5G is the term used to refer to the next generation of mobile networks, which is set to be released in 2019. It is the fifth generation of mobile networks and looks set to provide speeds greater than anything we have ever seen before. To put into context just how fast, you will be able to download a full HD movie in less than 10 seconds, this would currently take about 10 minutes on current 4G networks. What are we going to see next, in the future, after 5G though, in terms of mobile networks and connectivity?

Since the first 1G mobile network, Nordic Mobile Telephone was released in 1982, there has been a new mobile generation every few years, so it is likely that 6G will follow this pattern and we will see it a few years after the roll out of 5G.

There is currently some debate in the industry about what 6G could possibly look like, partly due to the fact it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict what will actually be required from a mobile network over the next 10-20 years. It is probable that 6G will look at and begin to explore new technologies that weren’t quite ready in time for 5G. One idea which is receiving some interest is the integration of terrestrial wireless with satellite systems for always on worldwide network coverage.

Mobile networks are often used to connect not just smartphone and tablet devices being used, but now machines, thus we are seeing an increase in smart homes and even smart cities. 5G and moving forwards 6G will see even further demand for machine to machine communications, which will definitely include the likes of robot and drone delivery.

Other areas such as network VLC, Intelligent Networking, Ultra dense cell networks and reconfigurable hardware are trends that are predicted will be vital to 6G usage.

There is also now a growing trend of software defined networking and software defined radio. If these continue then it will be easier to upgrade to future 6G technologies and resources that are cloud based will enable the upgrade of existing 4G and 5G equipment to enable the use of 6G technology. This will mean that the previous very expensive upgrades needed with the introduction of new mobile generation networks, which have required even the replacement of physical hardware, will not be needed as much and replacements will not be as expensive and disruptive.

One thing that is for sure is that users of mobile networks will continue to demand faster speeds, greater global coverage and always on connectivity from future networks and therefore 6G will be expected to provide this. Whether users are sending emails, ordering deliveries via Amazon Prime Air drones, playing mFortune mobile casino tournaments or video calling a friend at the other side of the world; they will want the latest mobile network to make this as fast and seamless as possible for them.
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