6G Symposium Recap - Platforms for Experimental Research: Are We Ready for 6G?
If you missed the 6G Symposium, check out our blog for a full overview of Day 1 highlights, a review of Day 2’s keynote speech by National Science Foundation's Dr. Thyaga Nandagopal, and recaps of the Symposium’s most thoughtful panels. Recordings of the sessions will be available soon.
While the 6G Symposium squared its focus on shaping a vision of 6G, the reality remains that the increasing deployment and commercialization of 5G will shift attention away from academic and research environments and towards production and implementation arenas. As we look to 6G, however, the academic and research community have an opportunity to take a fresh look and ask: "How can we develop and test new ecosystems for the generations beyond 5G?”
Moderated by Northeastern University Professor Abimanu Gosain, the panel discussion “Platforms for Experimental Research: Are we ready for 6G?” shared the perspectives of representatives from some of the most renowned research organizations on the opportunities and limitations for experimental exploration in 6G.
Julius Kusuma of Facebook's Connectivity Lab remarked how the last eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic brought connectivity issues to the forefront and highlighted the need for the industry to be both flexible and responsive. "This pandemic has provided us with a strong reminder that the world is diverse and the needs and use cases are diverse," he said. "For instance, who would have thought eight months ago that as consumers we'd be so concerned with upload speeds as we are today?"
As Vice Director of the National 6Genesis Flagship at the University of Oulu in Finland, Ari Pouttu spearheads laboratory research on wireless connectivity, devices and circuits, distributed computing, and a range of services and applications. Reflecting on the University’s body of research and looking ahead, he remarked that the research community must "join forces with stakeholders from all different verticals to take into account KPIs, use cases and methodologies to develop new thinking beyond just technology and productivity."
Vertical use cases are certainly a research specialty at North Carolina State University, where Professor Ismail Guvenc's team conducts its research. "We are researching Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management (UTM) systems in conjunction with a NASA platform for drone air traffic control," he shared. "It's a great platform for a variety of use cases including wireless hotspots, agriculture, public safety, package delivery and more." He mentioned that NASA is also working on advanced air mobility systems for aircraft that operate at higher altitudes than drones because connectivity is patchy in the skies. He shared other verticals where testbeds are being developed, including smart buildings/smart cities, rural connectivity, AR/VR and several others across a range of indoor, outdoor, urban, suburban and rural environments.
From the perspective of a wireless operator, Parallel Wireless CEO Steve Papa offered a somewhat controversial perspective — "5G is the last of the monolithic pervasive, homogeneous G's." He added, "up until now, the network was needed by pretty much everyone in the same way. That's all changing now." While his comments may seem controversial on the surface, they point to a concrete reality: wireless networks are no longer built to cater to a single dominant use case. The development process and testing and research requirements for some use cases will likely progress along separate timelines now, posing an interesting new environment for research and testing organizations.
To recap the key take-aways and most thought-provoking presentations from the 6G Symposium, please join us for a 6G Symposium Sync Up webinar on Thursday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m. ET, hosted with Fierce Wireless. Symposium organizers Doug Castor from InterDigital and Tommaso Melodia from Northeastern University will join industry experts to digest and make sense of the event’s varying perspectives on the 6G roadmap, the role of AI and Machine Learning in 6G networks, spectrum sharing approaches, public-private research partnerships, and much more.
You may register here.