In Japan, commercial services for the 5th generation mobile communication system (5G) started in March 2020. As of 2021, interest in the next generation “6th generation mobile communication system (6G)” is increasing all over the world. Therefore, in this special issue, we will explain in detail the evolution of mobile communication systems up to 6G, 6G standardization schedules, requirements and use cases, and elemental technologies.
NTT DoCoMo lists six items as requirements that should be achieved with 6G. In addition to the requirements for further enhancing the performance of 5G, these include challenges in new areas that 5G does not have. Let’s explain each of them with possible use cases.
Requirements for wireless technology aimed at 6G Created based on NTT DoCoMo’s materials [Click the image to enlarge]
Ultra-high-speed, large-capacity communication: Aim for 100 Gbps or higher
Higher communication speeds and larger capacity communication systems are universal requirements for all generations of mobile communication systems. With 6G, we aim to achieve communication speeds of over 100 Gbit / s and ultra-large capacities of 100 times or more.
Image of ultra-high-speed, large-capacity communication (Source: NTT DoCoMo) [Click the image to enlarge]
There are six requirements for “6G”, what is amazing compared to 5G
As the communication speed approaches the level of the information processing speed of the human brain, not only video transmission (visual / auditory) but also information transmission of the five senses of reality, as well as senses such as atmosphere and sense of security, are included. Realization of “feeling communication” is also conceivable.
To use such an unprecedented communication service, a user interface that surpasses that of today’s smartphones is required. For example, the evolution of devices that realize the reproduction of 3D holograms and wearable terminals such as eyeglass-type terminals is expected.
Furthermore, such a multi-sensitive communication service can be shared in real time among multiple users by ultra-large capacity communication. Therefore, it is expected that new synchronized applications such as collaborative work in cyberspace will be realized.
In addition, in order to realize “cyber-physical fusion”, it is necessary to transmit various information in the real world to the cloud and AI, which are the “brain” on the network, in real time. Capacity increase is important. Cyber-physical fusion is the idea of computerizing elements such as people and things in the actual physical space, which are useful for prediction and feedback to the physical space. It has already been applied to the industrial field such as “digital twin”.
Super coverage expansion: Expand service area to the limit
Currently, communication is a lifeline like electricity and water. It will become more and more important in the future. For this reason, 6G aims to expand the service area to the utmost so that mobile communication services can be received anywhere.
Image of super coverage extension (Source: NTT DoCoMo) [Click the image to enlarge]
The target area coverage on land is 100%. Furthermore, we aim to expand coverage to all locations including the sky, sea, and space, which are not covered by the current mobile communication system.
By doing this, we can expect further expansion of the activity environment for people and goods, and the creation of new industries. For example, drone home delivery and unmanned and sophisticated primary industries such as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are promising. In the future, it can be expected to be applied to future use cases in the 2030s, such as flying cars, space travel, and underwater travel.