By Omobayo Azeez
While Nigeria continues to dilly dally on commercial rollout of the fifth generation Internet technology (5G), the race to the sixth generation Internet technology (6G) has commenced.
Electronic manufacturer and telecoms technology company, Samsung, seem to be leading the charge to a new internet era as it revealed that by 2028, its 6G technology would be ready for deployment.
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About 45 countries around the world are already walking the 5G talk, while the Nigerian telecoms market is yet to join the league despite successful 5G trials already carried out in the country since 2019.
Although the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently solicited contributions from stakeholders to develop a policy framework on how 5G would run in Nigeria, the pace at which it is trying to get the technology up and running has been considered sluggish.
Meanwhile, the process has been further stifled by Nigerian Senate, which on May 5 ordered federal government agencies working on deployment of the technology to suspend every activity around it until it (the Senate) could guarantee the safety of the technology for Nigerians.
This was despite efforts by the ministry of communications and digital economy, the NCC, pressure groups and stakeholders’ body in the industry to amplify separate conclusions already made by global bodies such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the GSM Association (GSMA) and the World Health Organisation that 5G technology is in any way not harmful.
While exonerating 5G, experts said generally, Quality of Experience (QoE) by users of telecoms will improve significantly with 5G just as there had been improvements in speed and user experience from the evolutionary shift from 1G, 2G, 3G and current 4G in the country.
According to GSMA’s Policy Position on 5G spectrum, “5G is expected to support significantly faster mobile broadband speeds and lower latencies than previous generations, while also enabling the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT).”
Building on this fact, the new 6G that is now in the making is expected to perform wonders in the world of virtual reality, IoT, robotics, augmented reality among others.
As the race begins, Samsung projected that while its earliest commercialization date could be as early as 2028, it is working to realize mass commercialization by 2030.
On July 14, the tech company released a white paper entitled “The Next Hyper-Connected Experience for All”, outlining its vision for the next generation communication system, namely 6G.
The white paper covers various aspects related to 6G, including technical and societal megatrends, new services, requirements, candidate technologies and an expected timeline of standardization.
Samsung’s vision for 6G is to bring the next hyper-connected experience to every corner of life, according to the paper.
To accelerate research for 6G, Samsung Research, the advanced R&D hub within Samsung Electronics’ SET Business, founded its Advanced Communications Research Center in May of last year.
Sunghyun Choi, the head of the research centre, noted that while 5G commercialization is still in its initial stage, it’s never too early to start preparing for 6G because it typically takes around 10 years from the start of research to commercialization of a new generation of communications technology.
“We’ve already launched the research and development of 6G technologies by building upon the experience and ability we have accumulated from working on multiple generations of communications technology, including 5G.
“Going forward, we are committed to leading the standardization of 6G in collaboration with various stakeholders across industry, academia and government fields,” Choi said.
Both humans and machines will be the main users of 6G, and 6G will be characterized by provision of advanced services such as truly immersive extended reality (XR), high-fidelity mobile hologram and digital replica.
Whereas 5G requirements mainly focused on performance aspects, Samsung defines three categories of requirements that have to be met to realize 6G services – performance, architectural and trustworthiness requirements.
Examples of 6G performance requirements are a peak data rate of 1,000 Gbps (gigabits per second) and air latency less than 100 microseconds (μs), 50 times the peak data rate and one-tenth the latency of 5G.
The architectural requirements of 6G, according to Samsung, include resolving the issues arising from the limited computation capability of mobile devices as well as implementing AI right from the initial phase of technology development and enabling the flexible integration of new network entities.