Chinese lab says it made a breakthrough in 6G mobile technology as global standards-setting race heats up

By Che Pan

Government-backed institute Purple Mountain Laboratories says it has made 6G speed breakthrough. Project’s breakthrough was achieved in collaboration with telecoms giant China Mobile and Fudan University. — SCMP

A Chinese lab said it has made a breakthrough in next generation mobile communications technology, as the global power struggle over standards-setting in the telecoms industry continues to heat up.

A government-backed institute called Purple Mountain Laboratories said on Wednesday that a research team led by its chief scientist professor You Xiaohu had achieved a sixth generation (6G)-level wireless transmission up to a speed of 206.25 gigabits per second for the first time in a lab environment, according to a statement on its website.

The project was supported by a special government project on 6G and achieved in collaboration with telecoms giant China Mobile and Fudan University.

The speed achieved is a world record for real-time wireless transmission within the terahertz frequency band (300GHz~3THz), which is considered to be the bedrock for future 6G mobile communications, according to the Purple Mountain statement.

6G wireless communication technology will be the successor to current 5G cellular technology, which is still being rolled out across multiple countries. 5G enables data to be transferred at a speed that is 20 times faster than previous standards.

5G was designed to provide faster data rates, ultra-low latency, energy savings, cost reductions, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity, powering new smart services for consumers and an industrial upgrade.

The world has yet to agree on technical standards that would support 6G frequencies, signal modulations and waveforms. 3GPP, a leading global communication standards-setting organisation, has yet to announce a road map for 6G.

Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co, which is a leading provider of 5G network equipment, expects 6G tech to enter the market around 2030.

Ericsson, also a leading 5G equipment manufacturer, anticipates that early standards for 6G could be released in 2027, according to a report from Light Reading, an industry research group.

When asked about Huawei’s perspective on 6G, Huawei’s then rotating chairman Xu Zhijun told a press conference in September last year that “we don’t know what 6G is now”, although Huawei hopes to work with the industry to define what 6G is over the next decade.

China has the world’s largest number of 5G base stations. As of November last year, China had built and put into operation about 1.4 million base stations around the country.

However, the roll-out of 5G services has been slow, with the industry still struggling to find a killer application for everyday users due to high development and deployment costs. – South China Morning Post

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