Putting LG’s 6G Announcement in Context (A 300ft Test)

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LG Electronics announced that it has successfully created a wireless connection in the 155 GHz-175 GHz band over a distance of approximately 300 feet. The company said the test showed it was “leading the development of 6G communication technology.”

“The success of this test demonstrates that we are getting closer and closer to the successful application of the terahertz radio communication spectrum into the next 6G era,” said Dr. IP Park, President and CTO of LG Electronics, in a press release “Our successful partnerships with local and global research institutions and organizations to advance the development of 6G capabilities have been very gratifying. ”

LG said it conducted the test with the European research laboratory Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft using a power amplifier developed by LG, Fraunhofer HHI and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solids Physics (IAF). The 15 dBm transmission circulated in the 155 GHz-175 GHz band and used adaptive beamforming and high gain antenna switching technology.

Beyond these technical details, the announcement is remarkable for a number of reasons.

6G coverage encounters a 5G problem

First, it highlights both the promises and the downsides of a technology that operates in the bands of the terahertz spectrum. While these tapes promise to transmit large amounts of data, they are unlikely to support transmissions over large geographic areas. The fact that LG boasts of terahertz transmission over just 100 meters is striking given that today’s 4G networks often cover hundreds of millions of square kilometers of land.

LG’s announcement also helps put the beginnings of 5G into context. One element of 5G technology is the fact that it supports transmissions in the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectral bands (which are below the terahertz bands). Transmissions in these bands can only travel a few thousand feet. As a result, most early 5G phones did not support mmWave spectrum bands. So, it looks like 6G communications in the terahertz bands could face an even more acute version of the early 5G mmWave coverage challenges.

More generally, LG’s announcement again highlights the growing push among vendors of all shapes and sizes for another generation of wireless technology beyond 5G. This may be bad news for some network operators who are still trying to recoup their massive investments in 5G. For example, T-Mobile, AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States are collectively investing more than $ 100 billion in the deployment of mid-range spectrum for 5G, but these services are not yet available to most Americans.

Additionally, some operators are still struggling to find ways to earn revenue from 5G. After all, the technology supports faster speeds, but has yet to spawn new applications and services that are not supported by 4G networks.

Nonetheless, vendors ranging from Ericsson to Samsung to LG are increasingly beating the 6G drum by promising that the technology will support everything from “hyper-connectivity services” to the “Ambient Internet of Everything. ”

6G providers to watch

For LG, however, the announcement helps ensure the company remains a player in the global wireless industry even as it wraps up its high-profile exit from the smartphone industry. LG continues to maintain a large electronics business that spans from refrigerators to televisions ?? gadgets that could possibly benefit from indoor 6G networks ?? but the company is no longer a major player on the global wireless scene.

But LG’s announcement indicates that the company doesn’t intend to be forgotten so easily. “LG Electronics is leading the way in securing 6G core technologies with a number of early initiatives,” the company said said in his press release. LG highlighted its 2019 creation of the LG-KAIST 6G Research Center in partnership with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and its leadership of the Applications Working Group for the Next G Alliance for 6G in North America.

LG isn’t the only company to tout 6G communication testing. For example, SoftBank from Japan unveiled extensive 6G test plans, while Samsung recently announced a 6G test with the University of California-Santa Barbara operating in the 140 GHz band using digital beamforming.

Samsung could be a company to watch in 6G for years to come, given the scale of its business and investment. After all, it is already one of the world’s largest providers of 5G phones and 5G networks. Moreover, he just announced plans to invest $ 205 billion over the next three years in areas such as chip manufacturing. This is remarkable given the global shortage of chipsets and concerns in the United States and elsewhere about domestic production of chipsets.

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?? Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G and Mobile Strategies, Light reading | @mikeddano

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