China sends 'world's first 6G' test satellite into orbit
China Has Launched the World's First 6G Satellite. The West Don't Even Know What 6G Is Yet.
On November 6, China successfully launched a Long March 6 rocket and sent a payload of 13 satellites into orbit. Among them was what has been described as “the world’s first 6G satellite”, according to BBC. The problem? The rest of the world is still several years away from agreeing what 6G will even be.
The satellite is meant to trial new technology expected to be many times faster than 5G.
5G - what is considered the fifth, and most recent generation of cellular broadband networks—is still in its infancy. True 5G networks operate in millimeter-wave frequencies between 30 and 300 Gigahertz, which are 10 to 100 times higher frequency than previous 4G cellular network. (Some cell phone providers cheat, however, by claiming the upper end of the 4G spectrum as 5G).
The definition of these cellular generations are defined by a global partnership known as 3GPP, which has yet to clearly define 6G. Given the history of the never-ending march of technology, it's inevitable that 5G will be replaced by a new network in the future. It just isn’t clear what 6G will be.
The satellite, known as Tianyan-5, is a remote-sensing satellite jointly developed by the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology, and Beijing Weina Xingkong Technology. In addition to Earth observations, the satellite will test a high-frequency terahertz communication payload that could send data at speeds several times faster than 5G.