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Should We Even Be Talking about 6G?
There are some research topics that fall outside the scope of 5G and should be considered 6G. Terahertz is a good example. The 5G standard is currently looking at using spectrum below 52.5 GHz, and spectrum 114 GHz is slated for Release 18–21 or later. Spectrum above 114 GHz doesn’t have a release assigned to it yet for the standardization to begin.
Based on this roadmap, the idea of using frequencies of 140 GHz and above for cellular communications is out of scope for 5G. Terahertz frequencies have unique properties which enable new and intriguing applications, like adding sensing to wireless networks. Research on this topic is in the early phases; the hardware that is needed to bring THz into commercial products is still years away. Researchers, especially those at top institutions and academic labs, should be investigating exciting new technologies like THz. But my hope is that the desire to create marketing buzz around the next new thing doesn’t distract us from completing the work required to make 5G a success.