A team of researchers, including scientists from HSE University, have investigated the influence of human movement on the propagation of 6G signals. Within a range of up to 10 metres, the signal attenuation is comparatively minor, yet brief connection failures may still occur. Based on the study findings, a blockage detection algorithm has been developed to account for both signal attenuation and interruptions. The gaming industry is likely to derive the greatest benefits from this discovery. A paper with the study findings has been published in Computer Communications.
The sixth generation of mobile communication standards, known as 6G, is scheduled for implementation by providers starting in 2028. Sixth-generation communication networks will use currently unused frequencies ranging from 30 to 3000 GHz and offer high data transfer rates (1 Tb/sec with a wired connection and 100 Gb/sec with a wireless connection) along with minimal delays of 1 ms.
The multibillion-dollar gaming industry eagerly awaits the arrival of the new standard. The high data-transfer rate will enable real-time strategy (RTS) games and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games—where every second is crucial—to eliminate the delay between the controller's movements and the in-game response. Drones and VR helmets will instantly transmit images to devices, brain-implanted chips will benefit from improved functionality, and self-driving cars will be less prone to accidents.
The adoption of the sixth-generation data transfer protocol requires that the industry deal with rather unconventional challenges. For instance, 6G networks are highly sensitive to the shaking of both transmitters and receivers and to the movement of objects, especially people. The short waves of the 6G standard dissipate even in the presence of water vapour in the air, making a crowded shopping mall a challenging environment for the standard to function. Both scientists and the industry require a model that describes the blockage of the signal by the human body, along with an algorithm to mitigate such blockages.
Currently, there are no available algorithms for detecting blockages in 6G radio access channels, while the solutions proposed for 5G systems cannot be directly applied. Numerous additional factors must be considered, and answers to some questions can only be obtained empirically, including the impact of users themselves on the quality of communication.
MIEM researchers conducted an experiment to investigate how a person passing between a receiver (Rx) and a transmitter (Tx) influences the signal. They installed Tx and Rx at distances of 3, 5, and 7 metres from each other, observing the signal changes at the levels of the person's chest and head. This distribution reflects how the 6G radio signal will interact with controllers and wearable virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) devices. Based on the findings from the experiment, the researchers developed a model illustrating how the received signal strength varies under different conditions.
The results of the experiment indicate that when transmitting from point to point within a range of 3–7 metres, the 6G radio signal weakens by 8–15 dB. Signal losses are more pronounced at short distances and diminish at longer distances. The developed algorithms for modelling and detecting signal blockages will ensure a more accurate and effective identification of potential obstacles in data transmission, enhancing the reliability and stability of 6G.
Moreover, our research has revealed that partial overlap of the ‘field of view’ of the receiver by the human body can lead not only to a decrease, but also to an increase in the received signal strength in 6G radio access channels. This phenomenon, known as a diffraction signature, can be observed under certain configurations of space and obstacles. It can eventually be used to detect signal blockages caused by a moving object when developing methods to enhance the stability of wireless connections in 6G networks.