Monday, 5th June 2023

EU inaugurates next phase of 6G research, plans €250m on new projects

By Guardian Nigeria
12 October 2022   |   3:34 am
Sustainability, inclusion and trustworthiness are among the top priorities for the next stage of the European Commission’s 6G research programme.

Sustainability, inclusion and trustworthiness are among the top priorities for the next stage of the European Commission’s 6G research programme.
Unveiled late last week, Hexa-X-II will combine the work of 44 organisations to create a pre-standardised platform and system view of 6G. The aim is to give the industry a starting point that will inform eventual standardisation. The project will begin in January and run for the next two-and-a-half years.
While the first phase of the initiative, Hexa-X, was more of a cerebral effort to define the vision and capabilities of 6G, Hexa-X-II aims to start the really difficult work of turning this vision into reality. With that in mind, the 44 participants are drawn from across the telecoms value chain and include operators, vendors, technology providers, and representatives from different verticals, as well as research institutions.

Hexa-X-II is not only tasked with coming up with a blueprint for 6G technology, the Commission also has some societal challenges it wants to address. It wants 6G to use technologies that contribute to a zero-carbon footprint and limit material and energy consumption. 6G should also be inclusive, and not just something that benefits countries that are already rich. Trustworthiness is also high on the agenda; networks must be robust, and offer data transparency, security and privacy.

Nokia was put in charge of Hexa-X, and has been retained as project lead for Hexa-X-II.
President of Nokia’s Bell Labs Core Research, Peter Vetter, in a statement, said: “In the 6G era, the digital, physical and human worlds will become far more integrated.
“Our goals must reflect this level of integration and interdependence. As billions more people and devices get connected, urbanisation intensifies, and we strive to manage the limitations on energy and materials, the role of networks and 6G will only deepen. We must keep the larger context in mind as we imagine the new network.”
Meanwhile, Ericsson will continue to serve as technical manager.

Vice President and Head of Ericsson Research, Magnus Frodigh, in a separate statement, said: “Today’s networks have formed an intelligent digital infrastructure offering endless possibilities to individuals, enterprises, and governments worldwide.

“The increasing expectations set a clear target for us in the industry and research community – 6G should contribute to an efficient, human-friendly, sustainable society through ever-present intelligent communication.”
As lofty as these goals might be, when it comes to selling 6G service to consumers, odds are it will still be pitched as even faster broadband.
Hexa-X-II forms part of the EU’s Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU). Established last November as a practical extension of the bloc’s green and digital transition policy, it aims to align and coordinate member states’ 6G research efforts. It has a budget of €1.8 billion – half of which comes from EU coffers – and provides research and innovation (R&I) grants.
On Friday, the SNS JU announced €250 million worth of funding for its first portfolio of research projects spanning the evolution from so-called ‘mid-term’ 5G to experimental infrastructures that could conceivably be used for 6G. It also covers the development of testbeds and vertical-specific trials and pilot schemes.


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