China launches ‘the world’s first 6G experimental satellite’ as it aims to roll out the ultra-fast network in 2030
- The satellite was sent into orbit with 12 other satellites by a single rocket
- It is set to test the application of high-frequency terahertz waves in space
- Beijing officially began its research and development of 6G last November
- Chinese experts expected their new network to be 100 times faster than 5G
China has successfully launched what was billed as ‘the world’s first 6G experimental satellite’, according to its state media.
The news comes a year after Beijing kick-started the development of its next-generation mobile internet connection, expected to be rolled out in 2030.
Although 6G technology is still years away from becoming a reality, Chinese engineers claim that the satellite would test a type of communication waves that could boost the current streaming speeds by 100 times.
China’s 6G experimental satellite was blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern China’s Shanxi Province by a Long March-6 carrier rocket (pictured) on November 6
The 6G satellite was sent into orbit on Friday with 12 other satellites by a single rocket, according to the Chinese state media.
It weighs approximately 70 kilograms (154 pounds) and is named after its co-developer, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), which worked with Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology and Beijing MinoSpace Technology on the project.
The satellite carries multiple experiment devices and is due to test the technology of terahertz waves in space.
Terahertz waves, which are high-frequency radiation, allow data to travel at 50 gigabits a second. That offers streaming speeds about 100 times faster than those possible today, in which wireless networks reach a top speed of 500 megabytes.
Several Chinese telecommunication companies, including Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi and China Telecom, have also started their own research of 6G, according to state news agency Xinhua
‘6G is to combine the satellite communication network with the ground communication network,’ said Xu Yangsheng, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Xu expected 6G to be up to 100 times faster than 5G.
‘The frequency band of 6G is set to expand from the millimetre wave spectrum of 5G to the terahertz spectrum,’ he was quoted saying by state broadcaster CCTV.
‘This experimental satellite marks the first time the technology of terahertz communication would be verified when applied in space.’
The satellite was blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern China’s Shanxi Province by a Long March-6 carrier rocket.
The rocket also carried 10 commercial remote sensing satellites known as NewSat9-18, which were developed by Argentinian company Satellogic, reported state-run newspaper People’s Daily.
China began researching and developing 6G technology just days after 5G was rolled out
China launched the research and development of 6G last November – just days after 5G networks had become available in the country.
The Chinese Technology Bureau selected 37 telecommunication specialists from universities, institutions and corporations to form a panel, which was tasked with laying out the development of 6G and proving the scientific feasibility of it.
Wang Xi, deputy minister of the Technology Bureau, said at the time that the bureau was set to work with the experts to design a specific research plan for 6G and carry out preliminary research.
Several Chinese telecommunication companies, including Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi and China Telecom, have also started their own research of 6G, according to state news agency Xinhua.
EXPLAINED: THE EVOLUTION OF MOBILE BROADBAND UP TO 5G
The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.
Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched.
Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively.
More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.
5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G.
Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time.
That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.
Potential uses for 5g include:
- Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call
- Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
- A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds.
5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.
By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.
The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future