The start of 2023 has brought new energy for moving toward the 6G era in the form of the 6G-SANDBOX project, a pan-European testbed for experimentation and validation.
Funded by Horizon Europe, 6G-SANDBOX is one of 35 new projects launched by the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU), established by the European Commission (EC) in 2021 to support the development of smart communication components, systems and networks considered essential in building out a European supply chain for advanced 5G and 6G technologies.
Design and validation solution provider Keysight Technologies will serve as project coordinator for 6G-SANDBOX. According to a Keysight press release, the project aims to develop EU-wide experimentation platforms to test promising technical 6G enablers, including zero-touch management, flexible multi-tenancy architecture, network intelligence, security, digital twins, artificial intelligence and reconfigurable intelligent surfaces.
The EC’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) adds that 6G-SANDBOX introduces the concept of Trial Networks, which combine digital and physical nodes to create fully configurable, manageable and controllable end-to-end networks for validating new technologies and research advancements for 6G. Four experimental platforms located in Athens, Greece; Berlin, Germany; Malaga, Spain; and Oulu, Finland, will offer automated experimentation capabilities to third parties through a rich and extensible toolbox. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and key value indicators (KVIs) will be quantified and released to any interested party; developments and APIs will feed an open repository as an initial step toward defining a European 6G library.
“Keysight's innovative spirit is at the heart of where multiple technologies will converge to support an intelligent, secure, cloud-native, and sustainable 6G network architecture,” said Giampaolo Tardioli, vice president of Keysight's 6G and Next Generation Technology program, in a statement. “Well-established partnerships across 5G ecosystems, combined with a unique set of capabilities derived from advanced and scalable technology platforms, enable Keysight to underpin the creation of an open testbed for 6G research.”
The 6G-SANDBOX project participants include: COSMOTE; Eurescom; FOGUS Innovations & Services P.C.; Fraunhofer FOKUS; INFOLYSIS P.C.; Institute of Software Engineering and Technologies (ITIS) at the University of Malaga; Keysight Technologies Inc.; Lenovo; National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR) Demokritos; Nokia eXtended Reality Lab; OpenNebula; OWO; Queen's University Belfast; Telefonica; and University of Oulu.