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What Is 6G Technology? | The next generation of mobile wireless communication systems

 6G technology is the next generation of mobile wireless communication systems, envisioned to provide more inclusive and sustainable wireless connectivity. Research to develop 6G technology is well underway. 

What is 6G and what are the new technologies powering 6G for new use cases? Watch an overview and learn how engineers can use MATLAB® to jump-start their research and design for 6G networks and systems.

Learn more:

- What is 6G Technology?:

- 6G design with MATLAB:

When you are ready to get started with 6G, you can accelerate your 6G system design with MATLAB® and its wireless communications tools.

- Leverage open, editable, and customizable algorithms in MATLAB as a starting point for your 6G design.

- Continuously test your designs with the easy custom waveform generation, hardware connectivity, and AI modeling capabilities in MATLAB.

- Simultaneously optimize the digital, RF, and antenna array components of your 6G systems, enabling you to explore multidimensional design space more effectively.

6G Applications:

Although 6G systems requirements are not yet finalized, many experts believe that 6G networks will build upon the success of 5G and 5G-Advanced systems, and enable the following new applications:

- Multisensory extended reality and haptics, supporting different devices, higher data rates, and much lower latency

- Volumetric media streaming and telepresence, enabling volumetric content, 3D data sets, and holographic presence

- Connected industries and automation, supporting industrial IoT and massive machine-type communications in areas such as mechanized agriculture and telemedicine

- Autonomous vehicles and swarm systems, enhancing V2X communications, connected cars, drones, and robots

- Extreme coverage and connecting the unconnected, bridging the “digital divide” and connecting people in remote, rural, and underserved areas using non-terrestrial networks (NTN) with satellite communications 

- Ultra-low power and zero energy, harvesting energy directly from radio waves and substantially reducing power use in wireless systems

Key Enabling Technologies for 6G:

Although the exact specifications of 6G systems are not yet defined, experts believe that the following enabling technologies are responsible for the introduction of new applications and capabilities:

- New frequencies including sub-THz communication

- Artificial intelligence and machine learning

- Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS)

- Joint communication and sensing

- New digital waveforms

New Frequencies Including Sub-THz Communication:

The use of new frequencies in range (from 7–24 GHz) and sub-THz range (larger than 100 GHz) will most likely be part of the 6G communications systems. This in turn will enable new spectrum management methodologies and deliver performance gains in data rate and speed, augmenting 6G network capacity and transmission bandwidths while reducing network interference.

Joint Communication and Sensing:

6G will take advantage of the integration of localization and sensing functions of a wireless network with its communication function. This will particularly improve performance in indoor communications scenarios by acquiring and sending better information about the indoor space, range, barriers, and positioning to the network. Also, by introducing new frequencies in the sub-THz spectrum, 6G systems may pave the way for very accurate sensing by leveraging radar-like technologies.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:

Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques are already included in 5G-Advanced systems. This trend is likely to continue with 6G networks using data-driven AI methodologies to better configure, optimize, and self-organize. The 6G wireless communication standard will support AI-based air interfaces to improve functions such as joint compression and coding, beamforming, channel state information (CSI) compression, and positioning.

Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces:

6G research may also tap into potentials of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS), allowing us to control the propagation of signals between a transmitter and a receiver dynamically and programmatically. The technology enables us to reflect and actively steer incoming signals off surfaces by changing the electric and magnetic properties of their material.

6G Modeling and Simulation with MATLAB:

List of capability areas for MATLAB and wireless communications products: waveform exploration, scaling to large simulations, AI for wireless, mmWave propagation and loss channel models, mmWave RF component modeling, non-terrestrial networks, and RF sensing.

MATLAB supports the range of design challenges in the 6G wireless communications workflow.

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