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US scientists reach ‘world first’ 6G milestone for ultra-fast Wi-Fi connections

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WI-FI and mobile connections look set to become blisteringly fast in the not so distant future after experts uncovered a way to overcome a long-running problem.

6G will be thousands of times faster than the current 5G so a whole movie can be downloaded in less than a minute.

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6G is still in development and could be around from 2030Credit: Getty

China is expected to start rolling it out as soon as 2030.

Now scientists based in the US have come up with another trick to significantly boost speeds.

Researchers hope to one day make wireless networks more reliable, even in crowded or obstructed environments, enabling faster and more stable internet connections in places like offices or cities where obstacles are common.

One of the key changes that will make 6G faster is using much higher mobile frequencies than we do today.

The only snag is these signals are more prone to being blocked by physical objects.

So, they need a direct line of sight between a transmitter and receiver to deliver ultra-fast connections – which is a big challenge.

But researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas claim to have worked out how to carry out a “curved” data link.

That idea is self-accelerating beams, which naturally bend or curve to one side as they move through space.

This means they could get around the long-running issue of obstacles like buildings without jeopardising speed.

“This is the world’s first curved data link, a critical milestone in realising the 6G vision of high data rate and high reliability,” said Edward Knightly, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University.

Boost Your Wi-Fi: Easy Fixes for Faster Internet

Of course, there are some limitations to this early concept.

The biggest being that the tech was tested in a lab with very short distances instead of out in the wider world.

“One of the key questions that everybody asks us is how much can you curve and how far away,” explained Daniel Mittleman, a professor in Brown’s School of Engineering.

“We’ve done rough estimations of these things, but we haven’t really quantified it yet, so we hope to map it out.”

Hichem Guerboukha, who led the study as a postdoctoral researcher at Brown, added: “Curving a beam doesn’t solve all possible blockage problems, but what it does is solve some of them and it solves them in a way that’s better than what others have tried.”

CHINA VS USA: THE RACE TO 6G

5G isn’t even perfect in most countries yet but that hasn’t stopped researchers from soldiering on with the next generation, 6G.

And it’s become another race between the US and China.

According to the Center for a New American Security think tank, China “views telecommunications as central to its geopolitical and strategic objectives”.

“China aims to dominate the development and rollout of 6G infrastructure, just as it did in 5G, where Chinese firms maintain 70 percent of the world’s base stations and 80 percent of 5G connected devices,” the think tank said in November last year.

Then in February 2024, the US, UK and several other allies announced a joint statement to work together on 6G – in an apparent dig at China.

Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden are also part of the shared 6G development principles, saying that by “working together we can support open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, resilient, and secure connectivity”.

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