Why is India keen to take a lead in 6G technology?

While the expansion of 5G is still in progress, the government has given itself the target of developing and deploying the 6G network in the country by 2030.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

NEW DELHI: India may have been slow to roll out the 5G in the country but it is moving fast to make a head start in the sixth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks - 6G - that can give internet speeds up to 1 Tbps (1,000 Gbps).

Officially, the country started deploying the 5G network in October 2022. Since then, there has been no looking back with the high-speed wireless internet network being rolled out in several cities. While the expansion of 5G is still in progress, the government has given itself the target of developing and deploying the 6G network in the country by 2030. In fact, a few months after the launch of 5G, the government released the Bharat 6G Vision Document, which outlines India's strategy for next-gen tech.

It has also formed a 6G alliance, comprising domestic industry, academia, national research ins t i tut ions and standards organisations. The alliance will chart its own course of action based on the vision document as well as other technological developments as they emerge. According to Union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, India already holds 127 patents for 6G technologies, indicating its progress in this field.

Why go for 6G?
The 5G technology promises internet speeds in the range of 40-1,100 Mbps, with the potential to reach 10,000 Mbps with the help of millimetre-wave spectrum and beamforming (a technique to improve
signal quality by directing a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device, rather than allowing it to spread in all directions). Now, 6G technology is 100 times faster than that. It is more reliable and will
have ultra-low latency with speeds of up to 1 Tbps. This means there will be no delay as transfer of data will be instant, regardless of the size of the data.

With real-time streaming of heavy data, 6G can amplify machine-to-machine and human-to-machine interactions to unprecedented heights and transform the development and use of virtual and augmented
reality (VR/AR), mobile edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

Uses across sectors
The 6G technology will encompass various applications such as remote-controlled factories, constantly communicating self-driven cars, and smart wearables that directly interact with human senses.
These technological advancements will have an impact on user experience, transforming economies and lives globally. At the same time, 6G is expected to involve intelligent network management and control, as well as integrated wireless sensing and communication. In India, the introduction of 6G tech is likely to bridge regional and social infrastructure gaps by offering economic opportunities and alternatives to issues associated with rural exodus and mass urbanisation.

Status of 6G in India
The 6G tech in India is still in the early stage. According to the vision document, the plan is to leverage the country’s robust research and startup ecosystem to foster innovation and bring new ideas to fruition.
The government will ensure there is no dearth of funds.

According to the vision document, the mission will be executed in two phases. During the phase 1 (2023-2025), the groundwork will be laid and preliminary research and development efforts undertaken.
Phase 2 (2025-2030) will focus on building upon the progress made in phase 1 by further developing and refining technologies and solutions related to 6G.

What other countries are doing
The technology is in the early planning stage in most other large economies as well. North America has launched the Next G Alliance to help the stakeholders ranging from wireless technology service
providers to vendors to universities and start-ups to advance to the next decade through private sector-led efforts.

The alliance is focusing on four foundational impact areas – everyday living, experience, critical roles, and societal goals.

In Europe, the whitepaper European Vision for the 6G Network Ecosystem outlines the broad focus areas.

These are: intelligent network management and control, integrated wireless sensing and communication, reduction of energy consumption, trustworthy networks, scalability, and affordability. In Japan, the
Innovative Optical and Wireless Network Global Forum has published its Vision 2030 white paper, with key technology directions for infrastructure evolution in four dimensions: cognitive capacity, responsiveness, scalability, and energy efficiency. In China, key developments in 6G have been identified and are being pursued.

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