6G push picks up speed with focus on innovation

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A visitor watches a video at the China International Big Data Industry Expo 2021 in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province, May 26, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is tapping the world's researchers and scholars to help advance technologies that could prove critical to the development of 6G, the next frontier in wireless technology, officials and experts said on Tuesday.

While there is still no universally accepted definition of 6G, the technology is expected to have far lower latency, higher speeds and more bandwidth than 5G.

6G could support the integration of space, air, territorial and maritime communication technologies, and is expected to be in commercial use around 2030, specialists said at the 2022 Global 6G Conference in Shanghai.

Zhang Yunming, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the nation's top industry regulator, said 6G will bring more advanced experience than 5G, and more originality and innovation are needed as the base for in-depth research on the wireless technology.

More efforts are also needed to research new theories, propose new algorithms, form 6G technical solutions and continuously optimize technical performance through experimental verification, laying the foundation for 6G industrialization, Zhang said.

On Tuesday, the IMT-2030 (6G) Promotion Group, the flagship platform in China that promotes 6G R&D and international cooperation, started collecting potential crucial technologies for 6G development from researchers and scholars around the world.

Yi Zhiling, chief scientist of the China Mobile Research Institute, said the next three to five years will provide a window on crucial 6G technologies and lay a solid foundation for the industry.

In the past, Chinese companies had worked with international organizations to establish standards for 3G, 4G and 5G technologies. They should increase their partnerships and cooperation with their foreign counterparts "to promote the formation of globally unified 6G standards", Yi said.

China Mobile, a major telecom company in China, unveiled its overall architecture design for 6G in June as it is stepping up its research and development of the next-generation wireless technology.

The white paper on China Mobile 6G network architecture is the first such systematic architecture design in the telecom industry, the company said.

Wen Ku, secretary-general of the China Communications Standards Association, said the European Union, the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries and regions have all initiated research on 6G.

It is important to balance the use of 5G and R&D of 6G, as long-term strategies are needed to develop both technologies. "Advancing the use of 5G is like building a good bridge and road for 6G," Wen said.

China had more than 2.2 million 5G base stations nationwide by the end of September, accounting for more than 60 percent of 5G base stations worldwide, MIIT data showed.

China has made progress in stepping up global cooperation on 6G. In June, the IMT-2030 (6G) Promotion Group inked an agreement on 6G with the 6G Smart Networks and Services Industry Association (6G-IA), which is the voice of European industry and research on next-generation networks and services.

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