6G wireless technology

On the verge of 6G

The road to 6G

6G: The future of wireless communication

The next generation of wireless communication relies on revolutionary technology components that call for new ways of testing.

Every mobile network generation yields new features and a wealth of new opportunities. While the 5G New Radio (5G NR) network rollouts are in full swing, 6G is already starting to take shape and is expected to be launched around 2030.

Rohde & Schwarz has been closely involved in this process right from the start and actively supports the ongoing fundamental research activities at 6G organizations, universities and research institutes across Europe, in the US and Japan. Together with our partners and customers, we are actively adapting our test solutions to support this early research phase and to identify technology components which might ultimately become part of a 6G standard.

Looking to the future, Rohde & Schwarz is also a contributing partner in several 6G research projects funded by the German government. The most prominent is the 6G-Access, Network of Networks, Automation and Simplification (6G-ANNA) project.

6G-ANNA is a 3-year lighthouse project initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for the advancement of 6G technology in Germany with the goal of developing a holistic plan for the next generation of cellular standards involving end-to-end architecture. As an industry partner, Rohde & Schwarz contributes to the project with its existing research on an AI-native air interface for 6G, in particular for a neural receiver with custom modulation.

Rohde & Schwarz is also involved in a number of other 6G research projects, as for example:

  • 6G-TakeOff: a project for the development of 6G network architecture aiming at introducing standardized 3D communication networks consisting of ground stations, airport platforms and satellites. These kinds of innovative concepts for network management must be developed. Rohde & Schwarz is working alongside other companies from the telecommunication and aerospace industries on a joint solution to provide connectivity.
  • KOMSENS-6G: a project on the integration of sensor technology into 6G communication systems enabling future applications in industry 4.0 and autonomous mobility with a focus on incorporating radar technology into 6G networks.
  • 6G-LICRIS: a project to develop reconfigurable intelligent surfaces using liquid crystal technology for future 6G standards. The goal is to introduce new materials based on liquid crystals, which are more suitable for higher frequencies.
  • 6G-ADLANTIK: a project focused on developing components for the THz frequency range based on photonic and electronic integration. Such newly developed components can then be used for innovative measurements and faster data transfers.
  • 6G-TERAKOM: a project to explore and develop a wireless communication system just below the terahertz range (D band) with integrated antennas. This will help to prepare industrial application ecosystems in Germany for the future sixth generation of mobile communication.

Main 6G testing research areas

What will constitute the backbone of 6G technology?

Academia and key industry players have identified several research areas for enabling the next generation of wireless communication – there is a number of 6G use cases.

A natural starting point is increasing bandwidth and boosting data throughput to new dimensions using (sub-)THz communication to propel 6G applications such as holographic communication and digital twinning. THz frequencies provide access to wider bandwidths, which are not only useful to boost peak data rates. Access to wider bandwidths will increase resolution to the millimeter range, further improving features like gesture recognition. It will also open up the possibility of changing the way we interact with and support extended reality (XR)-based applications, for example, the metaverse.

Compared to previous mobile network generations, 6G will take advantage of integrated sensing and communication (ISAC), which is also sometimes referred to as joint communication and sensing (JCAS), that will integrate localization, sensing and communication into a future 6G standard.

5G-Advanced has already started paving the way for using artificial intelligence and its subset of machine learning in the next generation of wireless communications. These preparations will allow a 6G network to learn at least partially to configure, optimize and heal itself instead of relying solely on complex pre-planning procedures. As a next step, parts of the air interface, particularly signal processing algorithms, are expected to be supported and eventually replaced with machine learning models. Thus, a 6G wireless communication standard will natively support an AI-based air interface.

6G research also focuses on reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS), a novel way of supporting a wireless communication link by reflecting and actively steering an incoming signal off surfaces using metamaterials.

Whatever direction the technology takes, Rohde & Schwarz is firmly at the forefront of 6G research. Early research, as well as the publication of a 6G standard, will require leading-edge 6G testing and measurement solutions to address a multitude of technical challenges posed by the various technology components currently under discussion. We are committed to overcoming these challenges to ensure an innovative outlook when shaping our wireless future.

Want to discuss your specific 6G test cases with our experts?

6G testing applications

THz communication

Our testing solutions for THz communications for high data rates in 6G networks.

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Integrated sensing und communication (ISAC)

ISAC greatly improves the efficiency and performance of 6G technology. Get to know our test solutions.

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Artificial intelligence and machine learning

AI and ML empower efficient and intelligent 6G networks. Learn about our ongoing research and upcoming test solutions.

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Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

Learn about the immense potential of RIS to enhance the performance of 6G technology.

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6G technology news

On the road to 6G

Discover the future of mobile communication with our video series discussing the major research areas of 6G. See what industry leaders have to say about key 6G topics.

6G Overview and vision

Video: 6G Overview and vision

6G has the mission of seamlessly blending wireless communication, sensor technology and cloud computing. Watch this video for an overview and the vision behind 6G.

6G major research areas

Video: 6G major research areas

6G is charting new horizons in wireless communication research. Watch this video to learn about the crucial role of collaboration within the 6G community.

Discover our 6G white papers, webinars and more

Webinar: The metaverse and extended reality

This webinar offers a comprehensive test and measurement perspective on 5G and 6G technologies as enablers of immersive virtual environments.

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eGuide: Ten key enablers for 6G wireless communications

Learn more about the ten key technologies that stand to shape the next generation of wireless communications in this eGuide.

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Webinar: 5G non-terrestrial networks evolving towards 6G

Watch this webinar for a closer look at non-terrestrial networks, the technical challenges and the deployment of NTN capable devices and networks.

Register to watch

White paper: 5G evolution – on the path to 6G

Download this white paper to explore the evolution from 5G to 6G from a service, air interface and network perspective.

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Video: Main 6G research areas

The #ThinkSix video series builds on the success of the Demystifying 5G series and takes a sneak peek at the future, discussing the potential spectrum and technology components used by the next generation of wireless communication: 6G.

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ThinkSix - Spectrum for 6G: What’s free for FR3

Video: Spectrum for 6G

This video runs through the frequencies from 7.125 GHz to 24.25 GHz, highlighting the bands with the maximum potential for next-generation wireless services.

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#Think Six -Which new spectrum for 6G? A practical review

Video: Which new spectrum for 6G? A practical review

This video explains the background of candidate frequency bands in the D-Band (110 to 170 GHz) and G-Band (140 to 220 GHz).

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What is 6G?

6G is the sixth generation of wireless communication networks and will include several new technology components compared to previous generations. These are, for example, the support of THz frequencies for communication or gesture recognition, additional frequencies between 7 and 24 GHz, joint communication and sensing, artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as reconfigurable intelligent surfaces.

There are many driving forces that make the development of 6G standard networks necessary, such as new applications like the metaverse, realized via eXtended Reality (XR) which typically requires consistently high data rates and low latency. Today’s 4G and 5G networks cannot guarantee this anytime and anywhere. Combining the aforementioned technology components will improve the situation and link performance and enable these applications.

How fast will 6G be?

While 6G frequency will work on the same frequencies as 4G LTE (410 MHz to 6 GHz) and 5G New Radio (410 MHz to 7.125 GHz and 24.25 to 71 GHz), it will add the support for additional frequency layers such as FR2-0 (7.125 to 24.25 GHz) as well as the support of sub-THz frequencies. This is because 6G targets peak data rates of up to 1 Tbps. To achieve these data speeds, wider bandwidths of 10 GHz (or more) are required. These wide bandwidths are only available at higher frequencies in the THz frequency range.

What are the advantages of 6G compared to 5G?

6G wireless communication will include several technology components that are not available in today’s 5G mobile networks. For example, support for THz-based communication, joint communication and sensing, artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as reconfigurable intelligent surfaces.

6G will also provide higher capacity and throughput combined with lower latency than 5G networks – it is set to expand the performance of 5G applications. 6G can take advantage of additional frequencies compared to 5G to support innovative applications in wireless connectivity through sensing, imaging, localization, and object detection. One interesting application is to aid beam alignment and management on the air interface while using the gained information. Overall, when it comes to 6G vs. 5G, 6G will improve the communication link performance by intelligently applying machine learning-based algorithms for signal processing.

Mobile edge computing: improved access to AI functions and support for sophisticated mobile devices resulting in fewer transmission errors and greater spectral efficiency for mobile networks.

When will 6G be ready?

The typical technology cycle for a wireless communication standard is 10 years. 5G New Radio launched commercially in 2019. While 5G network deployments are in full swing and there is a clear evolution path for 5G, academic institutions and research institutes have begun fundamental research for the next generation of wireless communication, commonly known as 6G. Based on current industry predictions, the commercial deployment of 6G wireless communication networks will start in late 2029 or early 2030.

What are the 6G applications?

6G will offer a vast range of new uses cases and applications, which among others include truly immersive extended reality, holographic communication including mobile holograms, digital twinning and replicas. Most of these applications have unprecedented performance requirements that cannot be met by today’s communication standards.

What frequencies will 6G use?

Similar to the 5G New Radio standard, 6G will also take advantage of frequency range 1 (FR1) up to 7.125 GHz and frequency range 2 (FR2) mmWave from 24.25 GHz to 71 GHz. In addition, current research suggests that 6G will use THz frequencies and frequencies from 7.125 GHz to 24.25 GHz, which are often referred to as FR3 or FR2-0.


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