French institute kicks off pan-European 6G research project

French research institute for electronics and information technologies CEA-Leti has announced a new European Union “6G” research project for next-generation wireless connectivity..

Called RISE-6G, it will design, prototype and test smart and energy-sustainable technological advances based on reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) that will enable programmable control and shaping of the wireless propagation environment, according to a release.

These surfaces may be diode-based antennas or metamaterials for coating objects in the environment, such as walls, ceilings, mirrors and appliances, and they will operate as reconfigurable reflectors or transceivers for massive access when equipped with active radio-frequency (RF) elements, the institute said.

“Our mission is to enable this disruptive new concept as a service for the wireless environment by dynamically controlling wireless communication for local, brief and energy-efficient, high-capacity communications, said Emilio Calvanese Strinati, RISE-6G project coordinator and 6G future wireless research director at CEA-Leti. “The system also will ensure energy efficiency, localization accuracy and privacy guarantees against eavesdroppers, while accommodating specific regulations on spectrum use and restrained electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions.”

As part of its goal to demonstrate a scalable, smart, wireless connectivity paradigm enabled by RIS, the pan-European project will address the design of key hardware building blocks and their integration in future B5G/6G networks.

To achieve its goals, the RISE-6G objectives are to:

-define novel network architectures and operation strategies incorporating multiple reconfigurable intelligent surfaces,

-characterize the new system’s fundamental limits capitalizing on the proposed realistic and validated radio-wave propagation models,

-design solutions to enable online trade between high-capacity connectivity, energy efficiency, EMF exposure and localization accuracy based on dynamically programmable wireless propagation environments, while accommodating specific legislation and regulation requirements on spectrum use, data protection, and electromagnetic field (EMF) emission, and,

-prototype-benchmark proposed innovation via two complementary trials with verticals (Fiat Industry 4.0 production site and SNCF train station).

Expected to be deployed by the end of this decade, B5G/6G networks will create the basis for human-centered smart societies and vertical industries, the institute said. To accomplish this, advances will be expected to support the long-term, sustainable transformation of networks into a distributed smart-connectivity infrastructure, where new terminal types, e.g. mirrors, signs and walls, are embedded in the environment, CEA-Leti added.

With a planned duration of three years, the RISE-6G project will be piloted by CEA-Leti. The consortium includes 13 partners from seven countries representing the academic, research and industrial sectors. Some of the partners include NEC, Orange, Telecom Italia, Greenerwave, SNCF and Centro Ricerche Fiat.

In December, Nokia announced that it was leading the Hexa-X project, the European Commission’s 6G flagship initiative for research that will drive the overall vision for not-yet-standardized 6G.

The project goals include creating unique 6G use cases and scenarios, developing fundamental 6G technologies and defining a new architecture for an intelligent fabric that integrates key 6G technology enablers.

The Hexa-X project has been awarded funding from the European Commission under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

Other members of the project include Ericsson, which will act as the technical manager of the project, Atos, Intel, Orange, Siemens, TIM and Telefonica.

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