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6G Networks Start to Take Shape

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Paul Korzeniowski's picture
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Many utilities are now deploying 5G networks, which support mobile workforce computing. But already work has begun on the next iteration, 6G networks, which promise to add more bandwidth and capabilities to utilities’ wireless remote networking options.  

5G networks have been in use since 2019. One billion people had access to them globally by the end of 2020. Within five years, four in ten network connections will be 5G.  The networking option was geared to remote computing.

The 6G Promise

So, what will 6G offer? The most obvious difference is more speed. 6G will use more advanced radio equipment and have a greater volume and diversity of airwaves than 5G. It uses the Extreme High Frequency (EHF) spectrum that delivers ultra-high speeds and huge capacity over short distances.

A typical progression occurs with each wireless WAN. For instance, 4G networks operated at megabit speeds, 5G pushed the network to gigabits network, and 6G delivers terabit speeds.

Broader coverage is another 6G benefit. Its satellite technology and intelligent surface capability are expected to deliver low latency, high connectivity to areas where it has been too difficult or too expensive to reach previously. For utilities, the technology may fit with remote work crews, who often operate in areas where traditional networks wiring has been challenging to deploy.

5G began taking advantage of recent artificial intelligence advances. The technology helped to optimize network performance, dynamically allocate resources, process data, and deliver extreme-low latency of less than one millisecond, which can be helpful as work crews repair complex, remote devices.

A New Renewable Energy Foundation?

6G is expected to build on those features and advance the technology one step closer to the human brain’s processing. The nascent network is expected to help utilities extract valuable information from new data sources, so they make real-time operational decisions. It is expected to play a key role in helping energy companies transition from their tradition reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

6G will also be more efficient than its predecessor and consume less power. Energy efficiency is critical for a more sustainable mobile industry because of the anticipated growth in data generation and processing.

However, the transition to this new network architecture will take time and effort. The building blocks are just now being created and widespread deployments are not expected in the short term. In the interim, energy companies need to be aware of the development and understand how it may impact their mobile workforce operations.

Mobile networks have become a key piece of energy company operations, especially for their remote workers. Many utilities have been putting 5G networks in place. As this transformation takes place, a new foundation, 6G networks, is taking shape and promises to deliver more bandwidth to mobile workers and features that better support renewable energy.

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