6G Enabler Techologies

Like every new technology, 6G also will require many component technologies that would make it possible. Before the 3GPP specification is finalized, nobody can be sure of what kind of enabler technology will be adopted. So what I am going to do for now is just to collect various ideas from different sources for quick reference.

There is nothing we can say for sure about the component technology as of yet (Feb 2021), but following illustration can be a good summary of possible candidates. This is based on Scoring the Terabit/s Goal: Broadband Connectivity in 6G and I think it is one of the best summary with focus on low layer implementation. Try to get familiar with the keywords shown here and it will be much easier for me to read other technical documents once you get familiar with these keywords. I strongly recommend you to read through the paper.

Image Source : (Modified from) N. Rajatheva et al.: Scoring the Terabit/s Goal: Broadband Connectivity in 6G

Following table shows some of the 6G component technologies and what kind of use caes that those technology can provide.

Source : Towards 6G Networks: Use Cases and Technologies (Mar 2019)

Let's try to summarize the enabling technology around 6G use case. Here I will talk about the use cases illustrated as below and correponding component technology summarized in table.

Source : Drawn based on 6G Wireless Systems: Vision,Requirements, Challenges,Insights, and Opportunities

This summary in the table is also based on the same paper : Section II 6G USE CASES AND TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

Use Case

Technical Enabler

Holographic Communications

  •   Technical Requirement
    •   Data Rates : tens of Mb/s ~ 4.3 Tb/s
    •   Latency : submilliseconds
    •   Synchronization : tight
    •   Security : strict
    •   Resilience : minimizing packet loss, jitter, and latency
    •   Computation

Tactile and Haptic Internet Applications

  •   Application
    •   Robotic and industrial automation
    •   Autonomous driving
    •   Health care
  •   Technical Requirement
    •   Data Rates : ~ a few Gb/s
    •   Latency : ~ 1 ms
    •   Synchronization : tight
    •   Security : strict
    •   Reliability : 99.99999% or higher
    •   Priotization

Network and Computing Convergence

  • Application
    • MEC (Mobile Edge Computing)
    • AR/virtual reality (VR) rendering
    • autonomous driving
    • holographic type communications
  • Technical Requirement
    • load balancing
    • joint network and computing resource scheduling (centralized or distributed)
    • flexible addressing (every network node can become a resource provider)
    • fast routing and rerouting (traffic should be able to route or reroute in response to load conditions)

Extremely High Rate Information Showers

  • Application
    • kiosks at metro stations, shopping malls
  • Technical Requirement
    • Data Rates : ~ 1 Tb/s

Connectivity for Everything

  • Application
    • real-time monitoring of buildings, cities, environment, cars and transportation, roads, critical infrastructure, water, power
    • Internet of Biothings through smart wearable devices
    • intrabody communications achieved via implanted sensors
  • Technical Requirement
    • large aggregated data rate
    • high security and privacy

Chip-to-Chip Communications

  • Application
    • on-chip, interchip, and interboard communications
  • Technical Requirement
    • 100~1000 Gb/sec

Space-Terrestrial Integrated Networks

  • Application
    • large constellations of LEO satellites
  • Technical Requirement
    • Flexible addressing and routing
    • Satellite bandwidth capability
    • Admission control by satellites
    • Edge computing and storage

Source : YouTube Charlie Zhang - Keynote: Radio Technology Evolution Toward 6G

PHY Related Enablers

Followings are some of the PHY related Enablers and challenges at the same time. Each of these items are to be investigated and researched extensively.

  • new modulation methods
  • waveforms and coding techniques
  • multiple-access techniques
  • antenna arrays
  • RF transceivers
  • real-time signal processing
  • wave propagation aspects