As the demand for faster wireless communication continues to escalate, the advancement of next-generation terabit wireless communication technologies has become a prominent area of research. This article explores the advancements and challenges that lie beyond 6G, aiming to achieve terabit data rates in wireless networks. It presents key technological innovations, including advanced modulation schemes, ultra-dense networks, mmWave and terahertz communication, massive MIMO (mMIMO) and intelligent beamforming techniques. To do this, emerging technologies such as optical wireless communication, visible light communication and novel spectrum utilization techniques were studied. The article also addresses the fundamental challenges associated with terabit wireless communication, including channel capacity, energy efficiency, security and interference management. By presenting an overview of the advancements and potential solutions, along with some of the reference work being done in this area, this article provides valuable insights into the future of terabit wireless communication beyond 6G and offers a foundation for further research in this field.
Terabit wireless communication represents a paradigm shift in wireless connectivity, enabling transformative applications and services that demand extraordinary data rates. While the realization of terabit wireless communication is still in the research and development stage, advancements in technologies such as mmWave communications, mMIMO, beamforming and intelligent network management are paving the way for this exciting future of wireless communication.1 Figure 1 shows the concepts of spectrum administration, antenna systems and their beamforming techniques, along with the fusion of additional technologies that will facilitate 6G for THz communication.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BROADER TECHNICAL COMMUNITY
The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of optical wireless communications or visible light communications systems is increased by utilizing silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) in the receiver.2 SiPMs are highly sensitive light detectors that can detect single photons with high efficiency. They are based on silicon avalanche photodiode (APD) technology and can achieve low noise levels and high gain. By using SiPMs in the receiver, the system can capture and amplify weak optical signals more effectively, leading to an improved SNR. The higher SNR obtained with SiPMs can help reduce the bit error rate of the system. “Terabit Indoor Laser-Based Wireless Communications: LiFi 2.0 for 6G”3 gives a detailed examination of the necessary technologies to create indoor wireless networks powered by lasers that can achieve data rates in the terabit per second range. This data rate is considered to be a key performance indicator for 6G wireless communication.
Another cited reference, “Precoding and Beamforming Techniques in mmWave-Massive MIMO: Performance Assessment”4, focuses on the integration of mMIMO with mmWave frequency bands to achieve the design goals of 5G wireless communication systems that will serve as stepping stones to 6G and beyond. The integration of mmWave communications with mMIMO offers several advantages, including improved spectral and energy efficiency, enhanced mobile network capacity and significant increases in multiplexing gains. These benefits are crucial for meeting the requirements of 5G networks. The utilization of a single-cell downlink mMIMO system model facilitates the assessment and evaluation of the efficacy of mMIMO systems. A diagram of a mMIMO system is shown in Figure 2.
“Demo: AI-Engine Enabled Intelligent Management in B5G/6G Networks”5 showcases an artificial intelligence (AI) engine that incorporates multiple AI algorithms and demonstrates its potential in managing the life cycle of network slices. The AI engine solution is designed to be distributed, meaning that it can be deployed across multiple locations or devices. This distributed deployment allows the AI engine to offer customized machine learning (ML) models that are specifically designed for different use cases. The availability of a variety of ML models enables the AI engine to facilitate data analysis of network functions and intelligent applications at the edge cloud. The edge cloud refers to computing resources and services deployed closer to the network edge, enabling faster processing and reduced latency.
One of the key features of this solution is its ability to dynamically allocate computing resources to each distributed component of the AI engine. This resource allocation capability facilitates intelligent network management by allowing the system to adapt the allocation based on the requirements of each component. This flexibility enables efficient utilization of computing resources and ensures optimal performance for intelligent network management tasks.
IMPORTANT AREAS OF CONSIDERATION FOR TERABIT WIRELESS COMMUNICATION
Data rate advancements: Terabit wireless communication represents a significant leap in data rates compared to current wireless technologies. It enables faster transmission of large volumes of data to facilitate things like real-time streaming of high-resolution videos, immersive virtual reality experiences and rapid data transfer for applications like autonomous vehicles and smart cities.
Spectrum utilization: To achieve terabit data rates, efficient utilization of the RF spectrum is essential. Advanced modulation schemes are employed to maximize spectral efficiency and enable higher data rates within the available frequency bands.
mMIMO and beamforming: mMIMO systems, equipped with multiple antennas, play a crucial role in achieving terabit wireless communication. mMIMO, combined with advanced beamforming techniques, allows for spatial multiplexing, improved link reliability and interference mitigation. These techniques will all contribute to higher data rates and overall system capacity.
Intelligent network management: Terabit wireless communication necessitates intelligent network management techniques. AI and ML algorithms are employed for dynamic resource allocation, interference management and efficient utilization of network resources. Intelligent algorithms adapt to varying channel conditions and user demands, ensuring optimal performance and data rate delivery.
Fiber-like experience: Terabit wireless communication aims to deliver a fiber-like experience over wireless networks. These high data rates enable users to experience seamless connectivity, fast downloads and low latency connections, similar to or exceeding the performance of wired fiber-optic networks.
Backhaul and infrastructure: Achieving terabit wireless communication requires robust backhaul infrastructure. Fiber-optic links and high capacity microwave links serve as the backbone for carrying the massive data traffic generated by terabit wireless networks. Upgrading and expanding the network infrastructure is crucial to support the high speed and high capacity demands.
New generations of wireless communications get developed and deployed with a surprisingly repetitive cadence. If the industry is working on 6G, the next generation is not far behind. “Beyond 6G” in the title of this article refers to the future evolution of wireless communication technologies beyond the evolving 6G standard. While 6G is still in the early stages of development, researchers and industry experts are already envisioning the possibilities and potential features of communication systems that would go beyond 6G. “6G and Beyond: The Future of Wireless Communications Systems”6 explores the applications of enabling techniques and recent advancements in 6G. It highlights various use cases, identifies open problems and proposes potential solutions. Additionally, it provides a development timeline that outlines global efforts in the realization of 6G wireless technology. The paper extensively discusses the potential impact of emerging technologies such as the Internet of NanoThings, the Internet of BioNanoThings and quantum communications on the field of wireless communications. These innovative technologies are considered promising in their early stages and have the potential to bring about substantial advancements in wireless communication systems. Figure 3 shows several crucial technology enablers that need to be addressed to accomplish the objectives of the networks that will evolve from 6G.