China has launched the world’s first 6G satellite. We don’t even know what 6G is yet.

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[Reading level: B2 – Upper Intermediate]

On November 6, China successfully launched a Long March 6 rocket and sent a payload of 13 satellites into orbit. Among them was what has been described as “the world’s first 6G satellite”, according to BBC. The problem? The rest of the world is still several years away from agreeing what 6G will even be.

 

5G – what is considered the fifth, and most recent generation of cellular broadband networks – is still in its infancy. True 5G networks operate in millimeter-wave frequencies between 30 and 300 Gigahertz, which are 10 to 100 times higher frequency than previous 4G cellular network. (Some cell phone providers cheat, however, by claiming the upper end of the 4G spectrum as 5G).

 

The definition of these cellular generations are defined by a global partnership known as 3GPP, which has yet to clearly define 6G. Given the history of the never-ending march of technology, it’s inevitable that 5G will be replaced by a new network in the future. It just isn’t clear what 6G will be.

 

The satellite, known as Tianyan-5, is a remote-sensing satellite jointly developed by the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology, and Beijing Weina Xingkong Technology. In addition to Earth observations, the satellite will test a high-frequency terahertz communication payload that could send data at speeds several times faster than 5G.

 

As cellular networks become increasingly congested, and the demand for faster speeds and lower latency continues to grow, cellular providers are looking at higher bandwidths for the next generation of cellular technology.

 

Terahertz waves (THz), which are submillimeter waves sitting between microwave and infrared light on the electromagnetic spectrum, have been used to achieve data rates greater than 100 Gbps. Unfortunately, THz waves share an Achilles’ Heel with the millimeter waves used in 5G. Water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere is a strong absorber of terahertz radiation, limiting the range of THz applications. The same issue continues to slow the widespread development of 5G, and will likely hinder the rollout of 6G if it uses THz waves.

 

The new technology may also stoke similar fears faced by the rollout of 5G. The raising of 5G towers in cities caused conspiracy theories to flourish. Without any evidence, people have falsely linked the COVID-19 pandemic to 5G, which may have motivated residents of the U.K. to burn down nearly 80 cell phone towers in recent months.

 

Meanwhile, astronomers threatened to sue SpaceX for its Starlink constellation of communication satellites for jeopardizing the future of ground-based astronomy observations. Observatories already go to great lengths to avoid light pollution from the lights of cities and radio waves from cell towers. A blanket of communication satellites orbiting earth has the potential to blind observatories looking at certain wavelengths of light.

 

Tianyan-5 launched aboard the Chinese-built rocket with Earth-observing satellites from the Argentinian company Satellogic. In a sun-synchronous orbit, the satellites will provide high-resolution images covering 1.5 million square miles (4 square kilometers) a day with high enough resolution to discern individual trees in a forest. The satellite could help stop illegal-logging in forests and manage crop disasters. Time will tell whether Tianyan-5 will be the next “G” for cell phones.

 

Source: https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/satellites/a34739258/china-launches-first-6g-satellite/?utm_campaign=socialflowFBPOP&utm_medium=social-media&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR1YmQfvTMXWQmw5TOvQrjuRxR0xt77eoduxxI7IMAsjtsQooFupSG4-0Tk

WORD BANK:

payload /ˈpeɪ.ləʊd/ (n): trọng tải

orbit /ˈɔː.bɪt/ (n): quỹ đạo

cellular broadband network (n): mạng di động băng thông rộng

in infancy /ˈɪn.fən.si/ [C2] (expression): vẫn còn sơ khai

frequency /ˈfriː.kwən.si/ (n): tần số

spectrum /ˈspek.trəm/ [C2] (n): dải quang phổ

define /dɪˈfaɪn/ [B2] (v): định nghĩa

the never-ending march of technology (expression): sự phát triển không ngừng của công nghệ

inevitable /ɪˈnev.ɪ.tə.bəl/ [C1] (adj): không thể tránh khỏi

remote sensing /rɪˌməʊt ˈsen.sɪŋ/ (n): viễn thám

congested /kənˈdʒes.tɪd/ (adj): tắc nghẽn

latency /ˈleɪ.tən.si/ (n): độ trễ

bandwidth /ˈbænd.wɪtθ/ (n): băng thông

infrared light /ˌɪn.frəˈred laɪt/ (n): ánh sáng hồng ngoại

electromagnetic /iˌlek.trəʊ.mæɡˈnet.ɪk/ (adj): thuộc về điện từ

Achilles’ Heel /əˌkɪl.iːz ˈhiːl/ (n): gót chân Achilles

water vapor /ˈwɑː.t̬ɚ ˌveɪ.pɚ/ (n): hơi nước

hinder /ˈhɪn.dər/ [C2] (v): cản trở

rollout /ˈrəʊlˌaʊt/ (n): việc triển khai

stoke (up) fear /stəʊk/ (v): làm tăng thêm sự lo sợ, lo ngại

conspiracy theory /kənˈspɪr.ə.si ˌθɪə.ri/ (n): thuyết âm mưu

flourish /ˈflʌr.ɪʃ/ [C2] (v): nở rộ, phát triển mạnh

pandemic /pænˈdem.ɪk/ (n): đại dịch

constellation /ˌkɒn.stəˈleɪ.ʃən/ (n): chòm sao, hệ thống vệ tinh

jeopardize /ˈdʒep.ə.daɪz/ (v): gây nguy hiểm

observatory /əbˈzɜː.və.tər.i/ (n): đài quan sát

go to great lengths to do sth (idiom): cố gắng hết sức để làm gì

synchronous /ˈsɪŋ.krə.nəs/ (adj): mang tính đồng bộ

high-resolution /ˌhaɪ.rez.əˈluː.ʃən/ (adj): độ phân giải cao

discern /dɪˈsɜːn/ (v – formal): phân biệt, nhận ra

illegal logging /ɪˈliː.ɡəl ˈlɒɡ.ɪŋ/ (n): khai thác gỗ trái phép


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