One billion dollars hit the table in 2020 to kick start 6G communications. As the new IDTechEx report, “6G Communications Market, Devices, Materials 2021-2041” explains, it was concerned with hardware as much as software. That will continue as funding escalates to widespread deployment around 2030. New generations come about every ten years but this one is different. Effectively instant transfer of the finest image detail, working high aloft and underwater and internet to everyone are only a part of the objective. A better smartphone and smart watch arrive but not as the main advance.
For the first time, 6G will provide power with the signal so batteryless devices arrive. The Internet of Things IoT moves from puffed to possible in billions, nodal energy harvesting moving from hopeless to adequate. With 6G, for the first time, sensing, positioning and distributed intelligence are central to the basic concept and design.
Much of the essential new hardware needed does not exist. Think software-programmable metasurfaces, adequate THz transistors and solar drones in the stratosphere for five years at a time. Tens of thousands of extra low-orbit satellites must be deployed but this is a battle for national supremacy. Consequently, tens of billions of dollars will be invested by governments and companies to create the trillions of dollars of possible benefits. Added-value material suppliers will see graphene and metamaterials become very important for thermal, optical, electrical and electronic functions. Widely useful in 5G, lll-V compounds will become even more important. What else? Billions of dollars of devices and materials business await.
“6G Communications Market, Devices, Materials 2021-2041” looks at the overall 6G systems, players and rationale and only here can you learn the device and materials opportunities arising. Unique are a new 2021-2041 6G roadmap of frequency decisions, component breakthroughs and key initiatives ahead, the transition from 5G and background market forecasts. The work has been carried out by IDTechEx PhD level analysts worldwide interviewing in local languages and building on the analysis in their best-selling reports on 5G. The emphasis is commercial not historical or academic. The presentation is mainly in the form of easily-absorbed new infographics, tables, photographs and graphs.
The Executive Summary and Conclusions is sufficient for those wanting the quick read. Here is the big picture and 14 primary conclusions overall from our analysis of the research and what is technically needed and achievable. Then come 10 primary conclusions about 6G materials, a 2021-2041 roadmap and background forecasts. The Introduction then covers definitions, context, intentions, challenges-that-are-opportunities and then basics of some of the key materials.
Chapters 3, through 6 cover key devices and equipment for 6G. The essential intelligent reconfigurable surfaces/ software-controlled metasurfaces come first. Next is provision of device power by Wireless Information and Energy Transmission WIET, energy harvesting and 6G impact on sensing. Then come optical devices and THz antennas for 6G and then THz transceivers, transistors, diodes, emitters. Chapter 6 assesses widest-area backhaul/ fronthaul in the form of solar HAPS drones including inflatables plus LEO & GEO satellites.
Chapters 8 through 10 concern most of the key functional materials for 6G, others having been already covered in earlier chapters. Here are a chapter on graphene for 6G, then lll-V and SiGe then polymers and low loss materials including liquid crystal and fluoropolymers. Chapter 11 explains 5G and its transition to 6G and Chapter 12 gives some company profiles.