From “best effort” to “certainty”
For a long time, due to the nature of the IP protocol, the mobile Internet has provided a “best effort” service. In the 4G era, because the network mainly connects people, this “best-effort” approach can meet people’s connection needs. Slight network delays and packet loss will generally not affect our online shopping or even online video watching experience.
However, the connection range of 5G and 6G networks will expand from people to thousands of industries to everything. This requires that the network must be able to provide low-latency, high-reliability deterministic service capabilities, otherwise it may affect the continuous and stable production of enterprises. To this end, 5G, by introducing technologies such as network slicing and MEC, can provide end-to-end network service capabilities that can be guaranteed by SLA. Facing the future 6G era, as the network penetrates into more industries and more scenarios, it is necessary to further enhance the deterministic service capabilities of the network.
Open and customized
On the one hand,openness and sharing are the core spirit of the Internet and promote the continuous prosperity and development of the Internet; on the other hand, in comparison, mobile communication networks have always adopted more proprietary technologies and have a more closed ecosystem, which limits it own development to some extent.
In the 5G era, in order to empower the digital transformation of all walks of life, mobile networks must promote the integration of CT and IT with a more open attitude, so as to generate a wealth of innovative applications in the industry and promote ecological prosperity. As we have seen today, the integration of 5G with cloud computing, edge computing and AI technology has incubated a large number of industry applications ,such as AI quality inspection and 5G remote control.Leading operators and suppliers have built an open and flexible MEC edge cloud platform that can open network capabilities, IT capabilities, tools, and application components through APIs, allowing third-party developers and industry partners to quickly customize according to their business needs develop, deploy and launch new applications. Entering the 6G era, this openness and customization capabilities will continue to evolve, and will provide industry customers with more agile and friendly services through API interfaces to better meet customer needs for network configuration and customized applications.
Artificial Intelligence Network
Today, artificial intelligence has been applied in many fields, such as AI image recognition, speech recognition, and automatic translation. On the one hand, with the continuous development of network services, more stringent requirements have been placed on KPIs such as network latency, reliability, and user experience; on the other hand, as the network becomes more and more complex, traditional manual methods are used to maintain and Improving network KPIs has become more challenging. In order to meet the challenge, current operators and equipment vendors are also introducing AI into the network to promote network automation and intelligent transformation.
However, for the AI engine to maximize its value, it needs massive data “feeding” and computing resource enablement. For future automated and intelligent networks, the AI engine cannot be deployed only on a certain location or on a certain device, but on the entire network with massive amounts of data and unlimited computing resources, so that intelligence can be injected into the whole network to maximize the potential of AI and network.
Therefore, artificial intelligence networks in the future 5G and 6G eras require mutual empowerment between AI and the network. On the one hand, the AI-enabled network will be upgraded to automation and intelligence; on the other hand, the network must also empower AI to maximize its value. In other words, it is to rely on the low latency and large bandwidth characteristics of the 5G/6G network to allow training data and AI/ML models to flow in all links of the cloud side pipe end, and to fully release the computing power with efficient capacity, so as to reduce the cost. Ways to achieve higher quality network and AI service capabilities.
We have entered the era of “a mobile phone travels all over the world”, but this data may surprise you-there are still more than 3 billion people in the world currently unable to access the Internet. One of the reasons is the installation of base stations and installations in remote areas. The cost of fiber optic cable is too high, or limited by geographical conditions, it is impossible to implement network construction at all.
In order to achieve 100% global coverage, it has become the consensus of the industry to build an air-space-earth integrated three-dimensional network in the 6G era. Simply put, it is to deploy base stations on stratospheric high-altitude platforms and low-orbit satellites to allow network signals to “fall from the sky” to supplement ground mobile network coverage, especially to solve network coverage in remote areas such as mountains, seas, grasslands, and deserts. Whether this method is low in cost and the return on investment has yet to be verified, but taking a longer view, it paves the way for future emerging applications such as autonomous driving, flying taxis, and drone delivery.
If the spectrum resource allocation of mobile communication networks is likened to a pioneering journey , the “wasteland” to be explored in the 5G era is the millimetre wave frequency band, and that to be explored in the 6G era is the terahertz frequency band, which is usually referred to as the frequency range of 100GHz to 10THz. These frequency bands are uncultivated virgin land. Not only are they large in area (large bandwidth), but are pure land that is not polluted. The wireless industry can use it freely and freely without worrying about interference.
But the problem is that, just as today’s millimetre wave still faces problems such as weak coverage, high network construction costs, and immature terminal ecology, it is estimated that terahertz in the 6G era will also face similar problems, which require the industry to work hard to solve.
Perception and positioning
So far, mobile operators have only used wireless spectrum for communication, but in the 6G era, wireless spectrum can be used not only for communication, but also for sensing and positioning functions, so as to provide communication and environmental awareness through networks and base stations. And location tracking services, enabling a large number of emerging applications. For example, wireless signals can be used to recognize human postures and gestures, and the environment in which humans and machines are located, to enrich and enhance user experience; to better protect various industries and industries by sensing environmental temperature, humidity, vibration, and air quality. Smart cities operate stably; use wireless beams to identify vehicles, pedestrians, roadblocks, etc. to better serve autonomous driving; and enrich new indoor services through high-precision positioning.
Maximize spectrum utilization
Wireless spectrum is a scarce resource and an important carrier to promote continuous innovation in a digital society. In the mobile era, countries have created a system of authorized spectrum auction or allocation, which has promoted the vigorous development of mobile networks and mobile life. However, past success is not always a reference for the future. In the traditional way, special frequency bands are allocated for different operators and different network standards, which gradually caused problems such as spectrum fragmentation, spectrum idleness, and insufficient utilization, which aggravated the spectrum. The contradiction between supply and demand has also lowered the spectrum utilization rate.
In this regard, entering the 6G era, the wireless industry may re-examine the traditional spectrum allocation mechanism, further evolve dynamic spectrum sharing technology, and achieve smarter and dynamic spectrum allocation, control and scheduling through the introduction of AI, blockchain and other technologies. Maximize the utilization of spectrum. At the same time, the continuous evolution of Massive MIMO, more active and accurate wireless resource scheduling and allocation, and other technologies will continue to improve spectrum efficiency.
To support the development of the digital economy, network security is the top priority. In the 5G era, network security, like low latency, high reliability, and large bandwidth capabilities, is one of the current 5G value propositions. Entering the 6G era, technologies such as post-quantum cryptography (PQC) and quantum key distribution (QKD) may be actually applied to the network to ensure network super security, for example, the use of quantum random number generator (QRNG) and quantum key distribution ( QKD) enables both parties in communication to generate and share a random and secure key to encrypt and decrypt messages to ensure communication security.
Resilience, redundancy and self-healing
As 5G/6G penetrates into thousands of industries, it has become the foundation and cornerstone of supporting digital production, operation and management, and has put forward higher and higher requirements for the reliability and stability of the network. For the future, the industry should re-examine the traditional network architecture and strive to build a flexible, redundant, and self-healing network that can continue to provide stable network services even when the network fails.
Green and low carbon
Promoting a green and low-carbon transformation is a common goal of all countries in the world and an inevitable trend in the development of ICT industry development. Faced with the exponential growth of network data traffic and the continuous increase of network energy consumption, for operators, building a green and low-carbon network is not only the only way to reduce network OPEX costs, but also an act of fulfilling social responsibilities.