Nokia brings its 6G expertise to new US NextG initiative
Today sees the launch of an exciting new research program led by the U.S. National Science Foundation that will shape the future of communications networks well into the 6G era. Called Resilient and Intelligent Next-Generation Systems, or RINGS, the program will award funding to leading academic institutions and create a research community. Nokia was instrumental in creating RINGS through early discussions with its peers.
Along with Nokia, the founding members include some of the biggest names in government and private research in the US such as the Department of Defense Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the most recognizable companies in the tech and telecom industries. The program is one of the largest of its kind, and we expect it to nurture an important research community with academia and industry inventing future network technologies for the 6G era.
The goal of RINGS is to enable fundamental research on novel technologies for “NextG systems.” These NextG systems essentially will be the future versions of the networks we use today – whether they use cellular, Wi-Fi, satellite or any other connectivity technology – but they will increasingly leverage the agility of cloudified networks and support the new applications for the 6G era. Nokia is thrilled to play a key role in this endeavor, and we bring a lot to the table: our long-term industry perspective; our expertise in mobile, fixed and optical networks spanning the consumer, enterprise and industrial spheres; and our long history of participating in and leading collaborative research projects with our Distinguished Academic Partners.
Though 5G still has a long, fruitful life ahead, scientists and engineers at Nokia Bell Labs have been hard at work identifying the problems that future 6G systems can solve and then researching the technologies that will address those problems. Last year, we published the white paper Communications in the 6G era, which lays out the six key technologies that we believe will define 6G networks of the future. It is good to see many of these research vectors in the themes of the RINGS program.
Recently we’ve begun expanding on each of those six technologies in a series of blog posts and scientific papers on Bell-Labs.com, exploring the potential impact of each innovation on a broader scale. For instance, we explored how new radio sensing technologies will grant an unprecedented level of awareness to the network, giving its users a digital “sixth sense” extending far beyond the limitations of the biological senses. At the systems level, we also examined how AI in the native air interface would give 6G radios the ability to learn from one another and their environments, optimizing themselves in previously unimaginable ways. We are already working to make these concepts reality through our leadership in other 6G initiatives such as Hexa-X, the European Commission’s 6G flagship program.
We’re looking forward to sharing these insights with RINGS as well, while receiving the equally compelling insights of our government, academic and professional peers in the program. The initiative has the potential of shaping the overall direction of the technology industry globally, while leveraging the technology strengths of the US and addressing its unique regional requirements. In short, we expect transformative innovations to emerge from this cross-disciplinary effort, and that’s something that should excite us all.