Authored by Ms. Chandrika Behl, Managing Director, Exhibitions India Group
The demand for faster, more reliable, and sustainable communication networks is on the rise in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected. Large-scale adoption of the 5G technology has already transformed the communications industry and, as a domino effect, the telecom sector. With the advent of 6G, the future holds greater promise as the technology could be vital towards building a more sustainable and connected world.
What is 6G, and how is it superior to 5G?
By providing faster connectivity speeds, ultra-low latency and greater bandwidth, 5G is creating new business opportunities, and transforming industries. Services that seemed futuristic, such as e-health, connected vehicles and traffic systems, and advanced mobile cloud gaming, are enhancing people’s day-to-day experiences. Building on the 5G, the sixth generation (6G) telecom network will use higher frequencies to provide substantially higher capacity and much lower latency with speeds almost 100 times faster than 5G.
India gears up for 6G
6G is already being experimented with across Europe, the US, and Asian nations, such as China, Japan and South Korea. Integrating the medium and low orbit satellite network with the ground 5G network is essential for greater technology adoption. India already boasts of an impressive space programme but is still in the process of rolling out 5G. In March 2023, India released the “Bharat 6G Vision” document that envisages the country as a frontline contributor in developing and deploying 6G technology by 2030. Bharat 6G Vision is based on principles of ‘Affordability, Sustainability and Ubiquity’ to place India as a leading supplier of advanced telecom technologies and affordable solutions that contribute to the global good. The Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) under the Ministry of Communications is spearheading the standardisation work for 6G.
Meanwhile, the Government of India announced the formation of the Bharat 6G Alliance (B6GA) in July 2023. This collaborative platform comprises public and private companies, academia, research institutions, and standards development organisations. The primary objective is to understand the business and societal needs of 6G beyond technology requirements to promote high-impact R&D initiatives. The Alliance will bring together Indian startups, companies, and the manufacturing ecosystem to establish a consortium to drive the design, development, and deployment of 6G technologies. The objective is to push for patent creation in line with international standards to position India at the forefront of 6G innovation, besides facilitating domestic telecom technology products and services to have greater access to overseas markets.
The Future with 6G Technology
Unprecedented Speed and Bandwidth - 6G will offer unprecedented data speeds and bandwidth, making it possible to transmit and receive vast amounts of information in real-time. This enhanced capability is crucial for applications such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT), opening up new possibilities for innovation and efficiency.
Low Latency for Instantaneous Communication - One of the critical features of 6G is ultra-low latency, ensuring almost instantaneous communication between devices. This is particularly important for applications like autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, and critical infrastructure management, where real-time responsiveness is essential for safety and reliability.
Energy Efficiency and Sustainability - Building on the lessons learned from previous generations, 6G aims to be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. By optimising the use of resources and minimising energy consumption, 6G can play a significant role in reducing the carbon footprint associated with global communication networks.
6G Benefits for a Sustainable Future
Smart Cities & Infrastructure - 6G will be instrumental in developing smart cities and associated infrastructure. From efficient energy management to intelligent transportation systems, it can enable the seamless integration of various technologies, paving the way for more sustainable urban development.
Environmental Monitoring and Conservation – High-speed, low-latency connectivity can empower environmental monitoring efforts. From tracking climate change to conserving biodiversity, 6G technology can provide the necessary tools to collect and analyse data in real time, facilitating more effective conservation initiatives.
Precision Agriculture - In agriculture, the technology can revolutionise precision farming by enabling real-time monitoring and control of equipment. This will result in more efficient resource utilisation, reduced waste, and a more sustainable approach to food production.
The path to 6G signifies a transformative leap in communication networks. With its imminent launch by the end of the decade, the technology stands to redefine speed, latency, and energy efficiency. This vision will be further shared in panel discussions at the upcoming 31st Convergence India & 9th Smart Cities India Expo to be held on 17-19 January 2024 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Esteemed speakers such as Mr. P Balaji from Vodafone Idea Limited, Lt. Gen. S. P. Kochhar from Cellular Operators Association of India, and Dr. R. K. Upadhyay, CEO of C-DoT, will unravel the profound impact of 6G on smart cities, communication networks, and sustainable technologies. Join us for these insightful discussions to delve deeper into a future shaped by 6G and witness these visionaries charting the course towards a more connected and sustainable world.