Samsung outlines spectrum needs for 6G, IDs candidate technologies

Yanitsa Boyadzhieva
By Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

May 10, 2022

  • Samsung shares its 6G vision and research findings in a new white paper
  • The South Korean vendor stresses the importance of expanded spectrum availability 
  • All available frequency bands should be considered to enable cutting-edge services such as holograms and immersive extended reality (XR) 
  • The company also identifies multiple ‘candidate technologies’ for the next-generation era

Global technology giant Samsung Electronics has unveiled its vision for a 6G era of mobile holograms and immersive extended reality (XR) in a white paper that stresses the importance of extending spectrum availability and researching multiple ‘candidate technologies’ to unlock the full potential of the future communications technology.

In its ‘6G Spectrum: Expanding the Frontier’ paper, the company has identified a need for obtaining spectrum with ultra-wideband contiguous bandwidth, with a range between hundreds of MHz to tens of GHz, if companies are to develop novel services such as “high-fidelity mobile holograms and truly immersive extended reality,” which will require ultra-high-speed communications to enable quality of service. 

As greater coverage requirements are also expected in the 6G era, the South Korean company recommended all available bands to be considered for use – from low-band under 1GHz, to mid-band in the 1GHz-24GHz range and high-band in the 24GHz-300GHz range.

In addition, Samsung’s research emphasised the need for new bands to be secured for commercial deployments of 6G, as 5G networks will still be in operation when the next-generation technology is introduced. Samsung has identified potential within the mid-band 7GHz-24GHz range for “faster data speed and reasonable coverage”, and in the sub-terahertz (sub-THz) band in the 92GHz-300GHz range to support “ultra-high speed data rate”.

The white paper also suggested the potential for repurposing (so-called ‘refarming’) bands allocated for 3G, 4G and 5G mobile services so that all frequencies can eventually be deployed to meet the needs of 6G applications. 

Samsung also urged for research into “forward-looking regulations and technologies” on spectrum utilisation, claiming this is “essential” for supporting 6G and related services.

‘Candidate technologies’

The South Korea-based tech giant also shared insights into the technologies that could enable the 6G era:

  • Sub-THz could be a potential spectrum frequency band for 6G communications. This spectrum is tipped to be enable data rates of up to 1 Terabit per second (Tbit/s), which is far beyond the capacity of any 5G platform. The vendor said it successfully demonstrated a 6 Gbit/s data rate over 15 metres indoors in June 2021, and 12 Gbit/s over 30 metres indoors and 2.3 Gbit/s over 120 metres outdoors this year.
  • Reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) panel technology can enhance the beam sharpness and steer or reflect a wireless signal to a desired location. Such technology can reduce penetration loss and improve the effectiveness of high-frequency mmWave signals. Kyocera is also developing such technology.
  • Cross division duplex (XDD) is highlighted as another ‘candidate’, capable of improving the propagation distance of uplink signals by up to two times in the time-division duplexing (TDD) system, which the company stated can lead to “dramatically enhancing the coverage of the TDD system often used in high-frequency bands”.
  • Full duplex is another contender, allowing for simultaneous data transmission and reception using the same frequency: This can increase data speeds by up to two times. Samsung said it has conducted a trial of the technology in the mmWave band, using a base station and a terminal located 100 metres apart – the result was a 1.9x improvement in the data rate, according to the vendor.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)-based nonlinearity compensation (AI-NC) could be used to improve the coverage and quality of high-rate data signals. Samsung’s own demonstration has shown 1.9 times better coverage for high-speed uplink data and 1.5 times enhancement of the transmission speed in a given coverage area.
  • AI-based energy saving (AI-ES) is also an important potential technology, capable of using AI tools to reduce energy consumed at the base station. It does so by adjusting parameters which can switch the power on or off at selected cells depending on traffic load, leaving network performance unaffected, Samsung said. After trying the technology itself in a real data-based replicated simulation, the company recorded energy saving of more than 10 per cent.

Sunghyun Choi, EVP and Head of the Advanced Communications Research Center at Samsung Research, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to “taking the lead” in understanding, developing and standardising 6G. He added that Samsung’s vision entails bringing “the next hyper-connected experience to every corner of life.”

His comments follow up on colossal investment plans the company unveiled in August 2021, which include pouring $205 billion into futuristic products and innovations tailored for the 6G era. (See Samsung’s mammoth investment plans include 5G/6G.)

SoftBank is another good example of a big-name company eyeing a pioneering and leading role in the 6G era, while investments have been made and R&D efforts underway in Finland, the US, Japan and Germany.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV 

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