by Jaime Leger, Founder, Leger Communications
Technology often outraces time. Clocks once ticked. Now they are found as tiny IC oscillators within every electronic device, challenging users to keep pace. Wireless radio technology now in its Fifth Generation (5G) is one of the technologies racing ahead, with 5G wireless cellular networks being touted by service providers as essential parts of a modern personal and business lifestyle. In only two decades, commercial wireless radio communications have raced from its earliest analog cellular version to its present fifth generation, with government and military users taking advantage of the technology. But the pace of progress is fast and that does not mean that Sixth Generation (6G) wireless may not be right around the corner!
If major wireless communications service providers are to be believed, 5G will provide the greatest leap in electronic communications technology since Alexander Graham Bell learned how radio waves could carry voice messages in 1876. Bell never wanted a telephone of his own but present-day users are being prepped for 5G as a wireless communications network they cannot live without. By using higher-frequency signals than earlier generations, 5G networks will make available more bandwidth for voice, data, machines, and all the electronic devices for which there was insufficient bandwidth in earlier generations. In “pushing progress,” 5G is also driving many technologies, from amplifiers, cables, and connectors to circuit materials and test equipment, tasking electronics component and equipment manufacturers with ways to make formerly expensive technologies, such as millimeter-wave circuits and components, more affordable. And electronic designers and manufacturers are rising to the challenges of 5Gs.
As many engineers have learned, the pace of technology rarely slows, it usually speeds up. For all its promise, 5G is not the final generation, just one step along the way. Already, technology-minded companies are planning for 6G to improve upon the “shortcomings” of 5G wireless networks especially as the number of users grows. 6G networks will occupy even broader bandwidths at higher, submillimeter-wave frequencies to provide faster data rates and 1 μs or less latency for instantaneous video streaming and real-time, online meetings. 6G is being developed as a “new look” at wireless communications technology rather than just “the next generation.” It is the result of when users not only find a technology useful, but they become dependent upon it.
Commercial 6G may be expected by 2030 but, as the pace of technology has shown, it is difficult to estimate progress. Despite all current claims for 5G, it may be just a matter of time before 5G users want the next generation.
Keeping pace with technology requires some understanding of it. Leger Communications will never claim to be expert in any technology, but we try our best to explain your technology to those who are helped by it: your customers and their customers. We try to learn what we can from you so that we can help you help your customers learn more about what you do. Ready or not, progress is coming. Better to be ready!
And to you, your families, and friends, please enjoy a safe and happy holiday.