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Nokia takes reins of 6G project for EU

Nokia has set out to define an architecture for an intelligent fabric integrating key technology enablers for 6G.


The European Commission has put Nokia in charge of its flagship initiative for research on the next generation of wireless networks, Hexa-X.

The ultimate vision of the project is to create unique use cases for the sixth generation of wireless networks (6G), develop the fundamental technologies, and connect the human, physical and digital worlds with an intelligent fabric that integrates key technology enablers.

Nokia Bell Labs, the industrial research arm of Nokia, has already begun investigating the fundamental technologies that are expected to compose 6G, despite the continuing need for innovation in 5G.

“In the 6G era, we will see applications that will not only connect humans with machines but also connect humans with the digital world,” envisioned Peter Vetter, the director of access and devices research at Nokia Bell Labs.

“Such a secure and private connection can be used for preventive healthcare or even to create a 6G network with a sixth sense that intuitively understands our intentions, making our interactions with the physical world more effective and anticipating our needs, thereby improving our productivity,” he added.

The research arm and project consortium have identified six key challenges that need to be addressed during the two-and-a-half-year project to establish the foundation for 6G. These include delivering data privacy, operational resilience and security; delivering extreme bitrates, latencies and capacity; utilising artificial intelligence and machine learning for greater efficiency and service experience; and energy-optimising the infrastructure to reduce the environmental footprint.

Nokia presently expects wireless networks to progress into their sixth generation in 2030, following the typical 10-year cycle between generations.

Funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020, Hexa-X will begin on 1 January 2021. Its stakeholders represent the full value chain of future connectivity solutions, from network vendors and communication service providers to technology providers and research institutes.

By: Aleksi Teivainen