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With many still asking when 5G is coming, reports have emerged that Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, is already deep into research on 6G mobile technology. 

Researchers are now working on 6G technology in Huawei’s Ottawa Research & Development Center, according to reports.

Some say Huawei is in quiet talks with Canadian university researchers about a possible collaboration on next-generation wireless systems. 

Now, in case you aren’t up to speed, people use the term 6G to tag the world’s “sixth-generation mobile” wireless internet network. The system will succeed the still-forthcoming mobile network, 5G.

Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, is already deep into research on 6G mobile technology.
Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, is already deep into research on 6G mobile technology, according to reports. (Photo Illustration: Olas Vethen/Pexels)

A Faster Network Coming Along …Slowly

This is unfamiliar territory for many people. But the term 6G gets instant recognition from tech enthusiasts everywhere, which shows attentive anticipation is already building.

This excitement over 6G is remarkable since 5G is still in the pipeline for most of the world. Neither 5G networks nor 5G phones are available everywhere just yet, and release dates vary for every carrier. 

The ripe, buzzing, and voluptuous fruit of 5G promise, however, hangs tantalizingly low. 

The technology guarantees impressive advances over the performance of the 4G networks most smartphones currently use.  Experts say 5G could be 10 to 100 times faster!

In tests with US service provider Verizon, smartphones on 5G networks gained peak download speeds of 1.45 gigabits per second!

Technology website CNET reports that using a 5G network could also mean instantaneous connections to any link you click. You’ll never have to watch that rolling circle again!

Trumped by Trump?

The snags, however, are everywhere. In Australia, the roll out of 5G technology has been slow. Only Telstra and Optus provide 5G services.

India, Thailand, and a few other countries have allowed Huawei to run 5G trials, despite the US ban on the company.  

Huawei has, of course, become a fulcrum in US President Donald Trump’s wider trade war with China.  

The issue is intriguing, rife as it is with rumors of espionage and undetonated hostilities that predate the Trump administration.

Huawei Canada R&D Center
Researchers are working on 6G technology in Huawei’s Ottawa Research & Development Center, according to reports. (Photo: Raysonho/Wikimedia Commons)

Huawei has come out on the losing end in this instance. The company has been restricted from participating in 5G tests in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, among others.  

The company nonetheless says it has gained 50 5G commercial contracts – and claims it has already shipped more than 150,000 base stations.  

People in the know say Huawei plans to ship 500,000 5G base stations worldwide this year.

“5G is very new, and looking at 6G is part of the so-called 5G evolution,” says Song Zhang, Huawei’s vice-president for research strategy and partnership in Canada.

“Through Your Brains!”

Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam of the University of Sydney expects much, much more from 6G wireless networks. In fact, the wireless communications expert believes 6G will be an entirely new step in the evolution of information technology. 

In theory, 6G networks may give users speeds of 1 terabyte per second, or 8,000 gigabits per second.

This means you’d be able to download 142 Netflix videos at the highest quality every second!

Given the 6G network’s potential capacity, Shirvanimoghaddam says 6G devices will rely on cloud services with higher network bandwidths.

Once fully realized, 6G networks will permit enough throughput for us to use devices “through our brains,” says Shirvanimoghaddam.

Premature?

Some say Huawei’s explorations into 6G technology might be premature. Shirvanimoghaddam believes otherwise.

The technology expert says the creation of 6G networks will require adjunct advances in material science, computing architecture, chip design, and energy use. 

Building the infrastructure will require time.

“We have to think about sustainable ways to power all of these [6G-connected] devices otherwise we are going to burn the Earth,” Shirvanimoghaddam tells ABC News.

Still, tech lovers around the world are already giddy with anticipation. The worldwide web is brimming with news of something that is still very much on the drawing board! 

Some would take this as proof that people are placing their bets on technology – despite the snags, despite the trade war, despite everything. 

Are you ready for 6G?