By Michael Carroll
Samsung looks beyond technology in 6G research
Yue Wang, Head of 6G Research with Samsung Research UK, believes the industry must look beyond the obvious when defining the next evolution in connectivity technology, with societal benefits as important as meeting the business goals of the many stakeholders involved in developing 6G.
Wang told Mobile World Daily a balance must be found between the potential value 6G could have for a variety of industries alongside less-tangible benefits involving digital inclusion and sustainability.
“It will be important to have consensus on what these mean exactly when it comes to the development of 6G, as different stakeholders in various industries may have different interpretations.”
The time to consider these elements is now because the industry “is at the stage of exploring, identifying and selecting candidate technologies for 6G”, with research steered by requirements around machine connectivity; a shift to AI-native, software-based management and control of functions; and broader moves towards open-source architectures.
Despite the move beyond human intervention in network operation, Wang argues all work to deliver 6G must keep society at the forefront. Whatever the technology turns out to be, it “needs to be evaluated against meaningful goals for climate change, trustworthiness, digital inclusion and equality”, she said.
The industry should develop a new set of key value indicators to account for this shift beyond the “usual step-change requirements in data rate, latency and connection density”.
Future networks must, instead be evaluated by their impact on “energy efficiency, security, trust and societal impact”, while also providing a “better digital experience” which is more realistic, interactive and intuitive. “This requires advancements in device form-factors, such as handheld components to support mobile and active software content.”
Wang believes current mobile devices “lack sufficient standalone computing capability and battery capacity” to fully embrace XR content. “To address this, significant joint efforts between device, chipset and edge vendors” is required alongside input from infrastructure companies and service providers.
These companies should also keep an eye on ensuring 6G networks consume less power than previous mobile generations. Wang said Samsung is “working on network designs that reduce overall resource requirements to deliver more using less”, but noted environmental considerations must also be included when developing use cases, citing digital twins in factories and the construction industry as an example of how technology can “help increase operational and resource efficiency”.