Exclusives : Network, Frequencies, Video: Experts Discuss Challenges in 6G Research

Network, Frequencies, Video: Experts Discuss Challenges in 6G Research

5G has been taking off recently, but the industry is already laying the groundwork for the next generation: 6G.

Experts who attended the 6GSymposium Fall 2022, in Washington, DC, agreed that we are still ways off a concrete 6G vision. On the other side, according to Doug Castor, Senior Director of Future Wireless at InterDigital, it is an opportunity to combine lessons from the past and innovation.

“6G is going to be a combination of the evolution of 5G and some of the technologies that are carried forward and used to be the foundation. We’re looking at what are some of the new technologies which will be layered on top and going after some new use cases for 6G,” he said.

“There’s definitely a lot of technologies that the industry is looking at in the research field. Our strength is at the nexus of where video comes together with wireless and AI/ML. We have labs in each of those three areas, and we’re looking to see what are the core technologies that are at that nexus,” Castor added.

Another area of interest is the test and measurement field. As technology advances and we reach new frequencies like Terahertz, companies will have to find ways to overcome some obstacles if they want to get ahead of potential risks or develop new applications.

Roger Nichols, 6G Program Manager at Keysight, summarizes some of the fundamental challenges for the future.

“For design and measurement, we have challenges for creating measurement capabilities in the fundamental areas where we have always worked,” Nichols noted.

“You see some of that in the demonstrations with very high frequencies, very wide bandwidths, ensuring that we can generate signals with high integrity and measure signals that might be fairly low-integrity. But we have to be able to receive those. Still, those are the fundamental challenges. We’ve done this for many decades. We understand that really well and we will overcome them.”

The most important aspect, however, is that the industry will start thinking about the whole infrastructure rather than isolated areas. At least that’s how Eric Burger, Professor at Virginia Tech and TPO Director at the Next G Alliance, sees the development of 6G taking place.

“The earlier Gs were all about the access network. You know, it’s analog, it’s kind of an ‘okay digital’ and ‘really good digital’. In 5G and 6G, it’s ‘great digital’ and it’s about the network,” Burger explained.

“How the core handles processing, but also how we integrate computing into the network. And not necessarily that it’s the carrier doing it or a cloud provider. We’re seeing today a lot of partnerships between the two. It’s not just the usual wireless network manufacturers, but we have the wired network manufacturers, the service providers, the cloud providers, the hyperscalers. So, it’s a much more diverse ecosystem because we now recognize that it’s all about the entire network,” he concluded.




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