Interview with senior Bell Labs experts: 5G should transition smoothly to 6G

114 News on March 15 (Yue Ming) With the acceleration of 5G network construction, related applications have begun to bloom everywhere, reaching thousands of industries. According to the development rhythm of the mobile communication industry of “one generation of use, one generation of construction, and one generation of research and development”, the industry generally predicts that 6G will be commercialized around 2030.

As an industry event in the 6G field, the second “Global 6G Technology Conference” will be held online from March 22 to March 24, 2022. On the eve of the conference, IEEE Fellow and Bell Labs senior expert Harish Viswanathan said in an interview with C114 that 6G and 5G are not simply replacements, but should transition smoothly from 5G to 6G, so that the two can coexist at the beginning. Then gradually transition to the latest technology.

In the evolution to 6G, Bell Labs, as the source of modern mobile communications, foresees many new technologies; some of which will be reflected and applied in 5G-Advanced. Regarding the upcoming “Global 6G Technology Conference”, Harish Viswanathan pointed out that the conference will help to form a global technical consensus by opening and sharing the vision of the 6G era!

Foreseeing 6G: by no means a simple replacement for 5G

5G global scale commercialization is in full swing. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) report, by the end of December 2021, 200 operators in 78 countries/regions around the world have launched at least one 5G service compliant with 3GPP standards.

At the same time, research and exploration on 6G is also accelerating. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is conducting studies on 6G technology trends and 6G vision, which are expected to be completed in June 2022 and June 2023, respectively. The South Korean government even announced that it will realize the commercialization of 6G services from 2028 to 2030, becoming the first country in the world to launch 6G commercial services.

Will 6G completely replace 5G? Harish Viswanathan said that there should be a smooth transition from 5G to 6G, allowing the two to coexist at the beginning, and then gradually transition to the latest technology. During the evolution to 6G, some key 6G technologies will be the first to be applied in 5G networks to a certain extent, that is, “5G-based 6G technology”, thereby improving network performance and improving consumer and industry user perception.

Systematic Innovation: Building a 6G “Digital Twin” World

Harish Viswanathan said that while 6G will further improve the performance of communication systems, it will also help to complete the digitization of the physical world and push humans into a virtualized digital twin world. New applications in the industry and the need for new technologies such as sensing, computing, human-computer interaction, knowledge systems, etc.”

Harish Viswanathan pointed out that 6G will be a systemic innovation, and both the air interface and network architecture need to evolve continuously. Bell Labs foresees many new technologies: machine learning technologies applied to the physical layer, media access and networks, smart reflective surface technologies, large-scale antenna technologies in new frequency bands, Sub-THz air interface technologies, and integration of communication perception.

In terms of network architecture, 6G also needs to introduce new concepts, such as the integration of radio access network and core network, service mesh, new privacy and security technologies, and network automation. “These technologies can be applied to 5G to some extent, but only through a completely new design can they truly realize their potential.” Harish Viswanathan said.

The integrated seamless coverage of air-space and ground is considered to be a key innovation of 6G. Medium and low-orbit satellites are used to achieve wide-area coverage, providing continuous connection capabilities, and ground base stations are used to achieve coverage of hotspot areas, provide high-speed transmission capabilities, and achieve complementary advantages. Natural fusion. However, at this stage, the two standards are not compatible, and satellite communication cannot support the needs of massive terminal access. In this regard, Harish Viswanathan believes that the key to achieving integration lies in industrial integration. It should be realized that the same device can work in both systems, which can also be understood as coexisting in the same frequency band.


Post time: Jul-18-2022