Critical Communications

Two major 6G advancements made by Nokia and NTT

16 February 2023

Nokia, NTT Docomo Inc. and NTT have made two milestones on the path to the development and implementation of 6G.

The two advancements include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)-native air interface
  • Sub-THz spectrum

The first advancement is the implementation of AI and machine learning (ML) into the radio air interface. This will give 6G radios the ability to learn. Secondly, the utilization of new sub-terahertz spectrum to dramatically boost network capacity.

Both of these technological advancements could pave the way for new immersive metaverse and extended reality (XR) experiences as well as a new generation of mobile applications. The companies are working on proofs of concept at Nokia Bell Labs in Stuttgart, Germany.

The companies also plan to demonstrate the technologies at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 27 through March 2.

The companies plan to launch the 6G collaboration in June with the aim of defining and developing the key technologies for the next generation of networking.

Learning air interface

Nokia said the AI-based learned waveform in a transmitter with a deep-learning receiver can design and implement a learning air interface that transmits data efficiently under different scenarios. The AI/ML implementation reduces overhead and produces up to 30% improvement in throughput.

Additionally, the AI-native air interface will grant 6G networks the ability to adapt to the type of connection demanded by an application.

Nokia gave an example of a network in a factory that can be optimized for industrial sensors at one moment and then reconfigured for robotic systems or video surveillance. In a public network, the AI-network could provide an optimized connection for a pedestrian in an XR session or for emergency vehicles traveling at high speeds.

Sub-THz bands

The sub-THz bands are 100 GHz and above and have been designated for cellular use. The technology could be used for new telecommunications such as beamforming, which could open up the frequencies to future 6G networks.

The technology will provide more capacity for 6G networks allowing for future use cases that require multi-gigabit average connections.

In one proof-of-concept, Nokia said it will demonstrate a 25 Gbps connection on a single 256 QAM stream over a carrier frequency of 144 GHz using beamforming.

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