6G SYMPOSIUM: AT&T executive Mazin Gilbert cited AI, edge infrastructure and further reductions in latency as critical areas of focus for the next generation of mobile technology if it is to truly go beyond the capabilities offered by 5G.
The VP of network analytics and automation said 6G networks will require 100-times the data throughput of 5G, adding edge cloud deployments will need to expand to cover “hundreds of thousands of millions” of access points “basically everywhere”.
Such a shift is necessary to enable sub-millisecond latency for future use cases and allow compute, storage and AI capabilities to keep pace with user requirements: “Imagine in your streets where you have ten households all running holographic communications. You really can’t afford to have all the processing happening in some centralised cloud.”
He added there is a “tremendous” opportunity to push AI deeper into the network, noting it could be employed to optimise spectrum use and traffic flows; reduce interference; and lower costs associated with network planning and energy consumption.
Gilbert noted energy remains “one of the largest costs” for operators, explaining using AI to put equipment into standby or low-power modes when not in use without impacting customer experience is “an incredible opportunity as we move forward to 6G”.