Monday, 14 June 2021

Europe developing its 6G vision

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 08 June 21

A new white paper from the 5G Infrastructure Association (5GIA) called 6G “one of the basic foundations of human societies of the future”

In the past few years, we have seen 5G technology rolled out around the world at a startling pace and this is a trend we expect to see continue for many years to come. However, it is still early days for 5G technology, with the full scope of its potential far from being revealed.  Nonetheless, the telecoms industry is increasingly looking beyond 5G and working towards defining what the next generation of mobile technology, 6G will look like. In the coming decade…

In the past few years, we have seen 5G technology rolled out around the world at a startling pace and this is a trend we expect to see continue for many years to come. However, it is still early days for 5G technology, with the full scope of its potential far from being revealed. 

Nonetheless, the telecoms industry is increasingly looking beyond 5G and working towards defining what the next generation of mobile technology, 6G will look like. In the coming decade, connectivity is set to become yet more ubiquitous, with the number of connected devices forecasted to expand almost exponentially. 

But 6G will be about much more than handling an increased amount of data at faster speeds, potentially unlocking sci-fi-esque applications, such as the integration of the human brain with computers and making it possible for cyberspace to support real-time human thought.

Now, the 5GIA has released a white paper entitled ‘European Vision for the 6G Network Ecosystem’, covering key areas related to 6G research from a technical, societal, policy and business perspective. 

According to the white paper, 6G will play a role in evolving society towards a more converged existence between the digital, physical, and personal worlds. Key features of new technology will include intelligent connected management and control functions, programmability, integrated sensing and communication, reduction of energy footprint, trustworthy infrastructure, scalability, and affordability. 

The white paper also focusses on some of the key opportunities and barriers facing the new technology, as well as its potential environmental impact. The paper argues that 6G will greatly support European Green Deal’s objective of reaching climate neutrality for Europe by 2050, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“At this critical time, as research beyond 5G is starting around the world, this White Paper is an important document on the road to 6G. This document encapsulates the European view on what 6G should be and indicates the direction of how we can get there,” said Dr. Colin Willcock, Chairman of the Board of the 5G IA.

This white paper comes as part of a growing effort by the EU to focus on defining 6G technology.

Back in February, the European commission announced almost a billion euros in funding for 6G research as part of the Smart Networks and Services (SNS) project, within the framework of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. In this SNS project, the 5GIA is the private side representative, jointly managing the partnership with the EU itself. 

But Europe is not the only region which is hoping to define and develop 6G technology as quickly as possible. Just this weekend, China’s IMT-2030 (6G) Promotion Group released their own white paper, suggesting that 6G commercialisation could come as early as 2030.

As we have seen in the past few years, telecoms tech is becoming increasingly politicised and it should come as no surprise that various countries and regions are hoping to take an early lead in defining the standards of emerging communications technologies. China itself has an ambitious plans in this regard, with its China Standards 2035 scheme aiming to see the Asian nation set the benchmark for 6G as well as various other technologies. 

 

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