The new ETSI Industry Specification Group for Integrated Sensing and Communications (ISG ISAC). This group will establish the technical foundations for ISAC technology development and standardization of 6G.
87 participants from both the industrial sphere and the academic sphere took an active part in the kick-off meeting, which was held at ETSI premises in Sophia Antipolis, France, on 17 November 2023.
“Integrated Sensing and Communications add a new element of capability to the wireless network, enabling new innovative use cases in transport, urban environments, homes, and factories, ranging from object and intruder detection in predefined secure areas around critical infrastructures to fall detection and rain/pollution monitoring” explains Dr. Alain Mourad, Chair of the ISAC ISG.
The ETSI ISAC ISG’s mission is to enable ETSI members to coordinate their 6G pre-standard research efforts on ISAC, particularly across various European/National-funded collaborative projects, extended through relevant global initiatives, paving the way for the 6G standardization of the technology.
The ISG will target systematic outputs on ISAC into international standards organizations, namely future 3GPP 6G releases (e.g., R20+) and ITU-R IMT-2030 deliverables, related to ISAC requirements and evaluation methodologies.
Within this context, sensing refers to the use of radio signals to detect and estimate characteristics of target objects in the environment. By integrating sensing into the communications network, the network acts as a “radar” sensor, using its own radio signals to sense and comprehend the physical world in which it operates. This allows the network to collect data on the range, velocity, position, orientation, size, shape, image, materials of objects and devices.
The sensing data collected and processed by the network can then be leveraged to enhance the network’s own operations, augment existing services such as XR and digital twinning, and enable new services, such as gesture and activity recognition, object detection and tracking, along with imaging and environment reconstruction.
The ETSI ISAC ISG will define a prioritized set of 6G use cases and sensing types, along with a roadmap for their analysis and evaluation. It will focus on advanced 6G use cases and sensing types which are not expected to be covered by 3GPP Release 19. These advancements may potentially be included in future 6G releases of 3GPP. The group also aims to develop advanced channel models for ISAC use cases and sensing types, with validation through extensive measurement campaigns, addressing gaps in existing communications-based channel models (e.g., 3GPP, IEEE 802. ITU-R).
Output for architectures and deployment considerations, KPIs, and evaluation assumptions will also be provided. In parallel, the group will undertake two studies, with a first analysis of the privacy and security aspects associated with sensing data within the ISAC 6G framework, and a second analysis of the impact of widespread deployment of ISAC on the UN sustainable development goals. To get involved with this new activity, please contact [email protected]
The idea of using a network to sense objects was also offered up by Nokia at MWC this year as a potential 6G use case. Head of Europe Rolf Werner told Telecoms.com:
“Temperature, wavelength, infrared, you can do stuff which goes all around. You can tune an airport [so you] don’t have to show a passport… you walk through because the network is able to gain information from everything you have… there’s a lot of stuff coming around. 6G in 2030 is our visionary year, or that’s when we think it will kick in. Of course a lot of things have to happen before that.”
ETSI’s ISG ISAC group will be producing a study around the privacy and security aspects around sensing which seems prudent, since there are bound to be some concerns raised about the potential implications of a network sensing all sorts of data points on people and objects if that becomes a key facet of the future 6G marketing machine.
ETSI provides members with an open and inclusive environment to support the development, ratification, and testing of globally applicable standards for ICT systems and services across all sectors of industry and society. We are a non-profit body, with more than 900 member organizations worldwide, drawn from over 60 countries and five continents. Our members constitute a diverse pool of large and small private companies, research entities, academia, government, and public organizations. ETSI is officially recognized by the EU as a European Standardization Organization (ESO).
For more information, please visit us at https://www.etsi.org/
At its 44th meeting in June 2023, ITU-R WP 5D finalized development of a draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.FRAMEWORK FOR 2030 AND BEYOND] on “Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2030 and beyond.” This draft recommendation is expected to be approved by year end 2023.
With the evolution of information and communications technologies, IMT-2030 is expected to support enriched and immersive experience, enhanced ubiquitous coverage, and enable new forms of collaboration. Furthermore, IMT-2030 is envisaged to support expanded and new usage scenarios compared to those of IMT-2020, while providing enhanced and new capabilities.
The objective of this Recommendation is to provide guidelines on the framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT-2030 (aka “6G”).
In the next three years starting from 2024, ITU-R WP 5D will focus on the study of detailed technical performance requirements and the evaluation criteria and methodologies, paving the way for the technology proposal evaluation in the last phase of the IMT-2030 cycle, i.e. from 2027 to 2030.
Relationship between ITU-R (WP 5D) and 3GPP:
ITU-R WP 5D establishes the overall research and development direction, key performance indicators, as well as the standardization, commercialization, and spectrum roadmap for the new generation of IMT through a Framework Recommendation. It then moves on to defining the technical performance requirements to achieve the Framework.
After that, 3GPP develops detailed technical specifications that meet the requirements defined by the ITU-R recommendations and submits their specs to ITU-R WP5D (via ATIS) as a candidate radio interface technology. 5D then evaluates whether the 3GPP defined technology meets the requirements of the ITU-R (for 5G and presumably for 6G too). If it passes the evaluation process, it is approved as ITU-R Recommendation.
Figure 1. below shows these relationships:
Figure 1. Relationship between ITU-R and 3GPP
Motivation and societal considerations:
The motivation for the development of IMT-2030 is to continue to build an inclusive information society and to support the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). To this end, IMT-2030 is expected to be an important enabler for achieving the following goals, among others:
– Inclusivity: Bridging digital divides, to the maximum extent feasible, by ensuring access to meaningful connectivity to everyone.
– Ubiquitous connectivity: To connect unconnected, IMT-2030 is expected to include affordable connectivity and, at minimum, basic broadband services with extended coverage, including sparsely populated areas.
– Sustainability: Sustainability refers to the principle of ensuring that today’s actions do not limit the range of economic, social, and environmental options to future generations. IMT-2030 is envisaged to be built on energy efficiency, low power consumption technologies, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and use of resources under the circular economy model, in order to address climate change and contribute towards the achievement of current and future sustainable development goals.
– Innovation: Fostering innovation with technologies that facilitate connectivity, productivity and the efficient management of resources. These technological advances will improve user experience and positively transform economies and lives everywhere.
– Enhanced security, privacy and resilience: The future IMT system is expected to be secure and privacy-preserving by design. It is expected to have the ability to continue operating during and quickly recover from a disruptive event, whether natural or man-made. Making security, privacy and resilience key considerations in the design, deployment and operation of IMT-2030 systems is fundamental to achieving broader societal and economic goals.
– Standardization and interoperability: To achieve wide industry support for IMT2030, future IMT systems are expected to be designed from the start to use transparently and member-inclusively standardized and interoperable interfaces, ensuring that different parts of the network, whether from the same or different vendors, work together as a fully functional system.
– Interworking: IMT-2030 is expected to support service continuity and provide flexibility to users via close interworking with non-terrestrial network implementations, existing IMT systems and other non-IMT access systems. IMT-2030 is also expected to support smooth migration from existing IMT systems, where including support of connectivity to IMT-2020 and potentially IMT-Advanced devices will be advantageous for inclusivity.
User and application trends:
Applications and services enabled by IMT-2030 are expected to connect humans, machines and various other things together. With the advances in human-machine interfaces, interactive and high-resolution video systems such as extended reality (XR) displays, haptic sensors and actuators, and/or multi-sensory (auditory, visual, haptic or gesture) interfaces, IMT-2030 is expected to offer humans immersive experiences that are virtually generated or happening remotely. On the other hand, machines are envisaged to be intelligent, autonomous, responsive, and precise due to advances in machine perception, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). In the physical world, humans and machines are expected to continuously interact with each other, working with a digital world that extends the real world by using a large number of advanced sensors and AI. Such a digital world not only replicates but also affects the real world by providing virtual experiences to humans, and computation and control to machines.
IMT-2030 is expected to integrate sensing and AI-related capabilities into communication and serve as a fundamental infrastructure to enable new user and application trends. From these trends, it is expected that IMT-2030 provides a wide range of use cases while continuing to provide, inter alia, direct voice support as an essential communication. Furthermore, IMT-2030 technology is expected to drive the next wave of digital economic growth, as well as sustainable far-reaching societal changes, digital equality and universal connectivity. IMT-2030 is expected to further enhance security, privacy, and resilience.
Report ITU-R M.2516 provides a broad view of future technical aspects of terrestrial IMT systems considering the timeframe up to 2030 and beyond, characterized with respect to key emerging services, applications trends, and relevant driving factors. It comprises a toolbox of technological enablers for terrestrial IMT systems, including the evolution of IMT through advances in technology and their deployment. In the following sub-sections, a brief overview of emerging technology trends and enablers, technologies to enhance the radio interface, and technologies to enhance the radio network are presented.
Emerging technology trends and enablers:
IMT-2030 is expected to consider an AI-native new air interface that uses AI to enhance the performance of radio interface functions such as symbol detection/decoding, channel estimation etc. An AI-native radio network would enable automated and intelligent networking services such as intelligent data perception, supply of on-demand capability etc. Radio networks that support AI services would be fundamental to the design of IMT technologies to serve various AI applications, and the proposed directions include on-demand uplink/sidelink-centric, deep edge, and distributed machine learning including federated learning.
The integration of sensing and communication functions in IMT-2030 systems would give new capabilities, enable innovative services and applications, and provide solutions with a higher degree of sensing accuracy. It would lead to benefits in enhancing performance and reducing overall cost, size, and power consumption of both systems, when it is combined with technologies such as AI, network cooperation, and multi-nodes cooperative sensing.
Computing services and data services are expected to become an integral component of the IMT2030 system. It is expected to include processing data at the network edge close to the data source for real-time responses, low data transport costs, high energy efficiency and privacy protection, as well as scaling out device computing capability for advanced application computing workloads.
Device-to-device wireless communication with extremely high throughput, ultra-accuracy positioning and low latency would be an important communication paradigm for IMT-2030. Technologies such as THz technology, ultra-accuracy sidelink positioning, and enhanced terminal power reduction can be considered to support new applications.
Typical use cases for the 6 usage scenarios of IMT-2030:
|Hyper Reliable & Low-Latency Communication||
|Integrated AI and Communication||
|Integrated Sensing and Communication||
The Figure below summarizes the different dimensions of capabilities for IMT-2030, including 9 enhanced capabilities (peak data rate, user experienced data rate, spectrum efficiency, area traffic capacity, connection density, mobility, latency, reliability, and security/privacy/resilience) and 6 new capabilities (coverage, positioning, sensing-related capabilities, AI-related capabilities, sustainability, and interoperability). The range of values for the capabilities in the figure are estimated targets for research and investigation of IMT-2030. For each usage scenario, single or multiple values within the range would be developed in the future in other ITU-R Recommendations/Reports.
IMT-2030 envisages the use of a wide range of frequency bands ranging from sub-1 GHz up to sub-THz bands (low bands, mid bands (centimeterWave), mmWave bands and sub-THz bands). It expects that wider channel bandwidths may be needed to support future applications and services for IMT-2030 in a wide variety of deployments, including wide-area deployments. It is important to ensure that the current spectrum and newly assigned spectrum are harmonized.
https://www.itu.int/md/R19-WP5D-230612-TD-0905/en (RESTRICTED TO TIES USERS)
China’s MIIT to prioritize 6G project, accelerate 5G and gigabit optical network deployments in 2023
Spectrum sharing is a methodology that allows multiple wireless networks to access the same frequency band dynamically and efficiently. It can reduce the spectrum scarcity issue and enable more wireless applications and services, but also requires careful coordination and management to avoid interference and ensure fair access.
Examples of spectrum sharing techniques include Licensed Shared Access (LSA), which uses a regulatory framework to permit licensed users to share spectrum with incumbent users, Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA), which enables wireless networks to sense and adapt to the spectrum environment, and Spectrum Aggregation, which combines multiple spectrum bands or channels into a larger bandwidth. LSA can be used by mobile operators to access spectrum that is not used by TV broadcasters, DSA can be employed by cognitive radio networks to detect and avoid channels occupied by primary users, Spectrum Aggregation can be used by 5G networks for coverage and speed.
The wireless telecom industry has to take a “concerted look at revolutionizing spectrum sharing” and to take a closer look at the lessons learned from CBRS spectrum sharing [1.], which took about a decade to be successfully implemented, according to Andrew Thiessen, chair of the spectrum working group at the Next G Alliance who was speaking at the Informa Big 5G conference panel session in Austin, TX. He opined that the industry needs to be pushing ahead with spectrum sharing technologies and techniques at speeds similar to the innovations that are being applied to smartphones.
Note 1. Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), which allows for dynamic spectrum sharing between the Department of Defense and commercial spectrum users. The DOD users have protected, prioritized use of the spectrum. When the government isn’t using the airwaves, companies and the public can gain access through a tiered licensing arrangement. This means the DOD can use the same spectrum for its critical missions while companies can use it for 5G and high-speed Internet deployment.
“Innovative spectrum sharing frameworks are key to unlocking additional bandwidth for wireless connectivity across the country,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information April McClain-Delaney said. “The success and growth of the CBRS band shows the promise of dynamic spectrum sharing to make more efficient use of this finite resource.”
Joe Kochan, executive director of the National Spectrum Consortium, agreed that spectrum sharing for 6G does present challenges as it faces a wide range of commercial users, federal users and non-federal users, as well as different types of technologies, such as radar. That elicits a need for the industry to build new tools and to get more creative about how that spectrum can be shared.
The Biden administration’s National Spectrum Strategy will “lay the framework” to get everything moving, said Derek Khlopin, deputy associate administrator, spectrum planning policy, at the NTIA. “We’re tech and application-neutral. But the better we understand, the better we can plan.” he explained.
“We’ve started listening, to be frank,” Khlopin said. “But it’s not necessarily the role of the government to figure all of this out. We need help, so we’re working closely with industry, with academia and others. Spectrum sharing is here to stay between federal and non-federal users,” he added.
Khlopin was asked about NTIA’s exploration of the 7GHz band and its potential for 6G. “It’s a very complicated band,” he said. “There’s a lot there … We’re aware of the industry interest there.”
Thiessen said one challenge for 6G will be a lack of contiguous spectrum. He believes that 6G will likely be made up of a lot of pieces of spectrum, and those pieces will likely need to be targeted to specific use cases. However, that presumption is premature as neither 3GPP or ITU-R WP5D has started any serious work on defining 6G specifications. That is why all the buzz about 6G is irrelevant at this time.
- Data link made at speeds greater than 100 Gbps at a frequency of 300 GHz using both 32 and 64 quadrature amplitude modulation
- Achievement enabled by Keysight’s 6G sub-THz testbed platform
Keysight Technologies, Inc, in collaboration with National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Surrey, has made the first 6G connection at speeds greater than 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) over sub-terahertz (THz) frequencies in the U.K.
Future 6G use cases, such as augmented reality and autonomous vehicles, will require data throughput speeds from 100 Gbps to 1 terabit per second (Tbps). To achieve the extreme data speeds and low latencies required by these revolutionary use cases, the use of sub-THz frequencies is being explored. However, operations in sub-THz frequency bands introduce signal integrity and path loss challenges that can negatively impact performance.
Keysight, NPL, and the University of Surrey established the first sub-THz high throughput 6G testbed in the U.K. to address these challenges. Funded by the U.K. government for 6G research, NPL and Surrey scientists are using the testbed to study and characterize sub-THz signal performance to generate new techniques for optimizing data paths and calibration methodologies.
Located at NPL, this new 6G testbed achieved the U.K.’s first high-speed sub-THz data link. The demonstration was made at a frequency of 300 GHz using both 32 and 64 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). Built on Keysight’s 6G Sub-Terahertz R&D Testbed, the testbed uses the M8194A Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) combined with Virginia Diodes Inc. (VDI) upconverters / downconverters to generate the signal and Keysight’s UXR0704A Infiniium multichannel high-performance 70 GHz oscilloscope to analyze the signal.
Keysight, NPL, and the University of Surrey will demonstrate the new 6G testbed at the Spring 2023 6G Symposium at the University of Surrey, April 24-26.
Irshaad Fatadin, Principal Scientist, National Physical Laboratory, said: “6G is a key focus for NPL and we are using our scientific and measurement capabilities to tackle the challenges of this new technology. Our partnership with Keysight will be a critical success factor in our 6G research work.”
Mosaab Abughalib, Senior Research Director and General Manager for Keysight’s Network Emulation Group, said: “Through this partnership we are bringing Keysight solutions and experts together with scientists from NPL and the University of Surrey to unlock the true potential of 6G.”
- White paper: 6G: Going beyond 100Gbps to 1 Tbps
- Keysight 6G Sub-Terahertz R&D Testbed
- M8194A Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG)
- UXR0704A Infiniium UXR-Series Oscilloscope
About Keysight in 6G:
Keysight creates the runway that enables researchers to launch evolutionary and revolutionary technology platform solutions based on 5G-Advanced and 6G technologies. A cohesive set of design and development building blocks across multiple interconnected technology domains enables innovators to spark new insights. Keysight plays a pivotal role in bringing to life 6G use cases that have the potential to transform society, enhance human interactions, enable enterprises to achieve greater efficiencies, and accelerate life-changing innovations.
About Keysight Technologies:
At Keysight (NYSE: KEYS), we inspire and empower innovators to bring world-changing technologies to life. As an S&P 500 company, we’re delivering market-leading design, emulation, and test solutions to help engineers develop and deploy faster, with less risk, throughout the entire product lifecycle. We’re a global innovation partner enabling customers in communications, industrial automation, aerospace and defense, automotive, semiconductor, and general electronics markets to accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world.
NTT DOCOMO & SK Telecom Release White Papers on Energy Efficient 5G Mobile Networks and 6G Requirements
Juniper Research: 5G to Account for 80% of Operator Revenue by 2027; 6G Requires Innovative Technologies
China’s MIIT to prioritize 6G project, accelerate 5G and gigabit optical network deployments in 2023
Despite being very late in rolling out 5G [1.], without TSDSI’s 5Gi ITU-R standard, India is ONCE AGAIN talking up 6G. Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the new United Nations’ ITU area office and Innovation Centre on Wednesday and revealed the Bharat 6G Vision document and launched the 6G R&D Test Bed.
Note 1. Indian telecom service providers started to deploy 5G services in October 2022.
The Indian government’s Bharat 6G vision document was prepared by the Technology Innovation Group on 6G (TIG-6G), which was formed in November 2021 to build a roadmap and action plans for 6G in India, according to an official statement. Officials from Ministries/Departments, experts from research and development institutions, academia, standardisation bodies, telecom service providers, and business are among the members.
The 6G Test Bed will provide a platform for academic institutions, industry, start-ups, MSMEs, and industry, among others, to test and verify evolving ICT technologies.
The Bharat 6G Vision Document and 6G Test Bed, according to Centre, will create an enabling environment for innovation, capacity building, and faster technology adoption in India.
India PM Modi unveiling Bharat 6G vision document (Photo – PM Modi/YouTube)
“Today India is the fastest 5G rollout country in the world. In just 120 days, 5G has been rolled out in more than 125 cities. Today 5G services have reached about 350 districts of the country. Moreover, today we are talking about 6G only after six months of 5G rollout and this shows India’s confidence,” Modi said, according to a transcript of his address at the inauguration of a new ITU Area Office & Innovation Center in New Delhi. “Today we have also presented our vision document. This will become a major basis for 6G rollout in the next few years,” Modi added.
The Bharat 6G vision document foresees 6G services launched in India by the second or third quarter of 2024. That would enable India to move ahead from 5G services in just 2 short years. According to government sources, India’s 6G mission will be completed in two phases- 1] from 2023 to 2025 and 2] from 2026 to 2030.
- Possibilities to achieve greater energy savings based on energy consumption levels measured in the two companies’ respective base stations
- Technical analysis of candidate energy-saving technologies, including both hardware and software
- The roles that operators and equipment vendors should play, including the need for greater coordination, in the effort to achieve greater energy savings
For 6G, the paper reviews requirements and challenges including specific performance levels and implementation scenarios, focusing on technical issues of particular importance to mobile operators:
- Performance requirements and implementation scenarios for each frequency band, taking into account the characteristics of each frequency
- Issues concerning coverage and devices in high-frequency bands
- Standardization for migration to 6G architecture and application of cloud-native / open architecture
Going forward, NTT DOCOMO and SKT will continue to collaborate in various technical fields, aiming to enhance the competitiveness and operational efficiency of 5G as well as support the global standardization and technical verification of 6G. They will also collaborate with global telecom operators on 6G standardization and R&D with the goal of building a global ecosystem that encompasses advanced industries and technologies.
“The white papers carry a significant meaning as they mark the first tangible result since entering into a strategic partnership with NTT DOCOMO last year,” said Yu Takki, Vice President and Head of Infra Tech Office of SKT. “Based on our experience and knowhow in 5G, we will continue to collaborate with world-leading operators such as NTT DOCOMO to lead 5G evolution towards 6G.”
Takehiro Nakamura, Chief Technology Architect, NTT DOCOMO, said: “We are delighted to jointly announce two white papers on green mobile networks and 6G requirements as our collaborative achievements with SKT started in November 2022. We will continue to enhance cooperation among the two major Asian mobile operators and promote superior concepts and innovative technologies to the world for the 6G deployment.”
This ITU-R recommendation in progress will be the main focus of next week’s ITU-R WP5D meeting #43 in Geneva. It defines the framework and overall objectives for the development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) for 2030 and beyond. There are contributions related to this recommendation from: Apple, Nokia, Ericsson, Wireless World Research Forum, Motorola Mobility, Orange, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Finland, Germany, GSOA, China, Qualcomm, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Brazil, Samsung, ZTE, Huawei, InterDigital, Intel and India, with several being multi-company contributions.
The objective is to reach a consensus on the global vision for IMT-2030 (aka 6G), including identifying the potential user application trends and emerging technology trends, defining enhanced and brand-new usage scenarios and corresponding capabilities, as well as understanding the new spectrum needs.
IMT will continue to better serve the needs of the networked society, for both developed and developing countries in the future and this Recommendation outlines how that will be accomplished. This Recommendation also intends to drive the industries and administrations for encouraging further development of IMT for 2030 and beyond.
The framework of the development of IMT for 2030 and beyond, including a broad variety of capabilities associated with envisaged usage scenarios, is described in detail in this Recommendation.
In June 2022, ITU-R decided on the overall timeline for 6G with three major stages:
- Stage 1 – vision definition to be completed in June 2023 before the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23),
- Stage 2 – requirements and evaluation methodology to be completed in 2026, and
- Stage 3 – specifications to be completed in 2030. The 3-stage timeline and the tasks for each stage are summarized in Figure below.
This draft Recommendation defines a [potential] framework and overall objectives for the development of the terrestrial component of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) for 2030 and beyond. IMT will continue to better serve the needs of the [networked] society, for both developed and developing countries in the future and this [Recommendation/document] outlines how [possibly] that could be accomplished. This [Recommendation/document] also intends to encourage further development of IMT-2030. In this [Recommendation/document], the [potential] framework of the development of IMT-2030, including a broad variety of capabilities associated with [some possible] envisaged usage scenarios[, and those yet to be developed and] described in detail. Furthermore, this [Recommendation/document] addresses the objectives for the development of IMT-2030, which includes further enhancement and evolution of existing IMT and the development of IMT-2030.
It should be noted that this Recommendation is defined considering the development of IMT to date based on Recommendation ITU-R M.2083 (approved in September 2015).
Report ITU-R M.2516 provides a broad view of future technical aspects of terrestrial IMT systems considering the timeframe up to 2030 and beyond, characterized with respect to key emerging services, applications trends, and relevant driving factors. It comprises a toolbox of technological enablers for terrestrial IMT systems, including the evolution of IMT through advances in technology, and their deployment. In the following sections a brief overview of emerging technology trends, technologies to enhance the radio interface, and technologies to enhance the radio network are presented.
An important breakthrough in 3GPP Rel-17, Technical Specifications for Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) were established & defined for satellite direct access to device for both 5G and IoT services. This development reflects a trend that satellite & space technologies can offer many benefits for development & operation of future IMT-2030 networks, to enable 5G & 6G available everywhere, accessible to enterprises and citizens across the globe.
IMT-2030 will consider an AI-native new air interface that refers to the use of AI to enhance radio interface performance such as symbol detection/decoding, channel estimation etc. An AI-native radio network will enable automated and intelligent networking services such as intelligent data perception, supply of on-demand capability etc. Radio network to support AI services is the design of IMT technologies to serve various AI applications, and the proposed directions include on-demand uplink/sidelink-centric, deep edge and distributed machine learning. The integration of sensing and communication functions in future wireless systems will provide beyond-communication capabilities by utilizing wireless communication systems more effectively resulting in mutual benefit to both functions. Integrated sensing and communication (ISAC) systems will also enable innovative services and applications such as intelligent transportation, gesture and sign language recognition, automatic security, healthcare, air quality monitoring, and solutions with higher degree of accuracy. Combined with technologies such as AI, network cooperation and multi-nodes cooperative sensing, the ISAC system will lead to benefits in enhanced mutual performance, overall cost, size and power consumption of the whole system.
Computing services and data services are expected to become an integral component of the future IMT system. Emerging technology trends include processing data at the network edge close to the data source for real-time response, low data transport costs, energy efficiency and privacy protection, as well as scaling out device computing capability for advanced application computing workloads.
Device-to-device (D2D) wireless communication with extremely high throughput, ultra-accuracy positioning and low latency will be an important communication paradigm for the future IMT. Technologies such as THz technology, ultra-accuracy sidelink positioning and enhance terminal power reduction technology can be considered to satisfy requirements of new applications.
Energy efficiency and low power consumption comprises both the user device and the network’s perspectives. The promising technologies include energy harvesting, backscattering communications, on-demand access technologies, etc.
To achieve real-time communications with extremely low latency communications, two essential technology components are considered: accurate time and frequency information shared in the network and fine-grained and proactive just-in-time radio access.
There is a need to ensure security, privacy, and resilient solutions allowing for the legitimate exchange of sensitive information through network entities. Potential technologies to enhance trustworthiness include those for RAN privacy, such as distributed ledger technologies, differential privacy and federated learning, quantum technology with respect to the RAN and physical-layer security technologies.
Excerpts of ITU-R preliminary draft new Report: FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS OF TERRESTRIAL IMT SYSTEMS TOWARDS 2030 AND BEYOND
China’s MIIT to prioritize 6G project, accelerate 5G and gigabit optical network deployments in 2023
https://www.itu.int/rec/R-REC-M.2083 (Sept 2015)
China’s government has selected 6G as one of its priority projects for 2023. At a national conference on industry and information technology, the Ministry for Industry and IT (MIIT) Jin Zhuanglong, said China intends to push forward in “comprehensive” development of 6G this year. In 2023, China will introduce policies and measures to promote coordinated development of new information infrastructure construction and accelerate the construction of 5G and gigabit optical networks, Jin said. MIIT will also improve policies on telecom market development, and strengthen the protection of personal information and users’ rights and interests.
Editor’s Note: Work on 6G has not yet started in either 3GPP or ITU-R WP 5D. The latter SDO is progressing draft reports on the vision of IMT for 2030 and Beyond, but no 6G requirements will be identified.
More than 2.3 million 5G base stations have been put into service, and notable progress has been made in the construction of new data centers, according to the conference.
In recent years, China has intensified efforts to promote the construction of new information infrastructure, deepen the construction of 5G, gigabit optical network and industrial internet, and promote the deep integration of the digital economy and the real economy.
Image Credit: Alan Novelli/Alamy Stock Photo
At the end of last year China Telecom issued a white paper setting out its vision for 6G. Written by the China Telecom Research Institute, the paper proposes a distributed and intelligent programmable RAN (P-RAN) network architecture and what it calls a “three-layer and four-sided” framework. The white paper notes that because of the cost of building out the dense mmWave or terahertz-band networks, it will be essential to provide device-to-device connectivity.
Six months ago, heavyweight China Mobile issued its own 6G vision, calling for “three bodies, four layers and five sides.”
China’s other 6G news is a call for proposals on potential key technologies from the national coordinating body, the IMT-2030 6G Promotion Group. According to an English-language statement posted by CAICT, the main objectives are “to inspire university-academy-industry-association entities for technology innovations, gather and form a rich reserve of 6G potential key technologies, and support 6G research, standardization, and industrial R&D.”
Non-Chinese universities and research organizations are welcome to apply ahead of the deadline in November 2023. The proposed solutions should have “application and promotion value for 6G innovation and development,” and the key technical indicators should be capable of being evaluated and verified, the statement said.
Excerpts of ITU-R preliminary draft new Report: FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS OF TERRESTRIAL IMT SYSTEMS TOWARDS 2030 AND BEYOND
China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom carrier by mobile subscribers, unveiled its overall architecture design for 6G in a white paper on Tuesday, as it steps up its push into research and development of the next-generation wireless technology. China Mobile’s 6G network architecture is claimed to be the first systematic 6G architecture design in the telecom industry, according to the company. However, state owned China Unicom published a similar white paper for 6G tech in April 2021.
China Mobile’s 6G architecture is based on both a systems design and networking design of architecture implementation. The “White Paper” proposes a three-body, four-layer and five-sided 6G overall architecture design, which is the industry’s first systematic 6G network architecture design. Among them, the “three bodies” are the network ontology, the management orchestration body, and the digital twin; the “four layers” are the resource and computing power layer, the routing and connection layer, the service-oriented function layer, and the open enabling layer, and the “five layers” are the control layer. face, user face, data face, intelligent face, security face. On this basis, the “White Paper” also proposes that a virtual twin should be created digitally to realize a digital twin network architecture with network closed-loop control and full life cycle management; so as to realize plug-and-play, flexible deployment and other characteristics of the network architecture. Distributed homemade network.
The 6G architecture creates a virtual twin through digital means to realize a digital twin network architecture (DTN) with network closed-loop control and full lifecycle management; The service defines the end-to-end system to realize the full service system architecture (HSBA); In the group network, the distributed autonomous network (Dan) with distributed, autonomous and self-contained features is implemented, which supports on-demand customization, plug and play and flexible deployment.
According to the latest data, the total number of China Mobile customers has reached 967 million, with a net increase of 202,000 this month and a cumulative net increase of 9.706 million this year. The cumulative number of China Mobile’s “5G package users” has reached 4.95 million. Note that the “5G package” statistic counts those on 5G plans who have NOT yet upgraded to 5G service. The three state owned operators reported a total of 899.3 million subs at end-May. They have added 241 million since the start of the year and at this rate will run down the 1 billion mark themselves by the middle of August. But the real number of 5G users is just over half that – 410 million, according to the MIIT. That’s up from 355 million in December and, taking into account the debut of the fourth operator, China Broadcast Network, as early as this month, China’s total should easily pass 460 million by the end of the year.
ITU-R Working Party 5D (WP 5D) held a full-day Workshop on “IMT for 2030 and beyond” on June 14th with total 348 participants in a hybrid physical and remote/virtual participants arrangement (91 physically present in Geneva, Switzerland and 257 connected remotely).
The objective of the Workshop was to provide WP 5D delegates with an overview of ongoing worldwide research activities, initiatives, and views related to future mobile communications targeting 2030 and beyond. This Workshop is also of value to WP 5D in the development of a new Recommendation addressing IMT for 2030 and beyond.
Various organizations presented their work and/or views on the future development of mobile communication systems beyond IMT-2020, targeting year 2030 and beyond. These are summarized below. In particular, the following topics were addressed:
– Trends of IMT for 2030 and beyond, such as application, technology and spectrum aspects;
– Views on the future role of IMT in serving users and the society;
– Usage scenarios for IMT for 2030 and beyond;
– Capabilities of IMT for 2030 and beyond.
All the presentations made during the Workshop can be found on the ITU-R WP 5D website (1st reference below). Strong interests and visions towards IMT for 2030 and beyond were demonstrated by the presenters. Additionally, some items were recognized as useful in further discussion in the work in WP 5D on the draft new recommendation such as scope of Vision (terrestrial, non-terrestrial and/or fixed wireless), definition of AI for IMT Vision, usage scenarios & capabilities, and restructuring of a working document.
FIGURE 1. Keywords in the presentations and mapping with [IMT.vision 2030 AND Beyond] sections
Key messages from the workshop presenters:
European 6G Flagship from Hexa-X:
Hexa-X is the European flagship research initiative to develop the foundation and contribute to industry consensus leading to 6G. The Hexa-X vision is to connect human, physical and digital worlds with a fabric of 6G key enablers. Key values include sustainability, inclusion and trustworthiness. Sub-THz is being explored as a potential complement to the low, mid, and mmWave bands to optimize wireless link characteristics for both communication and potentially sensing, and cooperatively provide for the full set of service requirements. Possible usage of spectrum in 7-24 GHz range for mobile communications.
One6G from One6G Association:
Building on the apparent consensus in the wide community about 6G features, use cases, requirements and key enabling technologies, 6G research should go a step further and also focus on certain architectural aspects that can handle complexity stemming from the expected diversity of access types (6G radio, Terahertz, Non-terrestrial Networks), use cases and requirements. In particular, the role of mesh-networking, flat network architectures, multi-path communication should be emphasized and considered from the beginning, as these are capable both of coping with highly-variable and range-limited nature of THz links and of making effective use of user plane resources when realizing the complex use cases. A holistic approach to the network architecture, integrating all diverse subsystems into a coherent system, naturally follows from this as another important aspect.
– IMT towards 2030 and beyond from NextG Alliance:
Next G Alliance described six pillars (“Audacious Goals”) that will lead to success for IMT-2030. In order guide the path to this success, the Vision for IMT-2030 should focus on multiple layers of development to include societal needs, applications and markets, and technology development:
• Trust, Security, and Resilience such that systems resilient, secure, privacy preserving, safe, reliable, and available under all circumstances.
• An enhanced Digital World Experience consists of multi-sensory experiences that will transform work, education, and entertainment, thereby improving quality of life.
• Efficient Deployment needs to span all aspects of the architecture and must be improved for delivering services in a variety of environments, including urban, rural, and suburban.
• Distributed Cloud and Communications Systems built on virtualization technologies will increase flexibility, performance, and resiliency for key use cases such as mixed reality, URLLC applications, interactive gaming, and multi-sensory applications.
• An AI-Native Network is needed to increase the robustness, performance, and efficiencies of wireless and cloud technologies against more diverse traffic types, ultra-dense deployment topologies, and more challenging spectrum situations.
• Sustainability related to energy efficiency and the environment must be at the forefront of decisions throughout the life cycle, toward a goal of achieving IMT carbon neutral. Advances will fundamentally change how electricity is used to support next-generation communications and computer networks, while strengthening the role that information technology plays in protecting the environment.
– Vision for “IMT 2030 and beyond” from WWRF:
WWRF envisions sustainable, intelligent and affordable wireless connectivity for all for 2030 and beyond. First step towards the realisation of this vision is the requirements specification for a number of critical IMT 2030 USAGE SCENARIOS, namely
• Global Connectivity, Immersive Connectivity, Intelligent Connectivity, and Internet of Senses
Key technology enablers such as THz communications, Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces, AI/ML and Joint Communications and Sensing will catalyse IMT2030 vision. Suitable qualitative and quantitative specification of IMT 2030 Key Performance Indicators for
• Sustainability/inclusion/energy efficiency
• Reconfigurability, immersive intelligence and agility
• Artificial and sensing intelligence (localization accuracy, sensing resolution, shape recognition, user tracking, gesture identification etc)
• Social KPIs, Key Value Indicators (KVIs)
will ensure solutions, tailored to the needs people in different geographic areas and a potentially large dynamic range of real world problems, with emphasis on
• under-connected regions
• increasing longer-lasting, recyclable and re-usable equipment and reducing reliance on scarce commodities
• educating and informing consumers, giving them back control (Privacy, RF safety and other issues)
– Use cases from user and system perspectives from 6G Innovation Centre at the Univ. of Surrey:
IMT2030 should be based on an open and tightly integrated 3D-Network of space and terrestrial Networks.
As 5G brought about low and guaranteed latency into telecom, IMT 2030 (6G) should bring capability for guaranteed time synchronisation.
Integration of sensing into communications and time synchronisation will enable new and smarter applications for interactive and multiparty connectivity within and between virtual and physical worlds. It will enable teleportation.
Sub-THz should be used for real time radio imaging, sub-cm and real time geolocation accuracy.
The 3D network will address important problem of ubiquitous coverage and Intelligent surfaces simultaneously solves the coverage and energy efficiency problems in build up environments.
– 6G: Building metaverse-ready mobile networks from Academic group of British Universities:
The metaverse and cyber physical continuum will allow fundamentally new use cases around digital twins and new immersive experiences. If we manage to fully map the physical world into a new digital world, autonomous machines will be able to effectively support our lives through immersive XR experiences for example, decision making will become more effective, less energy will be consumed, predictive maintenance in manufacturing for enhance productivity will be realised, and enhanced security will ensure that the evolving attack surfaces will be secured. Social inclusion, removal of inequalities and universal availability are key elements of this vision. For this, we will need new network architectures, new hardware and software solutions. Overcoming the limitations of current silicon process technologies will be crucial through for example neuromorphic computing. AI/machine learning forms the brain while connectivity forms the nervous system and sensor data establishes crucial input for enabling intelligent interactions with the environment and dynamic mapping of the environment. Ultimately, quantum technologies will enter future networks for improved processing, decision making and security, and new spectrum is required. To this end, terabit-per-second (Tbps) wireless networks can be realised using the optical spectrum. Therefore, the spectrum considerations should extend to the optical domain.
– Unlocking the potential of the stratosphere from HAPS Alliance:
The current advancements in technology have made it possible to explore the stratosphere with High-altitude platforms. Many initiatives are already underway to commercialize HAPS, making it technically feasible.
HAPS can solve crucial social challenges, such as bridging the digital divide and natural disaster recovery through flexible and timely deployment. It is also expected to be a means of providing connectivity for aerial applications that are expected to expand in the future.
While everything will be connected to the network in the 2030s, it will be difficult to solve all these challenges using only terrestrial network, and non-terrestrial network, especially HAPS, is required.
IMT for 2030 and beyond should have the capability of ultra-wide 3D coverage which will realize by using HAPS.
– Views towards IMT for 2030 and Beyond from IMT-2030 (6G) Promotion Group:
IMT-2030 (6G) promotion group analyzed driving forces, the future market trends, network O&M requirements, 6G use cases trends, and proposed 6G new usage scenarios and key capability indicators. 6G will transcend the capabilities boundary of traditional communication in the way of sustainable development, and finally realize the 6G shared beautiful world of “intelligent connection of everything, digital twin”.
– Beyond 5G White Paper (v1.0) – Message to the 2030s from Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium:
In this presentation, Vision, capabilities and KPIs of IMT for 2030 and beyond, contained in the White Paper of Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium, were explained. The White Pater was developed based on the investigation for a wide range of stakeholders and provides useful information for the development of Vision in WP5D. The Consortium will update the White Paper and contribute to WP5D toward the progress of the IMT-2030 process.
– IMT for 2030 and Beyond: Lessons from 5G and future perspectives for 6G from NTRA, Egypt:
IMT-2030 should be utilized as a tool to overcome the digital divide by providing useful applications for the developing countries with an emphasize on flexibility in deployment, affordability, and society well-being instead of only focusing on extending IMT-2020 capabilities such as latency and speed.
Spectrum identification is needed for IMT-2030 even in THz bands to ensure the protection of existing services, and operation in IMT identified bands should be included as one of the compliance requirements.
There are several benefits of having one IMT-2030 standard but also there is a need to encourage innovation and enable new stakeholders to participate in the IMT process.
Regardless of the development in 6G technologies, the IMT process is quite critical as it is a flexible open platform to exchange views on what the next generation of cellular mobile technology should be.
– IMT-2030 capabilities and challenges from Radio Research and Development Institute, Russia:
The aim of the presentation was to show the most important aspects that need to be implemented within IMT-2030 and challenges that may be faced while realizing these applications. The history of IMT shows that it was mostly evolving around data rates, multiple access techniques, frequency bands used, and killer applications. It is expected that IMT-2030 will also revolve around these principles, IMT-2030 though is expected to have additional features. It is imperative that IMT-2030 would the following capabilities:
• Use cases related to digital presence such as holographic communications, immersive communications and tactile Internet
• Coverage in remote areas using the satellite segment of IMT
• New frequencies above 100 GHz
• Affordable networks deployment for private industry and other applications
• Faster data rates higher than 1 Tbs
• Lower latencies less than 1 ms
• Reliable technology which would be publicly accepted without any fear of the hazardous exposure
It should be noted though that there might be several challenges related with realizing the above capabilities, such as propagation losses in higher bands, difficulties with satellite mega-constellations deployment, development of the multiple access techniques for higher frequency bands, hardware development, as well as public concerns regarding possible exposure of new frequency bands and in the environment with intelligent reflective surfaces.
– Vision flow – from goals to capabilities from Traficom & Univ. of Oulu:
Finland proposes a structured flow for the joint vision of IMT for 2030 and beyond to bring together the currently separate vision elements. The steps of the flow are 1) Goals & societal impact, 2) Users, 3) Usage scenarios and Future examples, 4) Enabling technologies, 5) KPIs/Capabilities. The goals and societal needs provide justification for technological development and later to new regulatory models and spectrum requirements.
– Network architecture for IMT-2030 from IIT Bombay:
We notice that the flow of (UE) signalling traffic in the mobile networks are quite similar to the user data traffic. They both carry information and require path through the mobile network to carry the information. In our presentation, we look at this similarity and discuss if it is possible to treat “UE signalling” similar to user service (data) in future mobile networks, i.e., if the signalling traffic and the data traffic can be treated in a similar manner by the mobile communications networks. We also explain how it is possible to achieve this goal and what are the advantages of the proposal. We find that the proposal simplifies the network architecture as well as the flow of control information within the network considerably.
– 6G Vision from TSDSI (India):
Apart from the well discussed issues that covered issues surrounding the broad technologies and mechanisms to achieve Ubiquitous Intelligent Mobile Connected Society, the below two points are essential for “bridging the digital divide” which is a key focus area for TSDSI and certain other geographies.
• Technologies that support Spectrum Sharing / Simultaneous Spectrum Use will have to be supported to lower the initial spectrum ownership cost. Today technologies such as “self-interference cancellation” makes it possible for multiple co-ownership of spectrum.
• Composable Network architectures are necessary to address issues of cost and affordability, incremental deployments, support collaborative network ownerships (Private / Public) and the intrinsic nature of some demographics that provide rich “local and hyper local” contexts.
6G network design should address Data Ownership Granularities spanning from personal data, enterprise or group data, government ownership of data and data considered as national assets (data that is not allowed to leave the geographic boundaries) through the right choice of technologies that may include “network of networks” architecture approach, support for “data breakout” mechanisms at multiple levels of a network and any other such technology enablers.