What does 6G mean for spectrum policy?
Nov 04, 2021 by Toby Youell


Tags5G, 6G, mmWave, Spectrum sharing, THz

One of the perennial problems in spectrum management is that new demands come faster than ways to clear the airwaves. New technologies are always in development, but even with the most competent spectrum managers, it usually take years or even decades to clear frequencies for new uses.

Seeing as 6G networks may launch towards the end of this decade, it could be time to start drafting 6G spectrum strategies. But as we explain in the research note, 6G challenges for spectrum policymakers, such a strategy would be hard to write.

Intuitively, one might expect 6G to involve use of THz frequencies above 90 GHz. Indeed, when 5G was in development, the FCC quickly took steps to make available various mmWave bands. But even though several institutions are studying how these bands could be used, it is still not clear how or if THz bands could support 6G.

It seems very likely that 6G will require large bandwidths. If you exclude mmWave and THz frequencies, these are hard to find. To compensate for this, researchers into 6G are looking at spectrum sharing as a source of bandwidth.

The technical details of spectrum sharing, of course, are another perennial problems for spectrum management.

The research note, 6G challenges for spectrum policymakers is available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers as part of the new 6G Dossier.