As we explained above, 5G operates at a higher frequency than 4G. So, 6G could be a technology that uses even higher frequency waves. Ultra-high frequency waves that are in the hundreds of MHz or even terahertz range are potentially achievable. But it won’t be easy.
Ultra-high frequency waves are tiny and fragile and we don’t currently have any semiconductors that can use these waves. We also don’t have a solution for the short range of these waves. The switch from 4G to 5G required a whole new infrastructure of closely-knit towers—you may have seen these going up in your hometown. But with ultra-high frequency waves, there would need to be transmitters in even more locations.
Beyond the infrastructural issues, there are also organizational problems. 6G could reach speeds of 1 Tbps, which is like transferring everything in your computer's hard drive wirelessly in under one second! That’s probably at least 1,000 times faster than your home broadband internet speeds (which you can test here).
That kind of speed will require intense security and management, and some theorists think the only way to achieve that will be through artificial intelligence and so-called “edge computing” technology.
Is this the beginning of the robot apocalypse? Or is it the next step towards a utopian Star Trek future? It’s probably neither. Despite the hype, 5G hasn’t fundamentally altered our world. But, if you’re patient, you’ll probably be able to find out for yourself.