RST Software
Editorial Team
Ross Krawczyk
Reviewed by a tech expert

Understanding the impact of 5G vs 6G on mobile app development

Read this articles in:

In a world where every millisecond counts, imagine a realm where data travels faster than thought, where apps respond before you even realize you have made a request. Welcome to the transformative universe of 6G.

From the analog 1G and the foundational days of 2G and 3G, which primarily catered to voice and text communication, to the data-centric era of 4G, and now the growing age of 5G, the mobile communication landscape has undergone a seismic shift. And as 5G continues its global deployment, the whispers of AI-native 6G grow louder. What implications do these advancements hold for mobile app development? And what are the differences between 5G vs 6G? We shall find out.

Source: Rohde & Schwarz

Introduction to 5G and 6G

The evolution of mobile communication has been nothing short of remarkable. From basic voice communication to high-speed data transfer, in a short time we have witnessed technological disruptions.

What is 5G

The fifth generation of cellular network technology, 5G, represents a monumental shift from its predecessor, 4G LTE. Initiated in April of 2019 with Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband officially launched in Chicago and Minneapolis, 5G not only promised but also achieved speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. This velocity, a whopping 30 times faster than the 4G LTE-Advanced's peak, has paved the way for previously inconceivable applications, setting the stage for the Internet of Things and autonomous cars.

What is 6G

Even as 5G is still finding its footing, the tech community is eagerly eyeing 6G. Slated for a commercial launch by 2030, 6G is projected to outpace 5G considerably. Early tests in Chinese labs have clocked speeds reaching an astounding 206.25 gigabits per second.

6G is also expected to surpass previous generations in energy efficiency, considered a key design element, alongside other factors like capacity, top data speeds, response time, and dependability. The goal for 6G is to enhance network energy efficiency by a factor of 100, all the while maintaining top-notch service quality and user experience. This enhancement will be realized by integrating eco-friendly design principles and inherent AI functionalities, allowing for component deactivation and capacity reduction during periods of decreased demand. By leveraging digital advancements, 6G can support upcoming applications and contribute to sustainable energy use.

5G vs 6G

The leap between 5G and 6G is not merely about speed. 5G vs 6G is also about the latency and frequency bands they operate in. 6G is poised to revolutionize connectivity by offering the expansive spectrum that promises even swifter data transfers and enhanced reliability:

  • Speed: 5G offers theoretical speeds of up to 20 Gbps per second, while 6G is anticipated to reach rates of up to 1 Tbps.
  • Latency: 5G has an end-to-end delay of 1 to 5 ms, while 6G is anticipated to have substantially lower latency, which will result in almost instantaneous data transfer.
  • Frequency bands: 5G occupies broadband frequencies at sub-6 gigahertz (GHz) and above 24.25 GHz – called low band and high band frequencies respectively. 6G will operate at 95 GHz to 3 terahertz (THz), because extremely high frequencies provide access to wider bandwidths, which can enable applications such as holographic communication and digital twinning. 

The transition from 5G's capabilities to 6G's potential paints a picture of a future brimming with unparalleled opportunities spanning from extended reality (XR) and 3D online gaming to brain machine interfaces.

Impact of 5G and 6G on mobile app development

The introduction of 5G and the forthcoming 6G have profound implications for mobile app development. Firstly, in terms of speed, making real-time data processing a standard for all kinds of application.

When it comes to latency, 5G introduced Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), which significantly reduces the delay between sending and receiving data. However, 5G URLLC does not fulfill all the requirements set for applications like industrial automation and Meta-Universe. 6G aims to push this envelope further, promising even more instantaneous responses.

The enhanced connectivity of these networks, especially with 5G's capability to support up to a million devices per square kilometer and 6G's potential to surpass this, paves the way for a more interconnected world. This means apps can now be more integrated, fostering a seamless IoT environment.

Leveraging these advancements in the 5G vs 6G equation, developers can introduce new features and functionalities in apps, such as augmented reality experiences, real-time voice translations, or even more advanced AI-driven functionalities. With these advancements come challenges, however. Developers will need to adapt to new programming paradigms and possibly new languages tailored for these high-speed networks. Ensuring backward compatibility for devices still on 4G or even 3G networks will remain a concern.

Moreover, with the potential for more intricate app functionalities, there is an increased risk of security vulnerabilities, making robust security protocols paramount. As the tech world stands on the cusp of this new era, developers must equip themselves with the knowledge and tools to harness the full potential of 5G and 6G while navigating the challenges they present.

Real-world 5G and 6G implementation usage

Beyond the confines of theory and controlled environments, 5G and 6G are already making waves across diverse sectors. These trailblazing technologies are redefining industries, establishing new standards for connectivity, efficiency, and innovation.

  • Smart cities: While the idea of smart cities is not new, 5G has breathed life into this vision. The Alba Iulia Smart City in Romania, a collaborative effort with Orange, stands as a testament. This avant-garde initiative boasts features like real-time congestion monitoring, intuitive parking sensors guiding drivers to free spots, and innovative waste management systems promoting urban cleanliness.

    Both 5G and 6G technologies will also play a vital role in enabling AI-powered city planning and design in the not-so-distant future.
  • IoT connectivity – The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to redefine urban existence. Empowered by application of 5G technology, Internet of Things (IoT) devices can seamlessly communicate, laying the foundation for integrated smart cities. From adaptive traffic management systems to utilities that morph based on usage patterns, city life is evolving towards heightened efficiency and sustainability.
  • Autonomous vehicles: The domain of autonomous vehicles is a thrilling technological frontier. Waymo, which embarked on its journey as the Google Self-Driving Car Project in 2009, has underscored 5G's significance in its developmental trajectory. Leveraging 5G's ultra-responsive nature and rapid data transfer capabilities, autonomous vehicles can interact with their environment and fellow vehicles in real-time, making split-second decisions to ensure safety and streamline traffic.
  • Drones – Drones have transitioned from being mere recreational tools to indispensable assets across industries. With 5G at their core, drones are now pivotal for equipment inspections in utilities, ensuring proactive maintenance and minimizing downtimes. In the realms of logistics and retail, drone deliveries are being explored, promising expedited delivery timelines and operational cost reductions.
  • Smart factories: The manufacturing arena is too witnessing a paradigm shift, courtesy of 5G. Contemporary smart factories are increasingly integrating robots into their production lines, ensuring unparalleled precision and efficiency. These 5G-connected robots collaborate seamlessly, refining production workflows. Additionally, 5G-powered drones are emerging as the preferred mode for last-mile deliveries, promising swifter and more efficient customer experience  to consumers.

These tangible 5G applications, coupled with 6G's prospective capabilities, underscore the transformative essence of these technologies. As industries continue their innovative pursuits, a future characterized by heightened connectivity, efficiency, and innovation beckons.

Future of mobile app development with 6G

Picture a day in the 2030s: A domestic robot serves your morning brew, you browse the news on a mixed-reality device, put on an intelligent exoskeleton suit, and step into your autonomous vehicle. All this while, your personal AI assistant outlines the day's agenda. In short, this is the transformative potential 6G technology offers to mobile app development. But the possibilities extends even further:

  • Network-enabled robotics and autonomous systems: 6G's ultra-reliable, low-latency, and high-throughput connectivity can empower robots and drones to execute intricate tasks across sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and entertainment.
  • Multisensory extended reality: 6G can facilitate immersive experiences combining holographic communication, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality with multi-sensory feedback, unlocking new avenues in education, entertainment, and social interaction.
  • Distributed sensing and communication: 6G's ability to harness vast sensor and actuator arrays can enable real-time data collection, processing, and transmission, catalyzing innovations in smart cities, environmental monitoring, and remote healthcare.
  • Personalized user experiences: 6G can offer bespoke services tailored to individual user needs, encompassing context-awareness, personalization, and emotion recognition.

Another realm where 6G shines is telemedicine. Visualize a surgeon remotely operating on an international patient using a robotic arm equipped with haptic feedback. This procedure demands real-time sensory inputs without any lags or disruptions, a feat 6G can achieve.

However, realizing these visions requires overcoming challenges like spectrum scarcity, energy efficiency, and security concerns. Hence, proactive exploration of 6G's potential is crucial to prepare for the next mobile communication generation.

Recommendations for developers

For developers keen on harnessing the full potential of 5G and preparing for the impending 6G era, it is essential to adopt a forward-thinking approach. Here are some comprehensive recommendations:

  • Optimize for speed and latency: Exploit the enhanced speeds and reduced latencies of 5G to boost app performance and user experience. Developers focused on designing apps that fully exploit these benefits create apps that can handle high data throughput, ensuring smooth in-app interactions, and minimizing buffering or loading times. The goal is to provide users with an experience that feels instantaneous and seamless.
  • Integrate real-time data and cloud computing: Superior 5G and 6G connectivity allows apps to efficiently access real-time data, facilitating dynamic content updates based on user behavior or external factors. Additionally, leveraging cloud computing can provide scalable storage solutions and facilitate real-time collaboration among users.
  • Utilize specialized tools: Tools like Qualcomm's 5G Software Development Kit (SDK) or IBM's 5G Edge Services can optimize app development for these advanced networks. These solutions provide frameworks and libraries that can significantly streamline the development process, ensuring apps are optimized for high-speed performance.
  • Adopt cloud-native and edge computing architectures: Traditional app architectures might not suffice in the 5G and 6G era. Adopting cloud-native architectures ensures that apps are modular and scalable. Furthermore, edge computing allows data processing at the source, be it IoT or mobile devices, reducing latency and ensuring real-time data processing.
  • Stay abreast of industry standards: Keep updated with the latest in the 5G and 6G ecosystem, such as standards set by organizations like the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which develops and maintains global technical specifications and reports for mobile communication systems; or initiatives like the Next G Alliance aiming at advancing mobile technology even further.

Understanding these guidelines is pivotal. They not only ensure app optimization for contemporary technologies but also offer a roadmap for developers in this rapidly evolving tech landscape.

How RST can help you stay on top of latest technology trends and build future-proof mobile apps

By staying updated and integrating the latest advancements, startups can ensure their apps remain relevant, efficient, and user-centric in the forthcoming years. With 5G already making ripples and 6G on the anvil, the opportunities for startups are simply boundless.

However, in the ever-evolving realm of mobile app development, staying ahead is crucial. RST is your ally in ensuring that your brand not only keeps pace with technological strides but also distinguishes itself in a saturated market by leveraging potential of both 5G and 6G technologies.

With a compelling and future-oriented mobile app, your business can access audiences previously out of reach. RST excels in crafting mobile apps that deliver native-like performance across all devices, ensuring rapid, cost-effective solutions. By leveraging React Native's potential, we build apps both functional and aesthetically pleasing, from inception to fruition. Leverage our expertise as we navigate you through mobile app architecture nuances, ensuring scalability and peak performance. With our deep-rooted expertise and commitment to excellence, you can be confident that your app is primed to embrace tomorrow's challenges.

Reach us via our contact form should you want to discuss your project.

People also ask

No items found.
Want more posts from the author?
Read more

Want to read more?

CTO Corner

Introduction to data-centric AI

Explore the fundamentals of data-centric AI. Unlock insights into harnessing data for powerful AI applications.
CTO Corner

Introduction to Data Lakes – how to deploy them in the cloud?

Get started with data lakes in the cloud. Learn deployment strategies and harness the power of data for your organization.
CTO Corner

Introduction to data warehouses: use cases, design and more

Discover the benefits and use cases of data warehouses in this comprehensive introduction. Unlock data-driven insights for success.
No results found.
There are no results with this criteria. Try changing your search.