After Finland, Japan teams up with the United States to challenge China on 6G technology

After Finland, Japan is joining forces with the United States to challenge China on 6G technology. Source: Getty/AFP

  • the United States and Japan are both technological powers t
  • Japan’s Ministry of Interior and Communications plans to invite companies to form a 6G consortium by September.
  • So far, the plan is to commercialize chip-scale atomic clock technology by 2025.

like china accelerates advances in sixth-generation communication technology, countries around the world have made greater efforts to keep pace. In fact, the economic and political forces that will define 6G have been at play, particularly over the past two years. More recently, in an effort to compete with China, Japan and the United States agreed to work together to develop international standards for 6G unmanned technology.

To be fair, there have been significant advancements in the 6G sector, especially from China, Japan and the United States, even when most of the world has yet to experience the benefits of a 5G network. As it stands, China is already recognized as the world leader in 5G and that status will likely remain for 6G given the progress the country has made in this space.

The nation aims to commercialize 6G by 2030according to world times. Therefore, the United States and Japan have hopes of surpassing Beijing here, so they have collaborated to achieve the goal. For starters, in April 2021, US President Joe Biden and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga agreed to jointly invest US$4.5 billion for next-generation communication development.

It is, however, fair to note that China’s progress with its 6G technology is commendable. This month, a Chinese laboratory makes a breakthrough in real-time terahertz 100/200 Gbit/s 6G-oriented wireless communication with what he claimed was the fastest speed ever recorded. The project achieved single wavelength net throughput of 103.125 Gbps and dual wavelength terahertz wireless transmission with net throughput of 206.25 Gbps.

Therefore, Japan and the United States aim to invest in research, development, testing and deployment of secure networks and advanced information and communications technologies, according to a fact sheet released after the two leaders met in Washington. According to reports, the call for “secure and open” 5G networks, including the advancement of Open Radio Access Networks (Open-RAN), reflects the intention of both countries to create an alternative to a communication led by China.

Deepening US-Japan ties with unmanned 6G technology

After forging ties in mid-2021, the United States and Japan were still not slowing down their efforts to prevent Chinese companies from dominating the 6G domain. In fact, the duration of the United States-Japan Partnership for Competitiveness and Resilience (CoRe) is considerably broader and includes biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information, science and technology, civil space cooperation (including the Artemis program and asteroid exploration) and technologies for secure information and communications (ICT), among others.

But strategically the most important of these is the focus on 5G and 6G in particular and digital connectivity in general. With regard to unmanned technology, a sector that is experiencing intense growth, both in Japan and in the United States aims to lead the creation of international standards before China.

Currently, Chinese companies like Huawei, Alibaba and Tencent aim to make their 6G unmanned technology international standards. That said, Japan’s Ministry of Interior and Communications may call on companies to form a 6G consortium by September, according to the report. Nikkei Asia.

The consortium would draw on a range of industries, including those involved in communications devices, mobiles, drones, watchmaking and automobiles. This same group will also invite American partners who are strong in software and who are committed to overseas expansion.

So far, chip-scale atomic clock technology is expected to be commercialized by 2025. These components act as sensors and are considered indispensable for real-time remote control. Their inclusion in automated vehicles and drones can allow precise determination of time and their locations, as atomic clocks on GPS satellites currently do.

It has also been reported that the Japanese Ministry of Communication may partly support funding for research and development as well as pilot testing. The funding would last for four years starting in 2022. “The ministry will consider supplying the consortium with technology for specialty semiconductors developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, an R&D organization overseen by the ministry,” Nikkei’s report shows.

As a reminder, Japan has sought partnerships for 6G. Even the Japanese and Finnish industry groups, in June last year, agreed lead 6G research and development. The group, which includes Finnish telecommunications provider Nokia, wants to lead the formation of 6G standards. The partnership includes exchange of information and publications, exchange of personnel and collaborative research and development projects.

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