6G Network: The Complete Beginner’s Guide (Part 3)

—- An Interview About Prospects for 6G Network Key Capability Indicators

6G Network Key Indicators


User Experience Indicators


The 6G network needs to provide users with ubiquitous and continuous network coverage that increases from 98% coverage of the populated area supported by the 5G network to 98% coverage of the accessible space for human activities covered by the 6G network. 


Concerning hotspot scenarios, such as populated urban areas, the coverage of the 6G network requires sufficient connection capacity to achieve non-perceived switching and further improve user experience. As regards remote scenarios, such as mountainous areas, the 6G network can provide low-cost and efficient coverage to eliminate signal dead zones and bridge the digital divide.



Due to the application of advanced technologies such as digital twins, holographic communication, and immersive XR, the speed requirements on the 6G network have considerably increased compared to the 5G network. 


For example, the image transmission of life-size holographic communication requires a peak rate of several Tbps. And under a compression ratio of 1:400, 16K VR still needs a throughput of nearly 1Gbps to meet the user experience.



As the number of connected devices keeps increasing, the capacity of the 6G network will also clearly affect the user experience and application expansion. The indicator mainly includes connection density and traffic density.


With the development of Internet of Things technologies, a large number of wearable devices, image or video transmission equipment, data collection equipment, etc., are becoming more and more prevalent. The connection density of the 6G network is expected to reach ten times that of the 5G network. In addition, the utilization of frequency bands such as terahertz and visible light in the 6G network will further narrow its coverage, and more base stations will be essential for deployment. The regional traffic density will reach hundreds of Mbps/m2–Gbps/m2.



The 6G network mainly focuses on end-to-end latency and latency jitter in low-latency applications. The end-to-end latency contains three parts of air interface delay, network delay, and processing delay. Latency jitter refers to the maximum difference between a single delay and an average delay.


In order to significantly improve user experience, as well as reduce air interface delay on the wireless side, the 6G network is necessary to lower routing forwarding levels and transmission distances and improve device processing performance according to business demands, deployment, and device conditions. Meanwhile, in the application scenarios such as precise remote control or remote surgery of the Industrial Internet of Things, the 6G network is still necessary to further strengthen the low-latency capabilities and increase the requirements for latency jitter.



New application scenarios may require a transmission success rate of over 99.999999% under limited delay constraints to ensure sufficient reliability. Under low-latency conditions, the reliability of the 6G network cannot be supplemented by conventional retransmission. Other repetitions, such as frequency domain repetition and redundant connections, will be practicable means to enhance reliability.



Higher mobile speed application scenarios, such as high-speed trains and airplanes, are yet with poor user experience. It is difficult for the 5G network to provide sufficient bandwidth and relatively stable connections in these high-speed application scenarios. The air or sea communications, emergency communications, etc., of the 6G network put forward higher requirements on mobility exceeding 1000km/h.


Accurate Positioning

The future applications of the 6G network will propose higher requirements for positioning accuracy to the centimeter level, especially in indoor environments where it is difficult to obtain the assistance of traditional satellite positioning. For instance, factory AGVs require high-precision positioning capabilities to avoid collisions and prevent safety accidents.



On the basis of communication capabilities, the 6G network can also provide wireless perception capabilities with indicators such as accuracy, resolution, missed detection rate, and false detection rate. Accuracy and resolution have different measurements depending on various perception technologies and application directions, such as position, angle, and speed. While the missed detection rate and false detection rate mainly describe the accuracy of perception detection.


Terminal Cost

The cost of terminal equipment has always been one of the most relevant factors affecting the development of new applications. It is necessary to consider the balance between terminal cost and capability for the foreseen diversified application scenarios, whether a general-purpose terminal or a special-purpose terminal. For general-purpose terminals, it is more inclined to lower cost and convenient for large-scale promotion and application. For special-purposed, it tends to specific capability satisfaction to better serve target users.


Terminal Power Consumption

The power consumption of terminals affects the battery life. So the power consumption should be weakened as much as possible to prolong the battery life without affecting the terminal performance. 


Due to the slow progress of battery technology innovation, new terminals still have to consider more power consumption and battery life. For low-cost long-endurance terminals, ultra-low power consumption or energy harvesting is the main direction in the future to achieve ultra-long standby. While for high-capacity terminals, it is an excellent choice to increase charging capabilities under a certain standby. Therefore, the terminal power consumption needs to lower to an acceptable range for future application scenarios to ensure a better user experience.


Network Indicators

Spectrum Efficiency

The improvement of spectrum efficiency is directly affected by physical layer technology. The future 6G network may adopt new technologies such as more advanced modulation methods, added antenna oscillators, and orbital angular momentum. Its spectrum efficiency expects to reach two to three times compared to the 5G network.


Energy Efficiency

According to industry forecasts, the energy efficiency of the 6G network proposes to increase by 10 to 100 times with the adoption of more energy-saving and energy-efficient technologies.


Intelligence Level

Compared with the 5G network, the 6G network will face a more complex networking environment, more diverse application scenarios, and more personalized requirements. An AI-based intelligent network plans to become one of the optimal solutions for the 6G network according to its natural advantages in data collection, feature analysis, and decision generation. After the combination of AI, the 6G network will have its own awareness, continuously collect data, use ultra-high computing power to quickly and independently optimize the network system, and realize the transformation from network-centric to user-centric. 


Security Level

Traditional network security relies on encryption technology and authentication protocols, which not only brings a lot of additional overhead to the network system but also makes it difficult to meet the higher security requirements in future networks. With the introduction of advanced technologies such as edge computing, the security situation of the 6G network has undergone tremendous changes, and the previous network security mechanisms cannot deal with potential security risks.


The future 6G network will pay more attention to network security performance and require more reliable and efficient endogenous security mechanisms, such as intelligent defense, ubiquitous security collaboration, etc., which will also serve as valuable capability indicators for the 6G network.


Terminals in the 6G network will undergo fundamental changes, able to independently select the network, control the network configuration in specific application scenarios, and even be deeply involved in the network as part of the network infrastructure. Numerous terminals associated with edge nodes of the 6G network will constitute a dynamic, self-organizing, intelligent edge network that provides users with rich, low-latency, first-rate, and personalized network services. With the deep participation of terminals, the 6G network will manage to integrate communication, computing, sensing, and positioning capabilities.



Cindy Chan, Wireless Communication Marketing, ThinkWill
ThinkWill is the provider of wireless communication modules, IoT router modules, IoT mobile broadband devices, and IoT comprehensive solutions that enable wireless connections of any scale.


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