News

Rising above 5G towards a Better World

2021-07-12 Academic

Professor Een-Kee Hong at the Department of Electronic Engineering received a Service Merit Medal on “Men of Merit in Information Technology Day”

In the early days, the Korean mobile telecommunication industry had to rely on technologies developed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other leading countries. However, Korea quickly emerged as a global leader for the fourth- and fifth-generation mobile technologies. Professor Een-Kee Hong (Electronic Engineering) made a significant contribution to the development of 5G technology, which earned him a Service Merit Medal on the Men of Merit in Information Technology Day.

Professor Hong laid the groundwork for Korea’s mobile communications industry in the initial stage, devoting himself to technological development. His focus was mainly on frequencies. He defined frequency as “the path on which radio waves travel. Clearing space for the path is prerequisite to commercializing mobile communication. You should understand the entire domain of mobile communication. For example, how many frequencies should be allocated? Which content should use which frequency?”

Professor Hong participated in policymaking for the 5G mobile communication as the chair of the 5G Spectrum Consultative Committee (Ministry of Science & ICT). Disagreements among interested parties are unavoidable in policymaking. Government departments, academia, and the industry each has its own demands. “We cannot satisfy all the demands in the policymaking process. It is important to rely only on accurate technologies to stay unbiased,” he stressed.

Going on beyond 5G to 6G
Professor Hong pointed out that 5G is characterized by the “connection between people and things.” While the previous generations of telecom technologies simply connected people and people, the fifth has transcended the limits of the people boundary and forged a connection between people and things. He said, “This new connection gives rise to new industries such as smart cities, smart factories, and autonomous vehicles.”

Unfortunately, prospects for the 5G market are not always bright. His suggestion is, “New industries brought on by 5G have failed to explode. Let us step up technological advancement.” He also advised that Korean mobile communication carriers should pay attention to creating a B2B market in addition to the existing B2C one.

His recent interest is in how to move from 5G to 6G. Compared with 5G, the sixth generation is faster in speed, broader in coverage, and wider in usability. He said, "We are giving shape to 6G now. My research is to figure out which technology will represent this new generation.” He also supported education and training of young talents in the 6G industry to further the research.

“I want to reduce the social divide with new technologies.”
Professor Hong also talked about his long-term goal of social contributions with new technologies. The Professor has given many presentations on 5G to researchers and policymakers from abroad. Once, an international bureaucrat sitting at one of those events came to him after his lecture and asked, “Can technology reduce the social divide?” “The question is still lingering in my mind. I am looking for ways to reduce the growing inequality between the rich and the poor,” said Professor Hong.

For example, smart factories can equip small businesses with competitiveness edge in production to narrow the gap with large corporations. Take smart cities. If successfully implemented, they will provide good living environments to non-metropolitan residents. His hope and plan are, "Research to reduce social disparities agrees with Kyung Hee’s pursuit of Academe and Peace. The University has a diverse talent pool of professionals, and I would like to push ahead with my research by virtue of this excellent human infrastructure.”

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