IEEE Tech Focus - December 2022

IEEE Future Networks Tech Focus
Issue 15, December 2022

In This Issue


6G Activities in Germany

December 2022

Authors: Frank H.P. Fitzek, TU Dresden; Holger Boche, TU München; Slawomir Stanczak, TU Berlin;
Harris Gacanin, RWTH Aachen; Gerhard Fettweis, TU Dresden; Hans D. Schotten, TU Kaiserslautern

Mobile communications have unleashed a significant transformative force on society and businesses. Services have gone mobile and the smart phone has become an increasingly omnipotent companion. With 5G, this impact has extended to vertical industries - especially automation, mobility, logistics, and agriculture - where 5G is increasingly becoming a key enabler for efficient digitization.

With 6G, this trend is expected to affect almost all areas of society and economy, with an increased focus on people and their needs in addition to the vertical user industries. Humans will be supported by avatars and autonomous robots, digital twinning will allow increasing efficiency in mobility and production, new personalized medical applications and new types of human-machine interaction will improve health and increase safety, comfort, and – in particular – sustainability of our daily life.

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Indoor Coverage - The Key to Delivering 5G

December 2022

Adrian O’Connor, Benetel

Many of the transformative applications upon which 5G’s revenue generating promise are based will require indoor coverage. However, this is challenging to mobile network operators (MNOs). The traditional MNO business case does not justify the deployment of infrastructure within office complexes, factories, etc. Although indoor coverage is certain to be an essential element for driving the economic success of 5G, it will therefore call for a disruption of the established supply chain. The objective of the following article is to show how this can be achieved by opening up the radio access network (RAN) to a broader cross section of vendors.

The RAN is typically the most expensive component of MNO infrastructure, accounting for as much as 70% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the network (according to Ericsson Technology Review figures). Making RAN implementations more cost effective represents the biggest barrier to the widespread roll-out of indoor cellular coverage and 5G is exacerbating this significantly. In order to deliver the throughput, capacity and connectivity requirements outlined within the 5G specification, MNOs are going to need to undertake heavy financial outlay on their existing RANs - increasing network cell densities and adding technologies such as massive MIMO in order to improve spectrum utilization and support the propagation characteristics of 5G signals.

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Secure RF/FSO Communications Towards the 6G Era

December 2022

Olfa Ben Yahia and Gunes Karabulut Kurt, Polytechnique Montreal, Canada;
Eylem Erdogan, Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey; Ibrahim Altunbas, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey;
Halim Yanikomeroglu, Carleton University, Canada

Compared to terrestrial infrastructures, wireless heterogeneous networks provide cost-effective global coverage with high-speed data connectivity. Furthermore, to overcome the spectrum limitations imposed by radio frequency communication and to meet the demands of high data rates, free-space optical links present an alternative solution. This work sheds the light on the physical characteristics of radio frequency and free-space optical links from a communication and physical layer security perspectives. Motivated by the complementary behavior of both communication channels, we first investigate hybrid radio frequency/free-space optical communications. Then, we provide an overview of the physical layer security of both channels considering different scenarios and conditions.

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Art of the Possible in 6G – A View from 6GIC

December 2022

Ning Wang, Pei Xiao, Mohsen Khalily, Fabien Heliot, Chuang Heng Foh, Yi Ma,
Bernard Hunt, Rahim Tafazolli, 6G Innovation Centre (6GIC) University of Surrey

Since the initial commercial deployment of 5G in 2019, the research community and industry have already started to outline their future 6G visions especially into the direction of blending the physical and the virtual worlds in the digitised society. While 5G will continue to evolve in the near future, there are also brand new technical challenges that will be mainly tackled in the context of 6G, e.g. ambient sensing, precision localisation and synchronisation, and manipulation of the radio propagation environment. In this article we highlight our 6G vision and some selected 6G-oriented research activities carried out at the 6G Innovation Centre (6GIC) of the University of Surrey. 6GIC will be a key UK-based hub for global innovation and collaboration on 6G wireless, involving governments, regulators, mobile operators, vendors, enterprises, and leading research and development centres, as 5GIC was for 5G innovation at the University. In this article we first outline some key features of our top-level 6G vision before diving into specific topics where a number of selected research items investigated at 6GIC are introduced.

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IEEE Future Networks Tech Focus Editorial Board

Rod Waterhouse, Editor-in-Chief
Mithun Mukherjee, Managing Editor
Imran Shafique Ansari
Anwer Al-Dulaimi
Stefano Buzzi
Yunlong Cai
Zhi Ning Chen
Panagiotis Demestichas
Ashutosh Dutta
Yang Hao
Gerry Hayes
Chih-Lin I
James Irvine
Meng Lu
Amine Maaref
Thas Nirmalathas
Sen Wang
Shugong Xu
Haijun Zhang
Glaucio Haroldo Silva de Carvalho