Nokia will lead the EU’s Hexa-X 6G research project

Nokia will lead the EU’s Hexa-X 6G research project
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

Nokia will take the helm of the European Commission’s flagship 6G research project, Hexa-X.

Hexa-X aims to develop fundamental 6G technologies and create unique new cases where they can be applied.

Six key research challenges for 6G have been identified which Hexa-X will aim to tackle:

  • Connecting intelligence: AI/Machine Learning (ML) technologies need to be a vital and trusted tool for significantly improved efficiency and service experience, serving humans
  • Network of networks: multiple types of resources need to be aggregated to create a digital ecosystem that grows more and more capable, intelligent, and heterogeneous, eventually creating a single network of networks
  • Sustainability: energy-optimized digital infrastructure for a reduced global ICT environmental footprint, as well as delivering effective and sustainable digitization tools for global industry, society and policymakers
  • Global service coverage: efficient and affordable solutions for global service coverage, connecting remote places
  • Extreme experience: extreme bitrates, extremely low (imperceptible) latencies, seemingly infinite capacity, and precision localization and sensing
  • Trustworthiness: ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of communications and delivering data privacy, operational resilience and security 

The project was awarded funding under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and aims to bring together stakeholders from across Europe to begin laying the foundations of what 6G will one day be.

Peter Vetter, Head of Access and Devices Research at Nokia Bell Labs, said:

“Even though there is still a lot of innovation in 5G with the release of new standards, we are already exploring 6G in our research lab. In the 6G era, we will see applications that will not only connect humans with machines but also connect humans with the digital world.

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.”

Nokia being named leader of Hexa-X is a huge win for the telecoms giant but also brings incredible expertise to the project.

The Finnish vendor’s world-renowned research arm, Bell Labs, has been at the forefront of helping to develop and commercialise new technologies.

While Bell Labs has only been a part of Nokia since 2016, the company has been around since 1925 and is credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the photovoltaic cell, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the Unix operating system, and the programming languages B, C, C++, and S. And, of course, Alexander Graham Bell himself invented the telephone.

In more recent years, Nokia Bell Labs has pioneered Massive MIMO, mmWave access, coding, and 5G radio stack design. The subsidiary is also developing enablers for the upcoming 3GPP Release 16 and 17 including 5G New Radio (NR) in unlicensed spectrum bands, and NR-Light to support massive IoT with medium-rate sensors and localisation.

Hexa-X is due to start on 1st January 2021 and will run for two and a half years. Nokia expects 6G to launch commercially by 2030.

(Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash)

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