Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, and NTT have just achieved a significant milestone in the development of 6G. They have implemented artificial intelligence and machine learning into the radio air interface, granting 6G radios the ability to learn. In addition, they utilised the sub-terahertz spectrum to enhance network capacity. These two critical research topics have the potential to revolutionise the mobile application industry and pave the way for new immersive metaverse and extended reality experiences. Nokia, DOCOMO, and NTT have already demonstrated both technologies as proofs of concept at Nokia Bell Labs in Stuttgart, Germany, and will exhibit them at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The AI-based learned waveform in a transmitter paired with a deep-learning receiver enables a learning air interface that transmits data efficiently under various scenarios, reducing signalling overhead by up to 30% and improving throughput. The AI-native air interface provides 6G networks with the flexibility to adapt to the type of connection demanded by an application, device, or user. The sub-THz bands, never designated for cellular use because of their propagation characteristics, could inject enormous capacity into 6G networks, supporting bandwidth-intensive future use cases requiring multi-gigabit average connections.
This milestone is the result of Nokia, DOCOMO, and NTT’s 6G collaboration launched in June 2022. The collaboration continues its pioneering history, starting with 3G in the 1990s, to 4G, and to today’s 5G, pushing boundaries and creating optimised experiences for end users.
Takehiro Nakamura, Chief Technology Architect, DOCOMO, said: “We are delighted to announce the steady progress of two key technologies toward 6G as achievements of the collaboration with NTT and Nokia started in June 2022. Through the collaboration, we continue to establish innovative 6G technologies and contribute to the global standardisation and commercialisation of 6G.”
Peter Vetter, President of Bell Labs Core Research, Nokia, said: “For the 6G era, we are using communication as a starting point. Networks will think, sense and act, and they will become the nexus point that bridges our digital and physical realities. DOCOMO and NTT share our 6G vision, and together we’re doing the fundamental research that will breathe life into that future.”
Nokia believes 6G will not just build on existing technologies and systems but expand and transform what a network can do. It will fuse the human, physical and digital worlds to liberate our innate human potential. To achieve this, Nokia has envisioned six key technologies that will be vital components of future 6G networks. These include spectrum technologies; AI native air interface; network as a sensor; extreme connectivity, cognitive, automated and specialised architectures; and security and trust.