Let’s dream about what generations of cellular communication will be like after 5G

5G has just started to develop in some countries, and its main advantages are higher data transfer speed and larger network capacity, which is important given the development of IoT devices.

They have much higher frequencies (up to a couple of tens of gigahertz) than 2G, 3G and 4G, and this has forced operators to rethink the principles of deploying 5G networks. The reason is that a higher carrier frequency allows more data to be transmitted per unit of time, but at the same time the signal decays much faster, and now the base stations have to be located much closer to each other.

And although 5G has just begun its development, and it is obvious that the new generation will constantly develop and improve, engineers are already thinking about 6G. The simplest idea that can be used is to continue to increase the frequency, and thereby automatically increase the data transfer rate. But where will this take us? How will 7G and 8G be arranged in this case? And at what point will this extrapolation to future generations of wireless networks no longer make physical sense?

Of course, you should not consider the information below even as an assumption. This is just a description of what communication will look like at higher frequencies. Of course, future generations of cellular communications will strive to increase network capacity and speed, but researchers will develop and improve new methods to get more benefit from the same frequencies.

For example, there is already a frequency aggregation technology that allows advanced smartphones to use several LTE bands at once and receive speeds of several hundred megabits per second. Who knows what will happen in the future – perhaps AI will “steer” the frequency spectrum, or they will come up with a radically new way of transmitting data. Well, we will consider only pure physics: increasing the frequency.

6G – terahertz waves

Each new generation of cellular communications has been developed for many years, and scientists are already offering ideas for the implementation of 6G. Many are inclined to believe that this standard will correct the shortcomings of 5G and provide improvements on a quantitative level. So, for example, 1G opened mobile telephony for us, and 2G improved it and corrected its shortcomings.

5G will give us a full internet of things and wireless AR/VR, while 6G is supposed to give us faster speeds and possibly Wi-Fi integration.

This is an order of magnitude higher than the operating frequencies of 5G, which leads to certain problems: if for millimeter waves of the fifth generation of mobile communications it is necessary to place transmitters every 150 meters, then 6G will reduce this distance to 10 meters. In other words, 6G towers will be poked like routers in apartments, potentially leading to the disappearance of Wi-Fi.

But, on the other hand, this will increase speeds up to a thousand times: up to 1 terabit per second. To understand this value – you will download with the help of 6G Avengers: Endgame in 4K in just 7.7 seconds.

By the way, opponents of 5G, who believe that radiation from towers is killing us, will be happy: terahertz waves are almost completely stopped by the upper layers of the skin, so they do not have any negative effect on the human body.

7G – ultraviolet

We encounter UV radiation every day when we are in the sun. In the solarium there are just such lamps.

But, it is quite possible that when 6G becomes active (and this is most likely the end of the 2020s and the beginning of the 2030s), 4K will already be an obsolete standard, and 8K with increased frame rates and in 3D will actively develop. So, over 6G with just a terabit per second, you will again have to download such films for tens of minutes or even an hour – a mess, so we continue to develop mobile communications.

Next in line is visible light, with frequencies ranging from 400 to 750 THz. Obviously, not the best candidate for the transfer of information, since in this case, the exchange of data in the literal sense of the word will prevent us from seeing. Therefore, we go further, towards ultraviolet radiation.

Remember all the same opponents of 5G? Here they will rejoice: if all generations up to 6G are non-ionizing, that is, their worries are groundless, 7G will still be ionizing. After all, we sunbathe in the sun thanks to ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, each cell tower in this regard will be like a miniature Sun, and active smartphone users will be black from a tan at best, and at worst, the number of skin cancer patients will seriously increase.

However, it is quite possible that in this communication standard the towers will not send signals in different directions, but will form a beam to the device. On the one hand, this will seriously reduce the range (only line of sight), on the other hand, users will not be irradiated for nothing.

As for speeds, these are already tens of petabits per second. All the same Avengers: Endgame in 4K will download in just 400 milliseconds.

8G – X-ray

I think that many readers have met with X-ray radiation in the hospital, so there is no point in describing it.

Remember the “x-ray” mobile apps that let you undress people when you point the camera at them?  Further ultraviolet will be followed by X-rays, that is, waves with frequencies from 2 petahertz to 60 exahertz (in these numbers from 15 to 19 zeros) and lengths from 0.005 to 100 nm.

And in this case, the dissemination of information using a beam will not help – you will have to put on a protective suit so as not to get skin burns, radiation sickness or cancer. Given the fact that many people are already “living” on the Internet, I would not be too surprised if in a couple of decades the majority of users will actually agree to wear protective clothing, just to get faster access to the network.

As for the speeds, they will seem fantastic to you: hundreds of exabits per second, the download time of the Avengers in 4K (if then, of course, someone else will watch and distribute them in such low quality) – 25 nanoseconds.