“The new vision of 6G is to enable near-instant and ubiquitous connectivity, revolutionizing the way humans interact with the physical and digital worlds. This means that 6G will take data, computing and communication technologies in new ways to further integrate them into society. Not only will this technology enable holographic communications, the tactile internet, intelligent network operations, and the convergence of networks and computing, it will also create more exciting opportunities. 6G will further expand and enhance functions on the basis of 5G, marking key industries entering a new era of wireless, accelerating the implementation of digital transformation and business innovation.
By: Satish Dhanasekaran, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Keysight Technologies
Satish Dhanasekaran, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Keysight Technologies
While it will take time for 5G to become mainstream, research on 6G has already started, with commercialization expected in 2030. This next-generation wireless technology promises to allow us to interact with our surroundings in new ways and create new application models in a variety of industries. With lower latency and greater bandwidth, 6G will be able to transmit massive amounts of data through decentralized intelligent networks.
The new vision of 6G is to enable near-instant and ubiquitous connectivity, revolutionizing the way humans interact with the physical and digital worlds. This means that 6G will take data, computing and communication technologies in new ways to further integrate them into society. Not only will this technology enable holographic communications, the tactile internet, intelligent network operations, and the convergence of networks and computing, it will also create more exciting opportunities. 6G will further expand and enhance functions on the basis of 5G, marking key industries entering a new era of wireless, accelerating the implementation of digital transformation and business innovation.
Shaping a more sustainable future
In addition to promoting economic prosperity, future technologies must also bring about positive environmental impact and social change, and 6G is fundamental to realizing this vision. The 6G Flagship has released a white paper exploring the positive role this technology could play in increasing productivity and helping human society. The organization is a consortium of academic and industry leaders to provide professional guidance on 6G research. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out a work plan to promote prosperity and sustainable development in communities around the world. The 6G Flagship Organization program will lead the development of 6G in accordance with the United Nations SDGs, and Keysight Technologies is proud to have participated in the creation of this program. Recently, the Next G Alliance, a North American-centric 6G alliance of which Keysight is a founding member, released a white paper outlining their vision for a sustainable 6G.
Environmentally sustainable use cases for 6G
Climate change is leading to higher temperatures and more extreme weather events, and every citizen of the planet needs to act urgently. Increased carbon emissions have raised the average Earth’s surface temperature by 2.12°F (1.18°C) since the late 19th century, with the past seven years being the warmest on record, NASA reports.
135 countries and hundreds of companies around the world have made solemn pledges to become carbon neutral. The technology industry is ready to work hard to develop long-term solutions for environmental sustainability. In particular, Electronic design can support the development of clean energy systems and data analysis for environmental applications, as well as advancing machine technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
We see sustainability as a key driver of 6G research and will explore new ways to combat climate change in the following industries.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. transportation industry is currently the largest contributor (29%) of greenhouse gas emissions. 6G will enable innovation in smart transportation and logistics, including connected vehicles and transportation infrastructure. The growth of driverless electric vehicles will not only promote the spread of clean energy, but will also reduce emissions by optimizing traffic flow. These goals can be achieved by combining wireless connectivity technology with sensor technology, distributed computing and artificial intelligence. A combination of new technologies will support real-time communication and coordination between vehicles, traffic cameras and the road.
According to the 2020 Mobile Industry SDG Impact Report released by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), telematics to improve vehicle monitoring, route optimization and fuel efficiency avoided about 105 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, The equivalent of 23 million fewer cars on the road. Toronto’s smart traffic management system enables traffic lights to learn and recognize patterns, reducing travel time by 25 percent and reducing emissions by 13 percent.
6G will further modernize the manufacturing industry on the basis of 5G, covering all stages of product design, factory production and warehousing. Connected machines and collaborative robots will be able to coordinate all manufacturing and supply chain management activities, automating processes that used to be done manually, enabling more efficient and resilient supply chains.
6G-enabled manufacturing plants will also enhance our ability to monitor and manage energy and water use, reduce carbon emissions, and power operations with renewable energy. For example, Ericsson’s 5G smart factory reduces waste by 5%, reduces energy costs by 5%, and improves overall energy efficiency by 24%.
One of the main advantages of 5G and 6G is the extension of wireless access to rural areas. Fertilizers, pesticides and animal manure used in rural areas emit harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and 6G opens up new sustainable opportunities for agriculture.
Smart farming opens up new ways to optimize crop production, conserve resources, improve soil health and monitor livestock, all of which help farmers reduce carbon emissions. The GSMA report also noted that in California, where agriculture accounts for 80 percent of total water use, solar sensors and LTE networks have reduced water use by 6 percent and emissions by 5 percent. A recent Qualcomm survey found that by collecting real-time data using IoT-enabled drones and sensors, farmers were able to increase the efficiency and accuracy of pesticide spraying, reducing overall pesticide use by 50 percent.
As the global population continues to grow, so does the need to manage and reduce fossil fuel consumption. 6G will help society transition to renewable energy and further advance the development of smart grids.
Smart grids enable communities to better monitor growing energy demands, optimize power distribution, and employ automated means to manage large load changes. The Qualcomm report also states that a 5G-connected smart grid will reduce gas and electricity consumption by 12 percent, while 6G will deliver even greater savings.
ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
We should recognize that the communications and information technology industry has a huge impact on the overall economy, as well as on energy consumption. During 2018, AT&T estimates that the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions achieved with the company’s technology was twice as high as AT&T’s own overall greenhouse gas emissions. The company has also set a target of 10-fold increase in emissions reductions by 2025.
The carbon footprint of the ICT industry is already large (about 1/10 of global electricity consumption) and will continue to grow rapidly. As an important part of ICT, one of the main goals of 6G set by the wireless communications industry is to reduce energy use and incorporate sustainability into operational processes and lifecycle management.
Currently, the Radio Access Network (RAN) consumes the majority (>50%) of the energy in the wireless network infrastructure. As the cloud transformation progresses, the consumption of data centers is gradually increasing, and we see a huge demand for “environmental protection” in data centers. Technologies such as intelligent wireless idle and resource sharing are already incorporated into 5G, and 6G is considering a more advanced approach.
Keysight Technologies is Committed to Accelerating Sustainability with 6G Technology
Businesses play a pivotal role in supporting global environmental and social prosperity. Keysight takes this role very seriously. As the only test and measurement company in the 6G flagship organization, Keysight has a unique responsibility to help organizations meet the challenges of 6G. We also collaborate with ITU’s Communications Standardization Sector, the FCC Technical Advisory Committee, and industry organizations in the US, Japan, Korea, China, and Europe.
We aim to leverage our R&D capabilities and our carefully crafted software and hardware solutions for design, simulation and verification applications to advance 6G flagship organizations in wireless connectivity, distributed smart wireless computing, end device and circuit design technologies, and vertical industries Apply and serve research in these four strategic areas. We will bring great solutions to our partners, providing them with technologies such as cybersecurity, device characterization, network testing, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and methods to measure and reduce power consumption across all frequency bands. Finally, Keysight’s broad industry expertise will help these teams achieve results in key areas such as automotive electronics, Internet of Things, high-speed digital and new energy.
Like 5G, next-generation connectivity presents enormous business opportunities that have the potential to impact technology, the business world, and society as a whole. We look forward to working side-by-side with our 6G flagship organization partners and other technology partners around the world to jointly develop standards and build technology building blocks to build a people-centered, sustainable-development-centric 6G network that will change our lives, ensure social security, and enable All people around the world are connected.