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    Global 6G connections to reach 290m in first two years of service, but MNOs have network interference problems

    Just when you thought that you had got to grips with 5G, the march towards 6G begins. A new study from Juniper Research predicts there will be 290 million connections globally by 2030; the year after its initial expected launch in 2029.

    To achieve this early growth, the report cautions operators must solve various technological challenges, including the issue of network interference arising from the use of high-frequency spectrum.

    This use of high-frequency spectrum in 6G will be the key enabling technology to provide throughput speeds 100 times greater than current 5G networks.

    However, as cellular technologies have never used spectrum bands in this range before, the most pressing concern for operators is minimising this network interference, or risk creating an unreliable 6G network.

    Find out more about the new report: Global 6G Development 2024-2032, or download a free sample.

    RIS identified as key emerging 6G tech

    To achieve this, the report urges operators to invest in RIS (Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces); a technology that will mitigate the impact of interference from large obstacles, including buildings, on network services. This is accomplished by purposefully reflecting and refracting 6G mobile signals to enable data packets to move around physical obstacles.

    As 6G standards become clearer in 2025, RIS technology must become an immediate priority for development. However, the report warns that given the wide geographical areas of some 6G networks, operators must implement AI to monitor and adjust RIS configuration in real-time to maximise the technology’s benefits.

    Research author Alex Webb comments: “Initial 6G coverage will occur in the most densely populated geographical areas to serve as many users as possible. Therefore, RIS technology will be key to providing a valuable 6G service to both consumer and enterprise customers in the first few years of network operation.”

    5G Advanced: the first step towards 6G

    As we reported a few weeks ago, operators are being urged to up their game with deploying 5G Advanced, which evolves 5G to its fullest, richest capabilities, creating a foundation for more demanding applications and a wider range of use cases than ever before with a truly immersive user experience based on extended reality (XR) features. This is widely seen as the first steps towards 6G.

    A separate study by Juniper Research predicts the benefits of 5G Advanced will be instrumental in the growth of IoT sectors, including automotive and mobile broadband. In turn, it forecasts there will be over 360 million 5G IoT devices using public network by 2028; a substantial growth from 35 million devices in 2024.

    It identified FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) as the sector to benefit most from these services, given the large amounts of traffic generated. FWA leverages cellular networks to provide Internet connectivity to other devices, often through Wi-Fi.

    Research co-author Sam Barker comments: “FWA has always been positioned as a key service for 5G network monetisation, but the emergence of 5G Advanced and 5G RedCap will enable operators to offer similar network conditions as fixed network service providers. Operators must leverage their existing billing relationships with consumers to promote their FWA solutions.”

    Look out for Issue #72 of Telemedia Magazine out later this week – and available at Telemedia8.1 LIVE in Barcelona on 25 and 26 February 2024 – where we delve into 5G Advanced and the emergence of 6G.

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