We haven't even seen 5G come close to its potential yet (we're probably not even at the playing of the national anthem in a 9-inning game) and already there is talk about 6G. Nearly a year ago, President Donald Trump disseminated a tweet
calling for the U.S. to develop "5G, and even 6G technology in the United States as soon as possible." We're not too sure that the president understands that much about how wireless works, but his point was that the U.S. needs to be a leader in cellular technology.
Right now, any discussion about 6G is merely about possible standards. According to the Hindustan Times
, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology is already doing some prep work on 6G and has laid out a blueprint about what could be possible several years down the road. Reportedly, 6G download data speeds could hit 1TBps which is equivalent to 1,000GB/sec or 8,000Gbps. That is 8,000 times the data speed that can be achieved with 5G. This is all theoretical of course, but just as we expect 5G to bring new technologies and industries to the world, 6G will no doubt do the same. For example, Dr. Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam, a professor at the University of Sydney, says that with 6G people might be able to "use devices via our brain."
We have years to go before we can even get serious about 6G. Consider that Verizon launched nationwide 4G LTE service in the states on December 5th, 2010. Now, over nine years later, the carrier is just delivering 5G in drips and drabs. And T-Mobile is the only carrier providing nationwide 5G (albeit through its slower low-band 600MHz spectrum). Dr. Shirvanimoghaddam points out that for these theoretical 6G speeds to become reality, major leaps will be needed in "materials science, computer architecture, chip design and energy use (…) We must think about sustainable ways to supply all these devices without the risk of burning the Earth."
We could see 6G ready for commercial use by 2029-2030. Mark your calendar accordingly.