KEY DRIVERS AND RESEARCH CHALLENGES FOR 6G UBIQUITOUS WIRELESS INTELLIGENCE | 1
6G Research Visions 1
2 | KEY DRIVERS AND RESEARCH CHALLENGES FOR 6G UBIQUITOUS WIRELESS INTELLIGENCE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
7 SOCIETAL AND BUSINESS DRIVERS FOR 6G
12 6G USE CASES AND NEW DEVICE FORMS
14 6G SPECTRUM AND KPI TARGETS
18 RADIO HARDWARE PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES
22 PHYSICAL LAYER AND WIRELESS SYSTEM
26 6G NETWORKING
29 NEW SERVICE ENABLERS
6G Research Visions 1
Key Drivers and Research Challenges for 6G Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence
Mai Latva-aho, Kari Leppänen (eds.)
6G Flagship, University of Oulu, Finland
ISBN 978-952-62-2353-7 (print)
ISSN 2669-9621 (print)
ISBN 978-952-62-2354-4 (online)
ISSN 2669-963X (online)
KEY DRIVERS AND RESEARCH CHALLENGES FOR 6G UBIQUITOUS WIRELESS INTELLIGENCE | 3
Our future society will be increasingly digitised, hyper-connected and globally data driven. Many widely
anticipated future services, including eHealth and autonomous vehicles, will be critically dependent on
instant, virtually unlimited wireless connectivity. Mobile communication technologies are expected to
progress far beyond anything seen so far in wireless-enabled applications, making everyday lives smoother
and safer and dramatically improving the eﬃciency of businesses.
As ﬁh generation (5G) research is maturing towards a global standard, the research community must
focus on the development of beyond-5G solutions and the 2030 era, i.e. 6G. It is not clear yet what 6G will
entail. It will include relevant technologies considered too immature for 5G or which are outside the deﬁned
scope of 5G. More speciﬁcally, the way in which data is collected, processed, transmied and consumed
within the wireless network will be a key driver for 6G.
e ﬁrst 6G Wireless Summit in March 2019 launched the process of identifying the key drivers, research
requirements, challenges and essential research questions related to 6G. is white paper is the ﬁrst version
for the annually revised series of 6G research visions and can be phrased in one vision statement from the
ﬁrst 6G Wireless Summit: Ubiquitous wireless intelligence.
It is envisioned that we will need new KPI drivers besides the current 5G technical KPIs. Societal megatrends,
United Nations (UN) sustainability goals, lowering carbon dioxide emissions, emerging new technical
enablers as well as ever increasing productivity demands are critical drivers towards 2030 solutions.
Totally new services such as telepresence and mixed reality will be made possible by high resolution imaging
and sensing, accurate positioning, wearable displays, mobile robots and drones, specialized processors,
and next-generation wireless networks. Current smart phones are likely to be replaced by pervasive XR
experiences with lightweight glasses delivering unprecedented resolution, frame rates, and dynamic range.
6G research should look at the problem of transmiing up to 1 Tbps per user. is is possible through
the eﬃcient utilization of the spectrum in the THz regime. Extended spectrum towards THz will enable
merging communications and new applications such as 3D imaging and sensing. However, new paradigms
for transceiver architecture and computing will be needed to achieve these – there are opportunities for
semiconductors, optics and new materials in THz applications to mention a few.
Artiﬁcial intelligence and machine learning will play a major role both in link and system-level solutions of 6G
wireless networks. New access methods will be needed for truly massive machine-type communications.
Modulation and duplexing schemes beyond Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) and Orthogonal
Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) must be developed and possibly it is time to start looking at
analogue types of modulation at THz frequencies.
Security at all levels of future systems will be much more critical in the future and 6G needs a network with
embedded trust. e strongest security protection may be achieved in the physical layer. During the 6G era
it will be possible to create data markets, and thus, privacy protection is one key enabler for future services
6G is not only about moving data around – it will become a framework of services, including communication
services where all user-speciﬁc computation and intelligence may move to the edge cloud. e integration
of sensing, imaging and highly accurate positioning capabilities with mobility will open a myriad of new
applications in 6G.
4 | KEY DRIVERS AND RESEARCH CHALLENGES FOR 6G UBIQUITOUS WIRELESS INTELLIGENCE
e arrival of the 5G mobile communications technology is already showing signs of becoming a major
factor in driving productivity and is expected to be the key enabler for long-envisaged, highly integrated and
autonomous applications in many sectors. is new wave of technology will accelerate the digitalisation of
economies and society. Historically, a new mobile “generation” appears approximately every ten years, with
6G expected to emerge around 2030. e ﬁrst release of 5G New Radio (NR) – 3GPP Release 15 – was
ready in 2018, and global commercialization of 5G is currently taking oﬀ. 5G performance and use cases will
continue to evolve in the coming releases. 6G will take onboard new technologies and satisfy communication
demands going beyond the 5G evolution. Now is the perfect time to identify future communication needs,
performance requirements, system and radio challenges, and major technical options for 6G to establish
the research goals towards the 2030s.
e ﬁrst 6G Wireless Summit
was organized in Levi, Finland, in March 2019 with almost 300 participants from
29 countries, including major infrastructure manufacturers, operators, regulators as well as academia. e
event was organised by the Finnish 6G Flagship Programme
. e 6G vision statement captures the essence
of many of the key messages from the event: Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence; Ubiquitous – services follow
users everywhere seamlessly; Wireless – wireless connectivity is part of critical infrastructure; Intelligence –
context-aware smart services and applications for human and non-human users.
Following the summit, a workshop was organized with 70 selected participants to commence the draing
of the ﬁrst 6G white paper. Each year, the white paper will be updated following the annual 6G Wireless
Summit. e goal for this ﬁrst edition was to identify the key drivers, research requirements, challenges
and essential research questions related to 6G. e format of the white paper is deliberately short avoiding
lengthy background and justiﬁcations; it is targeted primarily at technical experts working in the ﬁeld. At
the highest level, the workshop identiﬁed major drivers for 6G (Figure 1): sustainability, society, productivity
Is it naïve to say “From 5G Engineering to 6G Humanity”
or is it imperative?
In 2016, the UN released 17 Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) for the 2030 Agenda. ese goals
were developed against a backdrop of a growing and ageing global population, increasing urbanization
and a world in which the climate is changing. If adhered to, the UN SDGs are expected to drive policy and
inﬂuence government spending in many economies, creating global demand. It is estimated that the world’s
population in 2019 is 7.6 billion people, and that this will grow to 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050
and 11.2 billion by the end of the current century. As of 2018, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban
areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050
. By 2030, the world is projected to have
43 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants, most of them in developing regions. However, some
of the fastest-growing urban agglomerations are cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants, many of them
located in Asia and Africa.
Source UN Department of Economic Aﬀairs 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects.
Available online hps://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html.
KEY DRIVERS AND RESEARCH CHALLENGES FOR 6G UBIQUITOUS WIRELESS INTELLIGENCE | 5
Figure 1. From 5G Engineering to 6G Humanity – Breaking down the four areas driving 6G research.
Urbanization calls for super-eﬃcient ICT services throughout society, which will become more and more
automated in all sectors to signiﬁcantly increase productivity, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and
generate cost savings for public expenditure. e future services must be available 24-7, ubiquitously. e
services developed for the future urban areas need to be transformed for the needs of remote, oen rural
and very poor areas in order to tackle the UN SDGs. At the same, as societies become heavily dependent on
ICT services, they become extremely vulnerable to various types of security threats and aacks. e global
can no longer be ignored when developing future 6G technologies. Further to the societal and SDG
drivers, we have included some examples of technology trends and drivers for increased productivity. 5G
is envisioned to solve our communication challenges set for 2020s and beyond. However, the ﬁrst 5G NR
release only covers a subset of 5G targets and envisioned use cases.
New requirements and technologies are continuously emerging. Some are expected to enter future
releases of 5G whereas far more rich requirements and technologies will need to wait for a clean slate of
6G speciﬁcations. Some of the emerging and promising directions in technology, described further in later
chapters, are listed in Figures 2 and 3.
RAN Agnostic/Automatically Orchestrated
Transceivers • Non-device Centric Communications
HBI • Extreme URLLC • Below CM Positioning •
Consent and Privacy Preserving Data Sharing •
Support for Ambient/Novel Sensing • Small Data AI
(Distributed Learning) • Distributed Trust •
Cyber-physical Security • Terahertz Technologies •
4D-Imaging and Image Projection and XR • Haptic
Remote Telepresence • Full Spectrum Photonic
Signal Processing • Proactive Decision
Making/Informations Oering • Pervasive User
Identiﬁcation and Authentication • Net Neutrality •
Zero-energy Communications • AI Inspired Air
Interfaces • Grant Free Access (IoT)
Education Innovations • Societal Services •
Health and Wellbeing Services • Urbanisation vs.
Remote • Infrastructure • Work Life Change •
Data Security and Privacy • Automation •
Quality Education • Clean Water and Sanitation •
Gender Equality • Life Below Water • Life on Land •
No Poverty • Good Health and Well-being • Climate
Action • Sustainable Cities and Communities •
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions • Clean
Water and Sanitation • Zero Hunger • Industry,
Innovation and Infrastructure • Aordable and
Clean Energy • Reduced Inequalities •
Partnerships for the Goals • Responsible
Consumption and Production • Decent Work and
Health • Manufacturing • Finance Technologies •
Society 5.0 • Transport • Global Aordable
Coverage • Education • Agriculture • Energy •
SUSTAINABILITY GoalsTECHNOLOGY Enablers
PRODUCTIVITY in Vertical IndustriesSOCIETAL Challenges
Source World Economic Forum: e Global Risks Report 2019. Available online hp://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_
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