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China says it’s already working on 6G technology

Woman texting on a smart phone. (PxHere/Released)
November 12, 2019

Chinese state media reported Thursday the nation is already developing the sixth generation of telecommunications technology, called 6G, after it introduced 5G in parts of the country.

The Chinese government and research institutes met this week to establish a research and development group on national 6G technology, Channel News Asia reported.

The race to develop a massive, practical 5G telecommunications service has nations around the world competing, particularly between the United States and China.

The 5G — and now 6G — race has embroiled China’s Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment vendor and heavily involved in the development of 5G.

President Donald Trump in May banned Huawei, a Chinese phone maker, from the United States, over concerns the company spies on Americans, U.S. officials and the U.S. military.

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Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) described Huawei as “a state-directed instrument of national power used by the Chinese government and Communist Party to destroy their international competitors, undermine U.S. companies, spy on foreign countries, and steal intellectual property and trade secrets.”

Trump tweeted in February that he wants the country to develop 5G and 6G as fast as possible to keep up with global competitors.

5G alone will provide users speeds a minimum of 10 times faster on their devices than current networks. Theoretically, 5G could be up to 100 times faster than commercial 4G LTE devices.

Thus, the creation of 5G, let alone 6G, technology remains a top priority of economic and militaristic competitors around the world. Economically speaking, there is $500 billion is at stake for who gets 5G first.

“This is really part of a bigger strategic push,” said Lisa Porter, the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary for research and engineering. “We have to acknowledge that together we need to work that out—industry needs access to spectrum, DOD needs access to spectrum. It’s essentially a call to action, saying ‘let’s get serious about figuring out how to do this together.'”

The practical use for 5G, and subsequently 6G, includes not only faster devices, but also better-equipped devices of the future such as self-driving vehicles, smart devices referred to as the Internet of Things and a host of other infrastructure benefits.

For example, 5G-connected power grids could interact with each other to respond to when portions of the grid go out if a tree or vehicle damages and takes one out.

Additionally, 5G-connected cars could reduce traffic by connecting to stoplights. 5G-connected factories could reconfigure equipment to produce items at cheaper costs and be more efficient.

It is unknown specifically how much 6G will bolster the economy or help the U.S. military, but if 5G can boost the economy $500 billion overnight, it fair to assume 6G will do much, much more.