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Huawei releases a book on 6G

Rotating chairman of Chinese telecoms heavyweight Huawei, Eric Xu Zhiju, has touted a new book released by his organization that states 6G will be ready by 2030. 

That’s not a particularly risk prediction, as new wireless generations have a tendency to emerge at the beginning of every decade. Rather, this appears like Huawei (and by extension, China) putting down a marker to the remainder of the world on 6G. It’s basically stating “we’ll be going ahead as planned with 6G regardless of if the remainder of the world is cooperative or not.” 

“Huawei will define 5.5G and research 6G simultaneously in the upcoming few years, and is an evaluation of the whole industry’s imagination and creativity whether 6G can surpass (5G and 5.5G technologies),” Xu is quoted as writing on Huawei’s online community by Chinese state-controlled news site Global Times, Google Translate wasn’t up to the challenge so we’ll only have to hope that translation is precise. 

Tellingly the Global Times piece then bangs on about what a good job Huawei has carried out of managing all the stuff that the US has thrown at it. “The US Ban has hurt Huawei’s business to some degree, but has not been able to hurt it, fundamentally,” it quotes ‘independent’ analyst Xiang Ligang as stating in the piece, “Backed by China’s vast market, Huawei managed to maintain its capital, staff team and research capacities, which we believe will empower the organization to push forward next-generation technologies and reinforce its lead in the global telecom domain.” 

There doesn’t appear to have been any speech surrounding a standard split, however, Xu did stress the risk of developing impediments to international cooperation. “Whether the industries can accomplish satisfactory outcomes (in 6G development) around 2030 is mostly dependent on such factors as if the process of defining 6G is open enough, if the participants are pluralistic, and if the communication is comprehensive enough,” he’s quoted as stating. 

Telecom veteran expert Fu Liang, interviewed by the Global Times, was less reticent. “If political tensions worsen, it’s also possible that 6G will have two groupings of standards rather than one like prior, but of course that will increase the expenses related to connectivity and bring losses to international companies,” he’s quoted as stating. 

One likely innovation in 6G will be the basic radio-wave technology, with Dr Ronny Hadani, Chief Scientific Officer at Cohere Technologies, intent on something referred to as OTFS. “4G and 5G are both based on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) waveforms,” he stated in an email statement. 

“But, 6G is going to need a waveform that provides improved performance and supports extreme and high mobility scenarios – a problem identified by several standards bodies and forums. Subsequently, one of the first primary specifications for 6G is probable to be that it uses Orthogonal Time Frequency and Space (OTFS) as the foundation for a new waveform. OFTS’s waveform is oblivious to distortion and thus can provide much better performance and spectral efficiency. This will facilitate an entire range of high-mobility use cases already being related with 6G.” 

Seems good, even though it should be observed that Cohere has been looking around this technology for quite some time. If we go by the assumption Hadani is correct, might there be more than one way of going about OTFS? Or will there be some equivalent of the space race, with the first nation to crack it claiming some type of bragging rights over everybody else? It appears nearly inevitable that 6G will be the most politicized mobile standard yet, but perhaps that might also pull the US and China back from the brink in this new war between the two nations. 

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