Bell Labs researching 90 GHz for future 6G
Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs and the vendor’s chief technology officer, made clear in a presentation at the Brooklyn 5G Summit that 6G–“beyond 5G” if you prefer, will likely follow previous generations of cellular with a 15-year development timeline.
Speaking of 5G, Weldon said, “What we’ve done now is solved for the three dimensions of capacity, but we’ve added in reliability and latency. You can think of 5G as a nine-dimensional innovation fabric. That’s really why it’s profoundly important. It’s not about consumers interacting with Siri, Alex, Google. It’s about industrials and robots interacting with control systems.”
So how does 6G build on that–think of an augmented reality overlay of everything you do, Weldon said. “What it really comes down to is mixing the physical world…the digital world–software systems, AI systems, and biological systems. You mix those together in real time. I have a permanent AR overlay.” He described his vision for 6G as almost a “sixth sense experience for humans and machines.”
Commenting on 90 GHz and higher terahertz frequencies, he said you go beyond the ability to connect to the ability to “see” using backscatter signals and spectroscopic imaging. “That’s sort of how we’re beginning to think of beyond 5G. It’s a 15-year journey but the research starts today.”
U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to open up frequencies from 95 GHz to 3 THz for potential use in mobile communications. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the move to open up 21 gigahertz of Terahertz spectrum for unlicensed use “groundbreaking,” and added, “This will give innovators strong incentives to develop new technologies using these airwaves while also protecting existing uses.”
Ted Rappaport, the founder of NYU Wireless, which hosts the Brooklyn 5G Summit, shared his thoughts with the FCC prior to its March 15 vote.
Rappaport laid out five use cases and attendant applications:
- Wireless cognition: Robotic control and drone fleet control;
- Sensing: Air quality detection, personal health monitoring, gesture detection and touchless smartphones, explosive detection and gas sensing;
- Imaging: See in the dark, HD resolution video radar, terahertz security body scanning;
- Communication: Wireless fiber backhaul, intra-device radio communication, connectivity in data centers, information shower;
- Centimeter-level positioning.
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