According to the current mainstream definition, 6G is actually an extension of 5G. The transmission speed of 5G is already quite fast, but 6G is even hundreds of times faster, and the network latency may also drop from milliseconds to microseconds.
The envisioned 6G base station will be able to connect to hundreds or even thousands of wireless connections simultaneously, achieving seamless global coverage, and network signals will be able to reach any remote village.
5G+ satcom network is actually building a fully connected world that integrates ground wireless and satcom, combining traditional ground communication with satcom to form an "earth-space interconnection" effect, in order to achieve higher transmission speeds and more comprehensive coverage.
However, can this form be realized? We need to first understand satcom communication.
Compared with traditional cellular network communication, the wireless signal of satcom is relayed by satcoms, and a single node can cover a larger service area. After completing the deployment of the satcom network, communication satcoms can complete the signal relay process in orbit, and relay the information between mobile phones and satcom base stations in a relay manner.
Due to considerations of delay, interference, and cost, modern civil satcom communication mainly uses low-earth-orbit satcoms. Compared with communication satcoms in other orbits, low-earth-orbit communication satcoms have shorter transmission delays, smaller path losses, and constellations composed of multiple satcoms can achieve true global coverage, and frequency reuse is more effective. In addition, technologies such as point beams and multiple access also provide technical support for low-earth-orbit satcom mobile communication. Therefore, low-earth-orbit communication satcoms are considered one of the most promising satcom mobile communication technologies.
However, the current satcom communication tariff is particularly expensive, and its biggest role is currently for emergency rescue.
Currently, the coverage of 3G/4G/5G mobile communications in the world is only about 30% of the land area, and it cannot cover areas such as deserts, Gobi, oceans, remote mountain areas, and both poles.
If an emergency occurs during maritime transportation or getting lost in the desert, most of these areas cannot be covered by ordinary base stations. Therefore, using a satcom communication network to send rescue signals or communications containing geographic location information is very practical.
If ordinary mobile phones use satcoms for communication directly, many difficulties and problems need to be solved. Among them, the transmission power of the mobile phone is the biggest limiting factor. This is because we use consumer electronic products. In order to prevent electromagnetic radiation from causing damage to human health, regulatory agencies of various governments around the world have established corresponding maximum indicator powers.
In other words, the power of ordinary mobile phones is much smaller than the transmit power of satcom terminals. It is really difficult to directly communicate with satcoms several hundred or even thousands of kilometers above the ground with such small power.
Considering human health, it is impossible to increase the power of ordinary mobile phones. Can the sensitivity of the receiving antenna of the satcom be increased?
Some satcom communication companies have come up with a solution- installing a super wind ear on the satcom, and are researching larger satcom receiving antennas. A wind ear with an area of up to 64 square meters is hoped to be able to directly receive signals from ordinary mobile phones sent from the ground. I believe that in the near future, we can safely use satcom on mobile phones.
Since it is possible to apply satcom to mobile phones in the future, the view that 6G is "5G+ satcom network" is partly reasonable but not comprehensive.
Based on the current global network concept, the scientific and industrial communities have envisioned 6G from different perspectives. Their common goal is that the communication indicators of 6G will be 10-100 times higher than those of 5G. The 6G network will not only have high speed, large bandwidth, and low latency, but also will explode in sensing, imaging, and positioning.
The future 6G will include various access methods: ground mobile cellular based on the 6G protocol (similar to the current 5G), satcom communication networks, as well as drone communication, visible light communication, and so on. Together they will form 6G, building an integrated space, air, sea and land network to achieve seamless global connectivity.
At the same time, 6G will also be deeply integrated with artificial intelligence technology to build an intelligent network, connecting the physical world and the virtual world. That is, human-machine-things-virtual space will be interconnected, laying a solid foundation for the Metaverse.
Of course, 6G technology is still under exploration today, and there is no globally unified final definition. It is expected that the first version of the 6G protocol will be truly released around 2028.
BIRDSAT believes that in the composition of 6G, the satcom communication network will also become an essential part, and it will expand from serving people and things on the basis of 5G, further expanding to support the efficient interconnection of a large number of intelligent entities, achieving a leap from the Internet of Things to the Internet of Everything, and finally helping human society to realize the beautiful vision of "Internet of Everything, Digital twins".