6G - What would that mean?
I am a 70’s kid and a technology enthusiast from Mid-80’s. I have moved through the cellular evolution. Or rather, I was part of it. We moved so fast through the process that now, we are 5G or the 5th Generation of mobile communication without realising it. Before I start, just to rekindle our memories, here are the G’s.
1G: Analog standard of telecommunication. Which was mainly one way traffic such as pagers.
2G: GSM standard. Which was first generation mobile phones that evolved into 2.5G and 2.75G without us realising – adding GPRS and EDGE to the standards, respectively.
3G: Enhancement to EDGE for faster data transmission. This also evolved into 3.5G and 3.75G. This was when the world started moving towards SMART-Phones from 3.75G onward. Additionally, data traffic performance was not attractive for smart phones until 3.75G
4G: We moved to mobile broadband at this level. Apple and Android are ruling technology space and software development moved from desktop/server to mobile/server.
5G: We are stepping into it now. I just googled 5G and here is what Wikipedia suggests,
“In telecommunications, 5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, and is the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current cell-phones. 5G networks are predicted to have more than 1.7 billion subscribers worldwide by 2025, according to the GSM Association. All 5G wireless devices in a cell are connected to the Internet and telephone network by radio waves through a local antenna in the cell. The main advantage of the new networks is that they will have greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds, eventually up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s). Due to the increased bandwidth, it is expected the networks will increasingly be used as general internet service providers for laptops and desktop computers, competing with existing ISPs such as cable internet, and also will make possible new applications in internet of things (IoT) and machine to machine areas. 4G cell-phones are not able to use the new networks, which require 5G enabled wireless devices.”
If we try to filter out the general information from the Wiki excerpt, the most important thing is the speed. It is going to be 10 Gbps (what!!). To put it in context – 2G was 40Kbps and 3G was 144Kbps. We jumped the entire Mbps zone in 1 generation of mobile technology. The other important point to note is that the ISPs are moving to 5G connection for distribution. Effectively, all our desktops will connect to internet through our mobiles ONLY!
Where are we heading?
Now with 10 Gbps network speed and 12GB memory right in your pocket ‘anytime – anywhere’ are we seeing the death of desktop’s and hard-servers? If we try to have a peep into software space, most important growth is in “Artificial Intelligence”, “Machine Learning” and “Blockchain”.
Let us combine these two now and we will be able to see one inevitable outcome which is when 6G comes or may be even 5.5G, we will move with servers in our pocket connected to the net all the time. We should be able to build a webpage and publish it while travelling in a train. With blockchain in the mix, global transactions with full authorization and verification can be done in a matter of seconds. Business will flourish – no doubt about that.
But what about the security? All our transactions will be on the phone only – we will pay others and get paid through the mobile, we will book out tours and travel details through it, we will order our takeaway dinner through it and not to mention social media showing how my dog looks! By the same logic, with 6G we will have a single point of failure – out mobile phone. We have concentrated the risks rather than distributing it.
Now we are exposed to scammers as never before.
With extreme advancement of technology, we have enhanced our chances of failure. Scammers and agencies (both malicious and benign) will have ways to build a pattern of every one of us, know our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, times when we are most gullible. This information could give them extreme power to win over us and scam every user/individual and even influence our decision-making process.
I think we are looking at a vortex which is getting narrower and faster. New legislation and new protocols need to be in place. 1G was in 1980 and 3G in 2001 – that’s more than 20 years to achieve 100Kbps enhancement. But within next 20 years, we are in 5G and improved 1000 times! At this pace, we will be in the situation in about 5 years. So, our legislature and regulatory apparatus are in a race with our own intelligence – this is not what we are used to. We need to save the weak and the vulnerable and we cannot let technology take over our safety and our privacy – that will be first step into the MATRIX!