At MWC Vegas, InterDigital Outlines an Innovative and Evolutionary Journey to 6G

At MWC Vegas, InterDigital Outlines an Innovative and Evolutionary Journey to 6G

At MWC Vegas, InterDigital Outlines an Innovative and Evolutionary Journey to 6G

October 5, 2023 / Posted By: InterDigital Comms

A more connected world hinges on 6G, but what does this future look like, and how do we get there? InterDigital’s Head of Wireless Labs Milind Kulkarni detailed the journey at MWC Las Vegas 2023

More than 14,000 leaders and senior executives attended North America’s most influential connectivity event, Mobile World Congress Las Vegas, to explore the latest mobile offerings and engage in in-depth conversations about the future of wireless, from 5G private networks to the potential for open RAN, and what the evolution to the next G promises to deliver. InterDigital’s VP and Head of Wireless Labs Milind Kulkarni provided a future-looking perspective into the last topic, providing audiences a technical look into the innovation continuing to drive 5G and the evolution to 6G.


In a conference session titled Envisioning a 6G Future, Milind joined esteemed speakers Dr. Tom Rondeau, Principal Director of Future G & 5G for the U.S. Department of Defense and Gaurica Chacko, VP and Head of Global Life Sciences for Wipro Consulting, who provided unique perspectives on 6G’s potential for national security and public health, respectively. Milind’s presentation detailed the importance of standards in evolving our communications capabilities and introduced InterDigital’s 6G vision and the new uses cases and applications that will be enabled by even faster speeds, lower latency, and enhanced capacity under the next G.

The Path to 6G Requires Evolution and Innovation

5G adoption rates have been faster than any previous generation of wireless, with more than 269 commercial 5G launches worldwide and GSMA predicts that more than 27% of the world will be 5G connected by 2025. As 5G moves from its foundational phase to a more transformational phase under 5G Advanced, we can expect it to enable an expansion in vertical market applications, resolution of deployment issues, and support for device evolution, in addition to more flexible spectrum, more intelligence, and network energy savings. These technology improvements will build a strong foundation and pave the way for more ubiquitous connectivity, immersive experiences, operational improvements, and other enhancements under 6G.

Industry projects that the first 6G products will not be commercially available until 2030, so why begin the conversation now? Milind offered some important context, reminding us that we are just halfway through the 5G journey. He added that “5G offers a fantastic platform with a lot of capability to support many, many use cases, and we have to continue our focus in enabling more vertical markets and increasing the capabilities as we march through 5G Advanced.” He also cautioned that if we don’t start activities on 6G now, we will be behind the eight ball because we must dedicate a lot of time and effort to develop a vision and support the research, innovation, and development of systems and infrastructure that supports the next G.

InterDigital’s 6G Vision


From this vantage point, we believe 6G will deliver enhanced capabilities and yet-to-be-imagined opportunities and applications for a hyper-connected world. A 6G-enabled world will connect people more seamlessly with extreme coverage and support immersive experiences and new holographic media, while also empowering greater industry automation, autonomous operations, and low-power sensing on a broad scale.

Following the Emerging IMT-2030 view of 6G, here are a few of the technology building blocks that will lead us to our 6G future.

1. Better eMBB, or enhanced mobile broadband, will empower novel opportunities for immersive communications that leverage human-machine interfaces to extend user experience. By supporting increased coverage, high reliability, and low latency, this feature will enable new use cases like XR and holographic communications, remote multi-sensory telepresence, robotics, and more.

2. Better mMTC, or massive machine-type communications, will enable the network to support a massive number of devices and sensors through improvements to connection density, mobility, battery life, and reductions to power consumption. These 6G-enabled features will empower novel applications in smart cities, transportation, and logistics, as well as in enterprise verticals like environmental monitoring.

3. Enhanced URLLC, or ultra-reliable low latency communications, will support hyper-reliable and low latency communication for use cases that require extreme reliability and low latency alongside precise positioning and connection density. The capabilities of this new feature will enable fully automated use cases like connected factory operation, robotics, drone navigation, and remote surgery.

4. Integrated Sensing and Communication, facilitates applications and services that require sensing capabilities. Leveraging multi-dimensional sensing to gather spatial information about unconnected objects, connected devices, and their surroundings will enable better spatial information for XR, posture/gesture recognition, and improvements to navigation and localization.

5. Integrated AI and Communication, the integration of AI and compute functionalities, will unlock groundbreaking new capabilities and positively alter our landscape by enabling new use cases like network-assisted automated driving, autonomous device collaboration for medical applications, the rapid development of digital twins, and much more.

6. Ubiquitous connectivity will enhance connectivity to bridge the digital divide. Support for the integration of terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks and direct-to-satellite links will unlock new applications for IoT and mobile broadband communications.

7. Trustworthiness is critical, and an important challenge, for each next G and trust is fundamental to driving 6G adoption and scalability in the industry. It is crucial to embed new trust capabilities to keep pace with each wireless generation, and 6G is exploring new distributed architectures like blockchain to foster the decentralized trust capabilities that will be paramount for the ubiquitous data of 6G ecosystems.

Tracking the Global Race to 6G

Though we don’t expect to see commercial 6G until 2030, it is important to understand that 6G will exist simultaneously with 4G and 5G, just as 3G, 4G and 5G will coexist for some time. As researchers like InterDigital collaborate with industry on the innovative research, standards contributions, and industry deployments that shape the long road to 6G, many governments around the world are developing plans to make 6G a reality.

In North America, the Next G Alliance, an initiative under ATIS, is establishing road maps and industry efforts to advance 6G leadership, and in Europe, a variety of 6G projects have received critical research funding. South Korea has announced plans to develop commercial 6G tech in 2024 and China plans to introduce early 6G applications by 2025, in advance of 3GPP specs and ITU-R standards. Elsewhere in Asia, Japanese companies like Toyota Motor and NEC have proposed requirements for 6G communications, and India recently unveiled a Bharat 6G vision document with plans to launch a 6G R&D testbed.

The road to 6G is measured with milestones of innovation and evolution. We at InterDigital are committed to the hard work and innovative research that bring us closer to that future.