6G research targets new frontier for communications

Cosmos Magazine


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By Cosmos

Europe has turned its attention to the next generation of telecommunications technology promising higher speeds. The technology would better support education and telesurgery, and lead to “digital twinning” and holographic virtual meetings.

The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) is coordinating “MiFuture,” 6G research network funded by the European Union (EU). The project involves some of the leading companies in the telecommunications field, including Ericsson, Nokia and Vodafone, along with several leading universities in mobile communications research.

The aim is to begin making progress in the field of multi-antenna technologies that will be used in 6G communications.

The project will start with fifteen contracts and a training program for candidates to complete doctoral studies and to generate highly qualified researchers in this field with innovative skills.

“We want to address what we consider to be the most important challenges in mobile communications for our society in the next ten years,” project coordinator Ana García Armada said.

Armada, a professor in UC3M’s Signal Theory and Communications Department, said they will target communications with very low latency, high data rates and reduced energy costs.

Latency is the delay that occurs due to the lag between the transmission and reception of information packets.

Armada said to address these challenges, it is necessary to work on a series of innovative architecture and technologies to allow interoperability between equipment from different manufacturers, or to have native AI throughout the network design.

 “MiFuture will pave the way towards the implementation of heterogeneous cell-free networks with an ultra-massive number of antennas to meet the performance, energy efficiency, positioning accuracy and complexity requirements demanded by the evolution of mobile communications towards 6G.”

The project’s research team will work on several practical scenarios to test what could be achieved with these advances, such as the possibility of having full interaction between the real and virtual world, making augmented and virtual reality video calls or holographic images of those present, or even being able to carry out remote tele-surgeries.

“We could have an expert in Madrid operating on a person who is in a remote village in the province of Ávila, more than a hundred kilometres away”, says Armada. 

6G: What is digital twinning?

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