‘6G’ Communication Speeds Achieved with New Chip

Although there’s already hubbub over the rollout of 5G internet, scientists are still, apparently, working to make 6G a reality. In face, one of the breakthroughs required to achieve 6G speeds has just been made, with researchers achieving 11-gigabit-per-second data-transmission speeds. For reference, those speeds would mean somebody could download a two-hour movie in under four seconds.

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Osaka University in Japan made the breakthrough. They did so utilizing a silicon computer chip made with Photonic Topological Insulators.

According to an NTU press release (which comes via SingularityHub), Photonic Topological Insulators (PTI) are artificial electromagnetic materials that allow lightwaves “to be conducted on the surface and edges of the insulators, akin to a train following railroads, rather than through the material.” Resultantly, when light travels along these insulators, it is able to travel around sharp corners and resist material imperfections.

“With the 4th industrial revolution and the rapid adoption of Internet-of-Things (IoT) equipment, including smart devices, remote cameras and sensors, IoT equipment needs to handle high volumes of data wirelessly,” NTU Associate Professor Ranjan Singh said in the press release. Singh, who led the project, added that coming IoT equipment will rely on communication networks with ultra-high speeds.

Scientists have achieved 6G data transmission speeds in a lab.

NTU Singapore

NTU says that Singh et al.’s achievement, which the scientists outlined in a study recently published in Nature Photonics, could pave the way for circuits in wireless communication devices capable of providing terabytes-per-second speeds. Estimates for 6G speeds range anywhere from 10 to 100 times faster than 5G. (SingularityHub notes that, with 6G speeds, it’d be possible to download 142 hours of Netflix content in one second.)

Looking forward, 5G is obviously going to take over as a widespread cellular network before 6G does. SingularityHub points out that a recent white paper on 6G estimates that the network wouldn’t arrive until 2030. This prediction stems from the fact that wireless connection-tech generations have come 10 years apart thus far.

Feature image: NTU Singapore