provided by multiple sensors and databases. information.

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This fusion of the two worlds could endow the human “superpowers” and analytical capacities going beyond his vision of the physical world by accessing a set of additional information about his ambient environment.

L he OEM Nokia is one of the pioneers preparing for this revolution through its research centers Nokia Bell Labs and talks about this upcoming transformation .

Each aspect introduced with 5G will therefore be improved in 6G, with an intermediate evolution 5G-Advanced which will pave the way towards 2025 (as there was a 4G-Advanced before 5G).

The gr ande thematic of 6G concerns the creation of these digital doubles, or “ Digital Twin “, cities, infrastructures and factories. This trend is starting now with 5G but it will take on a new dimension with the next generation by making it possible to detect and react much more quickly to conditions and phenomena out of the ordinary, whether they are ” an incident or a need to redirect resources on a specific point.

The smartphone will not be forgotten with 6G but voice control and gestures should gradually replace the touch screen, while sensors will be placed in clothing or on the skin to ensure advanced health monitoring.

Nokia 6G

Six themes that will make 6G

For Nokia Bell Labs, 6G will be driven by six major trends:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning : the trend has already started with 4G and 5G but it will continue to grow. ‘amplify with 6G. The huge data silos required for deep learning can be handled thanks to the increased speeds of the new technology. AI will also be at the heart of the optimization and permanent adaptation of networks to ensure the best service.
  • Specter : spectral resources have always been a major issue in the development of cellular networks and growing bandwidth needs only increase demand . In addition to the refarming (re-exploitation) of old tapes with low data transfer but long range, the 6G will be able to use tapes between 7 and 10 GHz in urban environment and sub-THz bands for transfers at more than 20 Gbps. The 5G-Advanced will also provide indoor positioning down to the centimeter, where GPS cannot work.
  • Adaptive network : no more base station which transmits blindly and continuously at full power, the 6G cellular network will be able to perceive its environment , users and objects within reach, until they can identify shapes, calculate speeds or even guess the type of material.
  • Flawless connectivity : 5G inaugurates a low latency high reliability URLLC service, 6G will push it further with lower latencies of the millisecond and reliability of flows provided by multiple transmissions, point-to-point connections and the help of artificial intelligence. There will also be a question of network of networks with the example of the connected car or the industrial robot encased in hundreds of sensors constituting a network in itself that can be optimized and operate wirelessly, eliminating cables, before communicating with a larger network. with different properties.
  • Security and trust : no exchange and no transaction can function without a secure framework and trust mechanisms. 6G will have to respond to these challenges and resist both intrusion and interference attempts, not to mention the notions of respect for privacy in an environment where the real world and the digital world will merge.
  • It remains to identify / finalize the technologies and set up the intellectual property that will create this vision . Nokia estimates that the first 6G systems will be operational by 2030, on a typical cycle of 10 years between generations of cellular communications, with the first phase of standardization from here 2026, within the 3GPP Release 18 .

    The 5G-Advanced will prepare the ground thanks to the 3GPP Release 18 , with commissioning from 100. As a reminder, Nokia is project manager for the Hexa-X program which should put Europe back at the heart of 6G developments.

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