NGA: ITU Draft Framework Aligned with North America’s View on 6G

July 5, 2023

Written by Caio Castro
CATEGORY: Exclusives

The recently approved International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 6G Draft Framework is aligned with what North America envisions for the future network. That’s how Mike Nawrocki, Managing Director, ATIS Next G Alliance, evaluates the draft.

Named “Draft New Recommendation ITU-R M”, the document was agreed upon during the last ITU-R Working Party 5D meeting in June. The framework, which received inputs from the Next G Alliance, establishes some foundations of 6G in the terrestrial communications area and proposes a timeline for developing the technology.

Among the recommendations, the ITU working group suggested finishing the 6G standardisation process “no later than 2030”.

According to Nawrocki, the draft highlights inclusivity, ubiquitous connectivity, sustainability, innovation, enhanced privacy, and interoperability/interworking with existing and future IMT and non-IMT systems as the pillars of 6G.

Therefore, the document’s direction sounds promising – at least from a North American perspective. “The pillars of the draft recommendation closely align with the NGA’s Six Audacious Goals and other 6G development needs documented in the 16 different NGA publications to date,” he pointed out in an analysis for 6GWorld.

The audacious goals Nawrocki mentioned are trust, security and resilience; digital world experiences; cost-efficient solutions; distributed cloud and communications systems; AI-native wireless solutions; and sustainability.

However, he warns about potential changes to the approved text. “It is important to recognise that while the group reached an agreement, this draft does not become a recommendation until the Study Group ratifies it in September and the Radio Assembly later this year,” he said.

“While this may seem like a formality, there is a possibility that some administrations may continue to raise issues with the draft recommendation.”

Strong Start

From Nawrocki’s perspective, the document hits a home run in several areas, especially when it recognises “the importance of strong societal considerations and user applications and trends as major contributors to the next decade’s vision, coupled with technology advancements and spectrum goals.”

Another good sign is the acknowledgement of the role vertical industries will play in the success of 6G. This includes digital health and smart industrial applications.

However, Nawrocki does see room for improvement. “By nature, the IMT-2030 and beyond vision is an integration and alignment of global views on trends, usage scenarios, capabilities, and development considerations,” he explained.

“It is important that regional groups – such as the Next G Alliance – continue to develop deep assessments and promote research into needs and development areas specific to their regions. This includes applications, technologies, spectrum, societal needs, and sustainability goals that will fuel the next generation of innovation,” the executive observed.

In NGA’s case, the research is being published as reports. As of now, the group has released 16 papers, including a 6G broad roadmap and a roadmap for specific vertical industries.

The 6G Framework

Many of the topics addressed in the draft are no surprise, even though they are relevant since it’s the first official document outlining the next generation of mobile connectivity.

The document addressed some areas which drive more concerns or discussions, such as spectrum, capabilities and performance, use cases, and the timeline. And, while issues such as sustainability and security are highlighted as significant, there is a vast amount of unaddressed devil in the details about what these elements would or should look like.  

The document will now wait for adoption by the Study Group 5 (SG5) of ITU-R. The next meeting is scheduled for September 25-26.

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