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6G: Potential Use Cases and Enabling Technologies
Dr Biplab Sidkar Ritvik Gupta
Associate Professor Student (A-Levels)
Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering Sutton Grammar School
National University of Singapore London, United Kingdom
Abstract
Starting from the 1980s, cellular networking technologies have been undergoing a generational shift roughly every ten years.
Currently, while deployments of the 5th generation or 5G mobile communication systems are being rolled out, discussion
has already started in various academic and industry forums on the next generation (i.e., 6G) of networks. Network operators
are driven towards newer generations of networks to improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of energy and spectrum
usage. In addition, the development of 6G technologies is driven by two primary factors: the exponential growth in the
traffic generated by mobile networks and new disruptive services / applications that are envisioned for the future.
The past decade has seen a steady growth in the number of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The number of
devices from the Internet of Things (IoT) have seen an explosive increase and they now outnumber traditional devices on the
Internet. The popularity of video-based applications, machine-to-machine communications, and cloud-based services has
contributed to the continuous increase in cellular traffic, with expected traffic volumes of 5016 EB per month in 2030, as
compared to 62 EB (exabytes) per month in 2020, according to ITU-R (International Telecom Union – Radiocommunication
sector).
One of the primary contributors to this growth in traffic will be the advent of new network-based technologies and
applications. These applications will not only provide the economic and business case for the deployment of 6G networks,
but also serve to define the technical requirements of such networks. Some of these applications and use cases include
sustainable development, massive twinning, telepresence, robotics, etc. To support these disruptive use cases and
applications, the 6G system will need to provide orders of magnitude improvements on capacity, reliability, and efficiency,
while also ensuring security and financial feasibility.
This white paper presents an overview of some of the promising applications and use case envisioned for 6G, with the
objective to highlight the potential for new markets and to provide an indication of the expected technical requirements. The
white paper then describes some of the enabling technologies for meeting the performance requirements of 6G.
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Use Cases
While the deployment of 6G is about ten years in the future, efforts, investments, and initiatives have started globally by various
industry players and governments to scope out the requirements to develop necessary technologies. An application driven vision for 6G
that is rooted in commercial realism is important to conduct efficient, directed research and ensuring coordination between different
stakeholders. Additionally, investments and strategic decisions must be made based on economic viability and business cases.
Applications for 6G networks will not only include use cases that are advanced versions of current use case, but also new digital
services that represent an extension of human senses and a closer fusion of the virtual, physical and digital worlds. The promising uses
cases covered in this paper for 6G include:
→ Massive Twinning
→ Sustainable Development
→ Telepresence
→ Robots to Cobots
→ Local Trust Zones
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Massive Twinning
Massive twinning, or the use of the more basic Digital Twin (DT) concept across a broad range of use cases, will become
more important. Massive twinning is intended to lead us to a complete digital representation of our environment,
extending its use beyond production/manufacturing (as it has done so far), to areas such as environmental management,
transportation, logistics, entertainment, social interactions, digital health, defense, and public safety, to name a few.
A DT is a virtualized model and real-time representation of a physical asset, i.e., a representation of the asset's structure,
role, and activity in the digital realm. A fully synchronized and accurate digital representation of the physical and human
world is required in all circumstances. The concept of worlds is crucial. This is resource-intensive because it necessitates
exact representations of the physical world, increased means of creating insights and predictions, as well as experimenting
with them in the real world. “What if” scenarios are essential, as are methods to influence the environment.
All of these require unprecedented levels of data transfer, extraordinary performance (capacity, bit rates, low latency,
computation power), and reliability, as well as sustainability and trustworthiness. High- resolution and dynamic 4D
mapping, as well as tools to impact the physical world, are also required. The main drivers of the use case scenarios for
dynamic DTs and virtual worlds will be high- resolution indoor and outdoor mapping, along with real-time, multi-sensory
mapping and rendering, movement prediction, and real-time analytics,
Digital Twins for manufacturing
Massive Twinning will result as the use of DTs in industrial/production situations grows. It will allow us to go beyond
present levels of production agility, allowing for more efficient interaction of production methods to embrace a greater
scope of the respective processes. DTs can be utilized for a variety of purposes in the realms of production and
logistics. The following sub-cases, for example, can be identified:
Managing infrastructure resources. The industrial facility is experimenting with numerous situations using the
DT's "what-if" feature. Real-time interaction with the physical world is used to support the scenarios. The
operator selects a configuration and ensures that it is implemented quickly and reliably. It's also possible that a
catastrophic crisis will emerge. The DT creates an accurate picture of the situation (using advanced reasoning,
machine learning/prediction methods, and more typical polling and alarm functions), finds mitigation actions, and
implements them at the highest performance levels and with the maximum security.
New items must be designed and linked to its DT automatically. New products are designed, then tested (to some
extent) in a virtual environment; the DT of the proposed product is constructed and tested in the digital world.
Physical manufacturing can begin only if that equipment performs to exact specifications in the digital work
environment. The physical build would then be linked to its DT, for example, by sensors and actuators, so that the
DT holds all the information that the physical counterpart has.
Immersive Smart City
City livability is a concept that is determined by a vast number of weighted parameter sets. The sets cover a wide
range of topics, including city infrastructure (for example, roads, rails, buildings, networks), the
atmosphere/environment (for example, climate, air quality), healthcare (for example, health system management,
quantified self), education and culture, stability/safety, and many others. Efficient management of all these aspects
offers technological difficulties, societal potential, and business prospects.
Most technical issues regarding the specified ‘smart cities’ are concerned with aspects such as the amount of
traffic that needs to be transferred, the time scales and reliability associated with it, and so on. The ability to
perceive, foresee, and manage risks or other less critical events has societal significance. Operators and other
ICT companies get business opportunities by aiding cities in achieving their objectives. Smart city mapping
and planning will be another use case scenario for DT technology. In the 2030s, a city will be a dynamic
system of systems made up of many different constituent parts such as people, infrastructure, and events.
The DT city model will be a strong tool for future evolution and planning, as well as enhanced and efficient
management of future smart cities, when combined with real-time feedback from the actual environment and its
related assets. Some of the characteristics of the introduction of massive twining to urban environment include a
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digital reproduction of a genuine traffic scenario, automated train operations, utility control (energy, water, gas, etc.),
air quality, and more.
An interactive 4D map can be used to plan the administration of utilities such as public transportation, garbage,
pipelines, cabling, buildings, and heating, or to connect the numerous sections of a plant that can be inspected and
directed in detail. The 4D map can be used to forecast expected and predicted actions and behaviors of the
environment and other users, follow the past, and check and regulate the function of parts by overlaying physical
modelling. Human and AI operators can browse the rich data and edit it at the same time to manage and schedule
operations, implementing modifications and tasks through the network's actuators and controllers.
This improved flow management can also aid in the transformation of cities to more sustainable forms.
This use case necessitates the transmission of large amounts of data in a short amount of time (ranging from ultra-low
latency for automobiles or health to "near" real-time). This is critical for enabling activities that will improve the city's
operation and livability. Simultaneously, the highest potential levels of sustainability are required, while citizens will
demand and expect trustworthiness.
Sustainable Development
E-health for all
In the coming years, it is predicted that there will be a larger proportion of elderly people and more people living in
urban areas. This can lead to higher disposable income, growing inequalities and more welfare diseases such as
obesity and diabetes. It may also be that under privileged neighborhoods will find it harder to access universal
healthcare
All these developments warrant a much higher dependence on remote and more accessible healthcare. There needs
to be a trust that any remote healthcare applications are reliable. They should keep sensitive data private and aim to
provide information that is trustworthy and accurate.
Basic E-health services may be given everywhere with reliable Mobile Broadband (MBB) connections and medical
knowledge. Local analysis of samples using specialized equipment can supplement connectivity, and availability of
expertise can be extended with AI agents providing first-line help. In locations where infrastructure is lacking, local
mobile E-health hubs can provide last-mile connectivity.
Providing virtual medical visits to everyone who needs them would be a huge health benefit, but it would
necessitate a massive extension of cellular network coverage to enable these services. A significant problem for 6G
networks is reaching everyone on the planet at a reasonable cost, especially in areas where fibre development is not
feasible (remote islands, rural areas, and politically unstable regions). Sensitive medical data would need to be
routed, stored, and processed across a network with various hops and access types, and service availability would
need to be guaranteed with cost-effective solutions.
Institutional coverage
The ultimate goal must be to provide high-quality wireless services to all communities — this is real digital inclusion
for networks. However, in the coming years, a more feasible objective may be to ensure that all schools, hospitals,
and other institutions around the world, even those in poor countries and isolated rural areas of wealthy countries,
have access to full 6G services. This encompasses immersive and precise communication, such as telepresence,
remote virtual education, and medicine, in addition to video services.
Fibre communication deployment may be prohibitively expensive in many regions, for example, due to lengthy
distances in rural areas or islands, or inaccessible areas due to political instability. By expanding and further
improving the deployment and performance of 5G Fixed Wireless Access, backhaul based on 6G can be provided to
dedicated localities that will act as full-6G digital oases. These significant societal institutions connected to 6G
services can extend connection locally, benefiting local businesses and infrastructure, and ensuring that society is
integrated in the digital evolution.
Earth monitor
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With the provision of ubiquitous, bio-friendly energy harvesting sensors that can easily be used in any area with
economic connectivity (e.g. through non-terrestrial networks (NTNs), long term land-based or local networks), the
flood of sensor data can ensure that system-critical environmental issues such as weather, climate change or
biodiversity are monitored in the near-real time. In genuinely isolated regions far from the infrastructure, sampling
of crucial data must be possible.
The Global Telemetry System can be used to improve weather/climate models, monitor the environmental status
of natural disaster warning systems such as flooding, landing slopes, or to prevent illicit logging and wildlife
threatened by endangered species.
Autonomous supply chains
To ensure a fully autonomous supply chain, demand for scoping, ordering, sourcing, packaging, routing, and delivery
must be automated using local and central AI agents that are constantly optimizing the process, for example, in
response to unexpected events such as natural disasters or political circumstances. 6G will enable a completely
automated supply chain at a cost and complexity that is feasible. Higher resource efficiency and lower material and
energy consumption can be achieved by worldwide end-to-end lifecycle tracking of items from manufacture to
shipping, distribution, usage, and disposal. The usage of 6G-connected micro tags on items can help to streamline
tracking, customs, safety checks, and bookkeeping by eliminating manual intervention.
This will require a global system that integrates various technologies into a unified, transparent, and cost-effective
system that can orchestrate an optimal supply chain end-to-end while also adapting locally to any dynamic variations
using the most appropriate connectivity solution at the time. The system will also track the current state of businesses
and factories to predict when something must be sourced, from where, and what optimal and alternate delivery routes
are available, as well as provide last-mile delivery. The location and status of the shipments should be always tracked
to ensure a flexible and responsive supply chain.
Telepresence
This use case entails being present and interacting with others at any time and place, using all of one's senses if chosen. It
allows humans to engage with each other as well as the other two worlds' physical and digital objects. All of a person's
senses can be used to exchange sensory information, and possibly increasing the senses' capabilities.
To supply this use case, many research challenges must be overcome. To meet the required data rates, a lot of experience is
required. To avoid an incomplete experience or even sickness, a low enough latency with large data rates and enough
reliability is required. The connectedness is built on the foundation of a network of networks. Intelligence that is connected
enhances performance. All of this must be done in a long-term manner, and trustworthiness is a necessary first step. Global
service coverage enables provisioning of telepresence everywhere.
Fully merged cyber physical worlds
For both business and social engagement, mixed reality (MR) and holographic telepresence will become the standard.
It will be possible to appear to be in one area while actually being in another via holographic telepresence. Other use
cases include facilitating collaboration and white- collar professionals undertaking remote home-working outside of
office hours, strengthening teacher-student interactions in eLearning classes and improving diagnosis during
teleconsultations. This can include telepresence gatherings with friends and family as well as virtual trips to far-flung
locations. The user would be immersed in a world where his or her hologram is synchronized to devices on his or her
body for an increased sensory experience, thanks to incredibly rich sensing of many kinds.
Users want to speak with people who are far away with a level of interactivity that is extremely similar to reality.
They want to be able to perceive body language (gesture, intonation, expressions, ambient sounds, and so on) as
well as other senses (for example, touching objects).
In physical reality, MR telepresence allows interaction with both physical and digital items that are close or far away.
Wearable technology, such as earbuds and electronics integrated in our clothing, as well as other unique user
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interfaces, will enable this experience and use case. Multiple wearables will be carried by humans, all of which will
work in unison to provide natural, intuitive interfaces.
Touchscreen typing will almost certainly become obsolete. It will become the standard to utilize gestures and talk to
whatever devices are used to get things done. Our devices will be completely context-aware, and the network will
grow increasingly adept at anticipating our demands. Our telepresence interaction will become more intuitive and
efficient because of this context awareness mixed with new human-machine interfaces.
Mixed reality co-design
Remote collaboration and "experience before prototyping" are two terms used to describe mixed reality co-
design. This may, for example, apply in a factory setting where two people are working remotely to create
something complex using both actual and virtual elements.
In a virtual-real merger of worlds, an MR reality co-design system will allow designers to collaborate on creative
virtual products. As part of the MR co-design process, designers will be able to focus on the design itself and its
relationship with the surrounding environment. Co-designing MR will lead to new types of human-machine
interaction, such as recording the designer's head or eye movement, emotional state, facial expressions, and body
parameters like heart rate or blood pressure. Such an approach can be defined under the term: "Spatial computing".
Furthermore, spatial mapping and imaging technology can be used to capture the co-design context. Designers'
behavior and critical metrics are expected to be included in the co-design process and work in the 2030s.
The MR co-design use case will be substantially enhanced with the integration of machine learning and AI. The future
generation of Industrial IoT will be transformed by deconstructed and advanced user equipment combined with
wearables.
Immersive sports events
Motion capture technology is used in today's sport simulators to create lifelike reconstructions of real players. With the
introduction of XR (extended reality) gaming, this will be stretched even further to include 3D rendering of any
simulated sports event. With 6G, it will be feasible to motion capture actual games in real time and produce a DT of
the entire game, which hundreds of millions of people around the world may watch live from any viewpoint. Many
viewers would be content with a traditional overview determined by expert camera operators, and hence much of the
information can be broadcasted single-to-multipoint. The 3D rendering, on the other hand, allows end users to observe
the game from any angle with a 360° view, such as following a certain player or watching the game from the
perspective of the ball. In these circumstances, processing would have to be done locally to render the intriguing field
of view with great fidelity. By combining real- time imagery with pre-rendered models, AI models could help forecast
the players' near-future motion. The experience might include watching the game from a virtual bleacher and
interacting with a friend while doing so.
Merged reality (game/work)
Gaming in a public or dedicated venue involves sharing a merged reality with a large group of people, blurring the line
between reality and the virtual world. Some of the game's items or other players are physically present, while others
are digitally enhanced with visual, tactile, or olfactory sensations, and yet others are completely digital but appear to be
real. Players in the same game have a combined experience and exchange synchronized sensory data, which might be
real or fake. Digital meetings can be held in which the user interacts with a hologram avatar of himself or herself,
giving the impression that he or she is totally present. Participants can receive tactile and sensory feedback, and visual
information can be experienced in an immersive manner via a smart contact lens, for example. In the virtual domain,
digital co-creation is simple to manage, making distant work and training easier.
Robots → Cobots (Collaborative robots)
The 6G system provides the technical foundation for going beyond individual robot command and control. Instead, it
allows robots to create symbiotic relationships with one another, allowing them to complete complicated jobs more quickly
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or better adapt to the wants and desires of people in day-to-day interactions. In human-machine and machine-machine
interaction, trustworthiness and digital inclusion are key values. Complex tasks can be completed in a sustainable manner
by collaborating and forming symbiotic relationships: rather than devising more and more complex machinery and
allocating more and more resources, this use case family focuses on the intelligent and flexible utilization of existing
capabilities for the benefit of society. With improved flexibility in production and resource use, as well as connected
intelligence, machines may conduct highly individualized on-demand activities using revolutionary production methods
such as additive manufacturing.
This use case family is linked to several research challenges. The level of trust is paramount, because the use cases in this
family rely on combining intelligence and making collaborative judgments. Targeting the network of networks necessitates
flexibility in network topologies and resource distribution. Some use cases, such as those in the industrial sector, necessitate
exceptional performance, such as latency, dependability, and positioning. Sustainability is a major issue, particularly when
dealing with high-performance use cases. The difficulty of inclusion is addressed by having meaningful AI partners and
human-machine interaction.
Consumer robots
Many consumer robots will advance beyond today's automated vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers to become an
integral component of future living. These might be a swarm of tiny robots that collaborate to complete tasks or self-
driving robots that give convenience. The robots will be outfitted with video cameras that will feed to a local compute
server for real-time processing, as well as advanced sensing and positioning features for smooth and natural
interactions between users, robots, and the environment, thanks to 6G.
6G's networked AI capabilities will be used by robots for situation-aware cooperation, collaboration, and help. As a
result, we will witness a growth in the number of devices connected to our home networks, as well as increasing
capacity requirements, necessitating even more seamless communication throughout the emerging network of (local)
networks. In the long run, domestic robots will allow the elderly to remain in their homes longer and improve their
quality of life.
AI Partners
AI agents will become more common and engrained in society as AI improves and its integration into
6G systems, relieving humans of more and more responsibilities. Many activities, however, will still require human
operators to actively interact with AI partners to jointly complete tasks, with the AI supporting the human operator
rather than the AI and human operating as equal partners. Instead of relying on specific machines or autonomous
systems, the AI agent can be far more general-purpose and operate as a partner who interacts autonomously and
adaptively by interpreting intents and surroundings, completing demanding and risky activities with other agents
(humans/machines). This AI agent could be a group of drones autonomously collaborating to solve various tasks, or it
could be a simple stationary machine in a factory, software controlling the illumination wherever you are by
communicating with other AI agents in the vicinity, whether in your home, office, or public space. This necessitates
reliable cyber-physical systems that can work in harmony with groups of humans and intelligent machines while
taking precise action. If the AI partner interacts with other AI agents; the form of communication may transition to a
new breed of user plane communication in order to take use of and allow distributed computation capabilities.
Flexible manufacturing
With the growing personalization and modularization of production (for example, production of a single, highly
customized products) and flexibility of manufacturing systems (for example, mobile robots), powerful wireless
communication and localization services are required. The machinery and related communication will be dynamically
configured for each production task, either by a production system or by direct collaboration among (mobile)
production machines in a self-organizing manner. This entails the coordination of AGVs (Automatic guided vehicles),
as greater flexibility in the manufacturing process necessitates greater flexibility in logistics. Dynamic configuration of
real-time communication services is required, which might be initiated by end systems and carried out in a distributed
manner. A flexible framework is required to assign appropriate communication resources and capabilities (for
example, local compute, D2D communication, and frequency ranges). Data from the production process must be kept
secure and private, and high availability and functional safety criteria must be maintained.
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Local trust zones
Up to today, "mobile" communications are mostly "cellular" communications. However, many use cases necessitate local
or private communication capabilities for highly sensitive data that is tightly integrated throughout wide-area networks. It
is necessary to use network topologies other than cellular topologies and security concepts other than traditional security
architectures. Local trust zones that protect individual or machine-specific information, as well as independent sub-
networks like body area networks that enable advanced medical diagnosis and therapy or on-board networks of AGVs,
must be dynamically and transparently integrated into wide area networks, or remain on-premises as private networks, as
needed.
Working on research problems such as: "Connecting Intelligence," "Network of Networks," and "Trustworthiness" will
aid in the development of communication solutions for various application cases. In traditional cellular networks, private
and often local sub-networks are merged, trust zones for sensitive data – typically under strict regulation – are developed,
and AI capability is integrated. Local trust zones can be dynamically altered with autonomous and intelligent service
capability enabling to match the type of network coverage needed for the services.
Precision healthcare
In today's medicine, disease treatment and prevention measures are often devised for the average person using a one-
size-fits-all strategy. According to the Precision Medicine Initiative, precision medicine is "a developing method for
illness treatment and prevention that takes into account individual diversity in genes, environment, and lifestyle for
each person." 24/7 monitoring of vital markers for both the healthy and the sick using a variety of wearable devices
would be important in understanding the surroundings and lifestyle of people. Self-tracking and monitoring will be
possible for anyone interested in their personal analytics, or "quantified self," thanks to in-body technologies.
In general, precision medicine-based health monitoring, diagnosis, and therapy will enable tailored diagnosis and
treatment. In this scenario, in-body devices communicate with wearables outside the body, which can then send data to
the internet. Continuous health monitoring and adjustive actions, such as pharmaceutical dispensers, can be conducted
via topical, implanted, injected, or swallowed sensors and equipment. Organ malfunction and pain are examples of
bodily and sensory reactions that may be represented and studied in the digital domain. In-body sensors and analytics,
along with a broad area connectivity option, will enable a 6G tele-medical paradigm. Clearly, very high privacy
requirements, such as the need for local anonymization, will necessitate the use of local protected signal processing.
Access to information from the Cyber-Physical Environment may be required to log people's actions and
environments. Regulations particular to the application domain must be considered.
This use case necessitates the interaction of a local trust zone with wide-area network security, access to
information available in other networks filtered according to pre-defined rules, and a separation of network
transport, control, and security. In terms of regulation, in addition to the challenges of adapting to medical
sector laws, the integration of medical devices in wide area networks is currently problematic and disruptive.
Sensor Infrastructure web
A simple autonomous car moves about the environment, depending on external third-party sensors as if they were
on-board sensors. The car collects external data from externally available sensors, or navigation commands via the
network, with complete confidence in the data's accuracy, timeliness, and confidentiality, and can also share its own
sensor data. This enables the aggregation of sensor data across multiple systems, including those that lack sensor
capability.
All connected devices, such as automobiles, can get locally relevant and trusted sensor information advertised by
the network.
Currently, the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) does not allow for the diffusion or exchange of sensor data
in predefined local settings or to networks or network components that are subject to external security control. This
use case may necessitate the division of network ownership, control, transport, and security, depending on the
implementation. Finally, it is currently impossible for a network to advertise and distribute sensor data provided by
other parties in well-defined local areas.
IoT micro-networks for smart cities
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The rise of smart city applications (such as energy management, traffic control, and citizen safety) would
necessitate a large-scale deployment of communicating items. Smart city administrators aspire to provide the
required coverage for smart city networks with little energy consumption and without the use of many base
stations. They require self-adaptive networks with objects acting as relays. These micro networks would control the
flow of data from items, robots, and other systems that interact locally in a complex system.
In 5G, there are network slices and private networks with their own network nodes. Micro-networks with possibly
varied ownership and security management may share parts of the infrastructure with wide area networks, i.e., a
private network with partly owned infrastructure and a private trust policy is integrated into a public network.
Automatic public security
Wireless cameras will be used as sensors in large numbers. The camera will become a ubiquitous sensor that can be
used everywhere, thanks to improvements in AI and machine vision and their ability to distinguish people and objects
(or more broadly, automatically acquire information from photos and videos). Data access will be limited, and
information will be anonymized to satisfy privacy concerns. Radio and other sensing modalities, such as acoustics,
will also be employed to collect data about the surroundings.
To eliminate security lines, sophisticated techniques will be deployed in security screening operations. People will be
screened as they walk through congested places, rather than only at entrances, using a combination of different
sensing modalities. Radio sensing will be a key component in doing this; the network will be able to perceive the
environment thanks to future communication systems. It may, for example, be configured to automatically recognize
specific types of metallic objects carried by people or robots in a crowded area. The network can detect and
identifying possible threats.
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Enabling Technologies
To meet the network requirements of the applications envisioned for 6G environments, technological advancements are required in
various key areas. The essential technology enablers that will be necessary to realize the vision of 6G networks will include
fundamental advancements in our ability to transfer, process, and make decision based on data. The main targets for these
advancements include:
→ Transceivers
→ Intelligent Surfaces for Communication
→ Frequency Bands
→ Artificial Intelligence
→ Energy
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Transceivers
It will be impossible to provide continuous connection for mobile 6G services by depending solely on dense, high-
frequency small cells. Instead, it is vital to think of a system that can use various frequencies throughout the
microwave/mmWave/THz bands (e.g., multimode base stations) to offer seamless connection at both the broad and local
area network levels. Early research has demonstrated the feasibility of pursuing such multiband communication. In
addition, the merging of RF (radio frequency) and non-RF bands is expected.
For example, one may utilize RF, optical, and visible light communication (VLC) to improve not just communication
efficiency but also the system's resistance to traffic surges (e.g., in hotspot areas or even disaster- affected areas).
Intelligent Surfaces for Communication
Wireless research has primarily focused on two directions to deliver higher data rates: (a) exploring higher frequencies such
as the mmWave bands, and (b) equipping tower- mounted base stations (BSs) with a massive number of RF antennas via the
so-called massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) communication feature. Massive MIMO and mmWave bands will
be critical in both 5G and 6G, as they may help overcome spectrum shortages as well as wireless channel obstacles like
fading and interference, resulting in improved SEE and greater data rates at higher frequencies.
These two approaches to speedier wireless networking, however, each have their own set of restrictions. The hardware
capabilities of BS towers, for example, limits the number of RF antennas and types of RF circuits that may be utilized to
build a "really enormous" MIMO system. Furthermore, because mmWave frequencies are highly susceptible to channel
variations (e.g., blockage), reaping their benefits necessitates maintaining constant line-of- sight (LoS) links to users, which
can only be accomplished through network densification – the deployment of many massive MIMO BSs. Densification, on
the other hand, is constrained by a variety of geographical and hardware restrictions.
As a result, ushering in the 6G era will necessitate a significant rethinking of wireless cellular system design. For decades,
the focus of wireless research and development efforts has been on developing efficient transceivers while assuming an
uncontrolled wireless channel and propagation environment. Man-made structures including as walls, buildings, and roads,
on the other hand, may now be transformed into electromagnetically active ‘metasurfaces’ that can be used as RF
transceivers, complementing, or even replacing traditional tower-mounted BSs, thanks to recent advancements in
metamaterial-based technologies.
This allows large reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) to be built, which can be used to not only design more effective
massive MIMO transceivers (with antenna arrays spanning a large surface and the ability to perform near-field LoS
communications), but also to control the propagation environment by using RISs as wireless signal reflectors. Indeed, it is
predicted that for 6G systems, there will be a transition away from traditional huge MIMO over tower-mounted BSs and
toward enormous RISs and smart environments that function as both transceivers and reflectors, providing massive surfaces
for wireless communications and heterogeneous devices.
As a result of RIS, 6G systems will be able to manage the propagation environment, posing a slew of new research
problems and possibilities. They'll also open new ways to communicate wirelessly, such as employing holographic RF
radio and holographic MIMO.
Frequency Bands
Higher data rates and SEE will be required wherever, anytime in 6G, according to network trends. As a result, the
investigation of higher-frequency bands beyond sub-6 GHz, which began with 5G and mmWave, becomes more important.
One of the most significant constraints of 5G systems, as previously stated, is the unavailability of high-speed wireless
access at high frequencies for highly mobile settings. As a result, establishing new fundamental science to comprehend how
to make mobile mmWave a reality in early 6G systems, or even at the beyond 5G stage, is a first step in this field.
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A mix of sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands, as well as the use of caching to reduce handover failures, are among the enabling
technologies required to achieve the vision of mobile mmWave communications. Exploiting frequencies above mmWave,
notably in the terahertz (THz) frequency ranges, will become essential as 6G advances. To take advantage of higher THz
and mmWave frequencies, certain 6G cells would have to be reduced in size from small cells to “tiny cells” with a radius of
only a few tens of metres.
As a result, as technology approaches the THz frontier and moves higher in frequency, new network architecture solutions
will be required to support considerably denser deployments of tiny cells. Furthermore, at higher frequencies, new mobility
management strategies must be developed that are adapted to the extremely intermittent character of high-frequency
communication connections.
Artificial Intelligence
Because of recent advancements in deep learning, increased data availability, and the emergence of smart devices, AI is
generating a lot of interest in the wireless communications field.
At least three AI use case scenarios for 6G are envisaged: (a) the rise of on-device, edge AI techniques that exploit
advances in federated learning and related areas to enable the 6G system to exploit distributed, multi-agent reinforcement
learning techniques for network optimization and SSN creation; (b) the use of AI to enable 6G to offer MPS to its devices
automatically as well as build and broadcast 3D radio environment maps; (c) to allow 6G systems to usher in a new era of
"collective network intelligence," in which network intelligence is enhanced at the edge to enable fully dispersed autonomy.
Indeed, whether future wireless networks, beginning with 6G, will progressively become fully run and governed by AI
functions is a big unresolved question.
Integrated Networks
Since the development of cellular networks a few decades ago, delivering coverage to rural regions and locations with
harsh circumstances (e.g., disaster-affected areas) has been a key issue for wireless systems. Drones that can function as
flying wireless BSs appear to be one possible answer for this decades-old problem. Drone-BSs can, in fact, supplement
terrestrial ground networks by providing wireless access to hotspots and rural regions with little infrastructure. Drone-BSs
can also be utilised to provide on-demand wireless connectivity in disaster-affected regions in response to emergency
scenarios.
Drones will be critical users of 5G infrastructure and beyond, in addition to functioning as BSs. In order to receive control
data, send sensory data (e.g., maps or films), or communicate with ground infrastructure, drones will need wireless
connectivity. Because drones will play a dual function in future wireless networks, 6G systems will be fundamentally 3D
wireless systems that must achieve volumetric performance requirements. In addition, to enable communication for drone-
BSs as well as terrestrial BSs, satellite connectivity with low orbit satellites (LEO) and CubeSats will be required to offer
backhaul linkages as well as additional broad area coverage.
As a result, integrating terrestrial, aerial, and satellite networks into an unified wireless system will be a key goal for 6G.
Energy
All of the services envisioned for 6G have one thing in common: they all require energy efficiency. Many devices such as
wearables, sensors, and implants, have a tiny form factor and limited power and computational capabilities. As a result, 6G
systems must be able to offer communications that are more energy efficient. One option is to take use of developing
13
energy harvesting and energy transfer technology. On the one hand, 6G infrastructure may take use of recent developments
in energy harvesting to outfit network equipment (such as BSs or even drones) with solar-powered energy sources that
provide a clean and consistent source of power.
RF energy collection and transfer, on the other hand, may be used to deliver RF energy to IoE devices. Indeed, 6G may be
the first cellular generation capable of delivering energy. It is expected that 6G BSs should be capable of delivering basic
energy transmission for IoE devices, particularly implants, wearables, and sensors, as wireless energy transfer technologies
improve. Other energy-related concepts, such as energy harvesting and backscatter communication, will also be significant
6G enablers.
Alongside 6G
A few technologies will begin to grow at the same time as 6G, and as a result, they may be able to help with the last stages
of 6G standardization and research. Quantum computing and communications, for instance, can provide security and long-
distance networking. While the 6G system is unlikely to make extensive use of quantum technology, it is expected that
quantum communication to become increasingly feasible and practicable on the same timetable as 6G.
As a result, while the precise function of quantum communications and computation in 6G is yet unknown, greater
synergies between these two fields are expected in the next years. Quantum computing, for example, has the potential to
speed up many of the algorithms that run in a cellular system, reducing latency. Furthermore, quantum computing has the
potential to be a key enabler for quicker AI at the edge of 6G networks and beyond. Finally, new fields such as neuro-
inspired designs and molecular communications may play a role in the development of 6G systems.
Summary
6G will bring unprecedented changes and opportunities to the telecom industry. By seizing this technology, telecom
operators can finally break their growth bottlenecks. The powerful connectivity brought by 6G will improve the efficiency
and competitiveness of many industries and applications as well as facilitate the development of new ones. The
development of technologies to support 6G networks will derive their requirements from the applications they are expected
to support and this in turn will require the development of ground-breaking technologies across multiple scientific fields.
References:
- https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/6g-fundamentals-vision-enabling-technologies-dr-david-soldani/
- https://par.nsf.gov/servlets/purl/10192293
- https://www.ericsson.com/en/blog/2021/7/hexa-x-6g-technology-6g-use-cases
- https://hexa-x.eu/deliverables/
- https://www.6gworld.com/latest-research/6g-fundamentals-vision-and-enabling-technologies/
- https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-58197-8_7
- https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.06049
- https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.12475

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6G: Potential Use Cases and Enabling Technologies

  • 1. 1 6G: Potential Use Cases and Enabling Technologies Dr Biplab Sidkar Ritvik Gupta Associate Professor Student (A-Levels) Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering Sutton Grammar School National University of Singapore London, United Kingdom Abstract Starting from the 1980s, cellular networking technologies have been undergoing a generational shift roughly every ten years. Currently, while deployments of the 5th generation or 5G mobile communication systems are being rolled out, discussion has already started in various academic and industry forums on the next generation (i.e., 6G) of networks. Network operators are driven towards newer generations of networks to improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of energy and spectrum usage. In addition, the development of 6G technologies is driven by two primary factors: the exponential growth in the traffic generated by mobile networks and new disruptive services / applications that are envisioned for the future. The past decade has seen a steady growth in the number of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The number of devices from the Internet of Things (IoT) have seen an explosive increase and they now outnumber traditional devices on the Internet. The popularity of video-based applications, machine-to-machine communications, and cloud-based services has contributed to the continuous increase in cellular traffic, with expected traffic volumes of 5016 EB per month in 2030, as compared to 62 EB (exabytes) per month in 2020, according to ITU-R (International Telecom Union – Radiocommunication sector). One of the primary contributors to this growth in traffic will be the advent of new network-based technologies and applications. These applications will not only provide the economic and business case for the deployment of 6G networks, but also serve to define the technical requirements of such networks. Some of these applications and use cases include sustainable development, massive twinning, telepresence, robotics, etc. To support these disruptive use cases and applications, the 6G system will need to provide orders of magnitude improvements on capacity, reliability, and efficiency, while also ensuring security and financial feasibility. This white paper presents an overview of some of the promising applications and use case envisioned for 6G, with the objective to highlight the potential for new markets and to provide an indication of the expected technical requirements. The white paper then describes some of the enabling technologies for meeting the performance requirements of 6G.
  • 2. 2 Use Cases While the deployment of 6G is about ten years in the future, efforts, investments, and initiatives have started globally by various industry players and governments to scope out the requirements to develop necessary technologies. An application driven vision for 6G that is rooted in commercial realism is important to conduct efficient, directed research and ensuring coordination between different stakeholders. Additionally, investments and strategic decisions must be made based on economic viability and business cases. Applications for 6G networks will not only include use cases that are advanced versions of current use case, but also new digital services that represent an extension of human senses and a closer fusion of the virtual, physical and digital worlds. The promising uses cases covered in this paper for 6G include: → Massive Twinning → Sustainable Development → Telepresence → Robots to Cobots → Local Trust Zones
  • 3. 3 Massive Twinning Massive twinning, or the use of the more basic Digital Twin (DT) concept across a broad range of use cases, will become more important. Massive twinning is intended to lead us to a complete digital representation of our environment, extending its use beyond production/manufacturing (as it has done so far), to areas such as environmental management, transportation, logistics, entertainment, social interactions, digital health, defense, and public safety, to name a few. A DT is a virtualized model and real-time representation of a physical asset, i.e., a representation of the asset's structure, role, and activity in the digital realm. A fully synchronized and accurate digital representation of the physical and human world is required in all circumstances. The concept of worlds is crucial. This is resource-intensive because it necessitates exact representations of the physical world, increased means of creating insights and predictions, as well as experimenting with them in the real world. “What if” scenarios are essential, as are methods to influence the environment. All of these require unprecedented levels of data transfer, extraordinary performance (capacity, bit rates, low latency, computation power), and reliability, as well as sustainability and trustworthiness. High- resolution and dynamic 4D mapping, as well as tools to impact the physical world, are also required. The main drivers of the use case scenarios for dynamic DTs and virtual worlds will be high- resolution indoor and outdoor mapping, along with real-time, multi-sensory mapping and rendering, movement prediction, and real-time analytics, Digital Twins for manufacturing Massive Twinning will result as the use of DTs in industrial/production situations grows. It will allow us to go beyond present levels of production agility, allowing for more efficient interaction of production methods to embrace a greater scope of the respective processes. DTs can be utilized for a variety of purposes in the realms of production and logistics. The following sub-cases, for example, can be identified: Managing infrastructure resources. The industrial facility is experimenting with numerous situations using the DT's "what-if" feature. Real-time interaction with the physical world is used to support the scenarios. The operator selects a configuration and ensures that it is implemented quickly and reliably. It's also possible that a catastrophic crisis will emerge. The DT creates an accurate picture of the situation (using advanced reasoning, machine learning/prediction methods, and more typical polling and alarm functions), finds mitigation actions, and implements them at the highest performance levels and with the maximum security. New items must be designed and linked to its DT automatically. New products are designed, then tested (to some extent) in a virtual environment; the DT of the proposed product is constructed and tested in the digital world. Physical manufacturing can begin only if that equipment performs to exact specifications in the digital work environment. The physical build would then be linked to its DT, for example, by sensors and actuators, so that the DT holds all the information that the physical counterpart has. Immersive Smart City City livability is a concept that is determined by a vast number of weighted parameter sets. The sets cover a wide range of topics, including city infrastructure (for example, roads, rails, buildings, networks), the atmosphere/environment (for example, climate, air quality), healthcare (for example, health system management, quantified self), education and culture, stability/safety, and many others. Efficient management of all these aspects offers technological difficulties, societal potential, and business prospects. Most technical issues regarding the specified ‘smart cities’ are concerned with aspects such as the amount of traffic that needs to be transferred, the time scales and reliability associated with it, and so on. The ability to perceive, foresee, and manage risks or other less critical events has societal significance. Operators and other ICT companies get business opportunities by aiding cities in achieving their objectives. Smart city mapping and planning will be another use case scenario for DT technology. In the 2030s, a city will be a dynamic system of systems made up of many different constituent parts such as people, infrastructure, and events. The DT city model will be a strong tool for future evolution and planning, as well as enhanced and efficient management of future smart cities, when combined with real-time feedback from the actual environment and its related assets. Some of the characteristics of the introduction of massive twining to urban environment include a
  • 4. 4 digital reproduction of a genuine traffic scenario, automated train operations, utility control (energy, water, gas, etc.), air quality, and more. An interactive 4D map can be used to plan the administration of utilities such as public transportation, garbage, pipelines, cabling, buildings, and heating, or to connect the numerous sections of a plant that can be inspected and directed in detail. The 4D map can be used to forecast expected and predicted actions and behaviors of the environment and other users, follow the past, and check and regulate the function of parts by overlaying physical modelling. Human and AI operators can browse the rich data and edit it at the same time to manage and schedule operations, implementing modifications and tasks through the network's actuators and controllers. This improved flow management can also aid in the transformation of cities to more sustainable forms. This use case necessitates the transmission of large amounts of data in a short amount of time (ranging from ultra-low latency for automobiles or health to "near" real-time). This is critical for enabling activities that will improve the city's operation and livability. Simultaneously, the highest potential levels of sustainability are required, while citizens will demand and expect trustworthiness. Sustainable Development E-health for all In the coming years, it is predicted that there will be a larger proportion of elderly people and more people living in urban areas. This can lead to higher disposable income, growing inequalities and more welfare diseases such as obesity and diabetes. It may also be that under privileged neighborhoods will find it harder to access universal healthcare All these developments warrant a much higher dependence on remote and more accessible healthcare. There needs to be a trust that any remote healthcare applications are reliable. They should keep sensitive data private and aim to provide information that is trustworthy and accurate. Basic E-health services may be given everywhere with reliable Mobile Broadband (MBB) connections and medical knowledge. Local analysis of samples using specialized equipment can supplement connectivity, and availability of expertise can be extended with AI agents providing first-line help. In locations where infrastructure is lacking, local mobile E-health hubs can provide last-mile connectivity. Providing virtual medical visits to everyone who needs them would be a huge health benefit, but it would necessitate a massive extension of cellular network coverage to enable these services. A significant problem for 6G networks is reaching everyone on the planet at a reasonable cost, especially in areas where fibre development is not feasible (remote islands, rural areas, and politically unstable regions). Sensitive medical data would need to be routed, stored, and processed across a network with various hops and access types, and service availability would need to be guaranteed with cost-effective solutions. Institutional coverage The ultimate goal must be to provide high-quality wireless services to all communities — this is real digital inclusion for networks. However, in the coming years, a more feasible objective may be to ensure that all schools, hospitals, and other institutions around the world, even those in poor countries and isolated rural areas of wealthy countries, have access to full 6G services. This encompasses immersive and precise communication, such as telepresence, remote virtual education, and medicine, in addition to video services. Fibre communication deployment may be prohibitively expensive in many regions, for example, due to lengthy distances in rural areas or islands, or inaccessible areas due to political instability. By expanding and further improving the deployment and performance of 5G Fixed Wireless Access, backhaul based on 6G can be provided to dedicated localities that will act as full-6G digital oases. These significant societal institutions connected to 6G services can extend connection locally, benefiting local businesses and infrastructure, and ensuring that society is integrated in the digital evolution. Earth monitor
  • 5. 5 With the provision of ubiquitous, bio-friendly energy harvesting sensors that can easily be used in any area with economic connectivity (e.g. through non-terrestrial networks (NTNs), long term land-based or local networks), the flood of sensor data can ensure that system-critical environmental issues such as weather, climate change or biodiversity are monitored in the near-real time. In genuinely isolated regions far from the infrastructure, sampling of crucial data must be possible. The Global Telemetry System can be used to improve weather/climate models, monitor the environmental status of natural disaster warning systems such as flooding, landing slopes, or to prevent illicit logging and wildlife threatened by endangered species. Autonomous supply chains To ensure a fully autonomous supply chain, demand for scoping, ordering, sourcing, packaging, routing, and delivery must be automated using local and central AI agents that are constantly optimizing the process, for example, in response to unexpected events such as natural disasters or political circumstances. 6G will enable a completely automated supply chain at a cost and complexity that is feasible. Higher resource efficiency and lower material and energy consumption can be achieved by worldwide end-to-end lifecycle tracking of items from manufacture to shipping, distribution, usage, and disposal. The usage of 6G-connected micro tags on items can help to streamline tracking, customs, safety checks, and bookkeeping by eliminating manual intervention. This will require a global system that integrates various technologies into a unified, transparent, and cost-effective system that can orchestrate an optimal supply chain end-to-end while also adapting locally to any dynamic variations using the most appropriate connectivity solution at the time. The system will also track the current state of businesses and factories to predict when something must be sourced, from where, and what optimal and alternate delivery routes are available, as well as provide last-mile delivery. The location and status of the shipments should be always tracked to ensure a flexible and responsive supply chain. Telepresence This use case entails being present and interacting with others at any time and place, using all of one's senses if chosen. It allows humans to engage with each other as well as the other two worlds' physical and digital objects. All of a person's senses can be used to exchange sensory information, and possibly increasing the senses' capabilities. To supply this use case, many research challenges must be overcome. To meet the required data rates, a lot of experience is required. To avoid an incomplete experience or even sickness, a low enough latency with large data rates and enough reliability is required. The connectedness is built on the foundation of a network of networks. Intelligence that is connected enhances performance. All of this must be done in a long-term manner, and trustworthiness is a necessary first step. Global service coverage enables provisioning of telepresence everywhere. Fully merged cyber physical worlds For both business and social engagement, mixed reality (MR) and holographic telepresence will become the standard. It will be possible to appear to be in one area while actually being in another via holographic telepresence. Other use cases include facilitating collaboration and white- collar professionals undertaking remote home-working outside of office hours, strengthening teacher-student interactions in eLearning classes and improving diagnosis during teleconsultations. This can include telepresence gatherings with friends and family as well as virtual trips to far-flung locations. The user would be immersed in a world where his or her hologram is synchronized to devices on his or her body for an increased sensory experience, thanks to incredibly rich sensing of many kinds. Users want to speak with people who are far away with a level of interactivity that is extremely similar to reality. They want to be able to perceive body language (gesture, intonation, expressions, ambient sounds, and so on) as well as other senses (for example, touching objects). In physical reality, MR telepresence allows interaction with both physical and digital items that are close or far away. Wearable technology, such as earbuds and electronics integrated in our clothing, as well as other unique user
  • 6. 6 interfaces, will enable this experience and use case. Multiple wearables will be carried by humans, all of which will work in unison to provide natural, intuitive interfaces. Touchscreen typing will almost certainly become obsolete. It will become the standard to utilize gestures and talk to whatever devices are used to get things done. Our devices will be completely context-aware, and the network will grow increasingly adept at anticipating our demands. Our telepresence interaction will become more intuitive and efficient because of this context awareness mixed with new human-machine interfaces. Mixed reality co-design Remote collaboration and "experience before prototyping" are two terms used to describe mixed reality co- design. This may, for example, apply in a factory setting where two people are working remotely to create something complex using both actual and virtual elements. In a virtual-real merger of worlds, an MR reality co-design system will allow designers to collaborate on creative virtual products. As part of the MR co-design process, designers will be able to focus on the design itself and its relationship with the surrounding environment. Co-designing MR will lead to new types of human-machine interaction, such as recording the designer's head or eye movement, emotional state, facial expressions, and body parameters like heart rate or blood pressure. Such an approach can be defined under the term: "Spatial computing". Furthermore, spatial mapping and imaging technology can be used to capture the co-design context. Designers' behavior and critical metrics are expected to be included in the co-design process and work in the 2030s. The MR co-design use case will be substantially enhanced with the integration of machine learning and AI. The future generation of Industrial IoT will be transformed by deconstructed and advanced user equipment combined with wearables. Immersive sports events Motion capture technology is used in today's sport simulators to create lifelike reconstructions of real players. With the introduction of XR (extended reality) gaming, this will be stretched even further to include 3D rendering of any simulated sports event. With 6G, it will be feasible to motion capture actual games in real time and produce a DT of the entire game, which hundreds of millions of people around the world may watch live from any viewpoint. Many viewers would be content with a traditional overview determined by expert camera operators, and hence much of the information can be broadcasted single-to-multipoint. The 3D rendering, on the other hand, allows end users to observe the game from any angle with a 360° view, such as following a certain player or watching the game from the perspective of the ball. In these circumstances, processing would have to be done locally to render the intriguing field of view with great fidelity. By combining real- time imagery with pre-rendered models, AI models could help forecast the players' near-future motion. The experience might include watching the game from a virtual bleacher and interacting with a friend while doing so. Merged reality (game/work) Gaming in a public or dedicated venue involves sharing a merged reality with a large group of people, blurring the line between reality and the virtual world. Some of the game's items or other players are physically present, while others are digitally enhanced with visual, tactile, or olfactory sensations, and yet others are completely digital but appear to be real. Players in the same game have a combined experience and exchange synchronized sensory data, which might be real or fake. Digital meetings can be held in which the user interacts with a hologram avatar of himself or herself, giving the impression that he or she is totally present. Participants can receive tactile and sensory feedback, and visual information can be experienced in an immersive manner via a smart contact lens, for example. In the virtual domain, digital co-creation is simple to manage, making distant work and training easier. Robots → Cobots (Collaborative robots) The 6G system provides the technical foundation for going beyond individual robot command and control. Instead, it allows robots to create symbiotic relationships with one another, allowing them to complete complicated jobs more quickly
  • 7. 7 or better adapt to the wants and desires of people in day-to-day interactions. In human-machine and machine-machine interaction, trustworthiness and digital inclusion are key values. Complex tasks can be completed in a sustainable manner by collaborating and forming symbiotic relationships: rather than devising more and more complex machinery and allocating more and more resources, this use case family focuses on the intelligent and flexible utilization of existing capabilities for the benefit of society. With improved flexibility in production and resource use, as well as connected intelligence, machines may conduct highly individualized on-demand activities using revolutionary production methods such as additive manufacturing. This use case family is linked to several research challenges. The level of trust is paramount, because the use cases in this family rely on combining intelligence and making collaborative judgments. Targeting the network of networks necessitates flexibility in network topologies and resource distribution. Some use cases, such as those in the industrial sector, necessitate exceptional performance, such as latency, dependability, and positioning. Sustainability is a major issue, particularly when dealing with high-performance use cases. The difficulty of inclusion is addressed by having meaningful AI partners and human-machine interaction. Consumer robots Many consumer robots will advance beyond today's automated vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers to become an integral component of future living. These might be a swarm of tiny robots that collaborate to complete tasks or self- driving robots that give convenience. The robots will be outfitted with video cameras that will feed to a local compute server for real-time processing, as well as advanced sensing and positioning features for smooth and natural interactions between users, robots, and the environment, thanks to 6G. 6G's networked AI capabilities will be used by robots for situation-aware cooperation, collaboration, and help. As a result, we will witness a growth in the number of devices connected to our home networks, as well as increasing capacity requirements, necessitating even more seamless communication throughout the emerging network of (local) networks. In the long run, domestic robots will allow the elderly to remain in their homes longer and improve their quality of life. AI Partners AI agents will become more common and engrained in society as AI improves and its integration into 6G systems, relieving humans of more and more responsibilities. Many activities, however, will still require human operators to actively interact with AI partners to jointly complete tasks, with the AI supporting the human operator rather than the AI and human operating as equal partners. Instead of relying on specific machines or autonomous systems, the AI agent can be far more general-purpose and operate as a partner who interacts autonomously and adaptively by interpreting intents and surroundings, completing demanding and risky activities with other agents (humans/machines). This AI agent could be a group of drones autonomously collaborating to solve various tasks, or it could be a simple stationary machine in a factory, software controlling the illumination wherever you are by communicating with other AI agents in the vicinity, whether in your home, office, or public space. This necessitates reliable cyber-physical systems that can work in harmony with groups of humans and intelligent machines while taking precise action. If the AI partner interacts with other AI agents; the form of communication may transition to a new breed of user plane communication in order to take use of and allow distributed computation capabilities. Flexible manufacturing With the growing personalization and modularization of production (for example, production of a single, highly customized products) and flexibility of manufacturing systems (for example, mobile robots), powerful wireless communication and localization services are required. The machinery and related communication will be dynamically configured for each production task, either by a production system or by direct collaboration among (mobile) production machines in a self-organizing manner. This entails the coordination of AGVs (Automatic guided vehicles), as greater flexibility in the manufacturing process necessitates greater flexibility in logistics. Dynamic configuration of real-time communication services is required, which might be initiated by end systems and carried out in a distributed manner. A flexible framework is required to assign appropriate communication resources and capabilities (for example, local compute, D2D communication, and frequency ranges). Data from the production process must be kept secure and private, and high availability and functional safety criteria must be maintained.
  • 8. 8 Local trust zones Up to today, "mobile" communications are mostly "cellular" communications. However, many use cases necessitate local or private communication capabilities for highly sensitive data that is tightly integrated throughout wide-area networks. It is necessary to use network topologies other than cellular topologies and security concepts other than traditional security architectures. Local trust zones that protect individual or machine-specific information, as well as independent sub- networks like body area networks that enable advanced medical diagnosis and therapy or on-board networks of AGVs, must be dynamically and transparently integrated into wide area networks, or remain on-premises as private networks, as needed. Working on research problems such as: "Connecting Intelligence," "Network of Networks," and "Trustworthiness" will aid in the development of communication solutions for various application cases. In traditional cellular networks, private and often local sub-networks are merged, trust zones for sensitive data – typically under strict regulation – are developed, and AI capability is integrated. Local trust zones can be dynamically altered with autonomous and intelligent service capability enabling to match the type of network coverage needed for the services. Precision healthcare In today's medicine, disease treatment and prevention measures are often devised for the average person using a one- size-fits-all strategy. According to the Precision Medicine Initiative, precision medicine is "a developing method for illness treatment and prevention that takes into account individual diversity in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person." 24/7 monitoring of vital markers for both the healthy and the sick using a variety of wearable devices would be important in understanding the surroundings and lifestyle of people. Self-tracking and monitoring will be possible for anyone interested in their personal analytics, or "quantified self," thanks to in-body technologies. In general, precision medicine-based health monitoring, diagnosis, and therapy will enable tailored diagnosis and treatment. In this scenario, in-body devices communicate with wearables outside the body, which can then send data to the internet. Continuous health monitoring and adjustive actions, such as pharmaceutical dispensers, can be conducted via topical, implanted, injected, or swallowed sensors and equipment. Organ malfunction and pain are examples of bodily and sensory reactions that may be represented and studied in the digital domain. In-body sensors and analytics, along with a broad area connectivity option, will enable a 6G tele-medical paradigm. Clearly, very high privacy requirements, such as the need for local anonymization, will necessitate the use of local protected signal processing. Access to information from the Cyber-Physical Environment may be required to log people's actions and environments. Regulations particular to the application domain must be considered. This use case necessitates the interaction of a local trust zone with wide-area network security, access to information available in other networks filtered according to pre-defined rules, and a separation of network transport, control, and security. In terms of regulation, in addition to the challenges of adapting to medical sector laws, the integration of medical devices in wide area networks is currently problematic and disruptive. Sensor Infrastructure web A simple autonomous car moves about the environment, depending on external third-party sensors as if they were on-board sensors. The car collects external data from externally available sensors, or navigation commands via the network, with complete confidence in the data's accuracy, timeliness, and confidentiality, and can also share its own sensor data. This enables the aggregation of sensor data across multiple systems, including those that lack sensor capability. All connected devices, such as automobiles, can get locally relevant and trusted sensor information advertised by the network. Currently, the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) does not allow for the diffusion or exchange of sensor data in predefined local settings or to networks or network components that are subject to external security control. This use case may necessitate the division of network ownership, control, transport, and security, depending on the implementation. Finally, it is currently impossible for a network to advertise and distribute sensor data provided by other parties in well-defined local areas. IoT micro-networks for smart cities
  • 9. 9 The rise of smart city applications (such as energy management, traffic control, and citizen safety) would necessitate a large-scale deployment of communicating items. Smart city administrators aspire to provide the required coverage for smart city networks with little energy consumption and without the use of many base stations. They require self-adaptive networks with objects acting as relays. These micro networks would control the flow of data from items, robots, and other systems that interact locally in a complex system. In 5G, there are network slices and private networks with their own network nodes. Micro-networks with possibly varied ownership and security management may share parts of the infrastructure with wide area networks, i.e., a private network with partly owned infrastructure and a private trust policy is integrated into a public network. Automatic public security Wireless cameras will be used as sensors in large numbers. The camera will become a ubiquitous sensor that can be used everywhere, thanks to improvements in AI and machine vision and their ability to distinguish people and objects (or more broadly, automatically acquire information from photos and videos). Data access will be limited, and information will be anonymized to satisfy privacy concerns. Radio and other sensing modalities, such as acoustics, will also be employed to collect data about the surroundings. To eliminate security lines, sophisticated techniques will be deployed in security screening operations. People will be screened as they walk through congested places, rather than only at entrances, using a combination of different sensing modalities. Radio sensing will be a key component in doing this; the network will be able to perceive the environment thanks to future communication systems. It may, for example, be configured to automatically recognize specific types of metallic objects carried by people or robots in a crowded area. The network can detect and identifying possible threats.
  • 10. 10 Enabling Technologies To meet the network requirements of the applications envisioned for 6G environments, technological advancements are required in various key areas. The essential technology enablers that will be necessary to realize the vision of 6G networks will include fundamental advancements in our ability to transfer, process, and make decision based on data. The main targets for these advancements include: → Transceivers → Intelligent Surfaces for Communication → Frequency Bands → Artificial Intelligence → Energy
  • 11. 11 Transceivers It will be impossible to provide continuous connection for mobile 6G services by depending solely on dense, high- frequency small cells. Instead, it is vital to think of a system that can use various frequencies throughout the microwave/mmWave/THz bands (e.g., multimode base stations) to offer seamless connection at both the broad and local area network levels. Early research has demonstrated the feasibility of pursuing such multiband communication. In addition, the merging of RF (radio frequency) and non-RF bands is expected. For example, one may utilize RF, optical, and visible light communication (VLC) to improve not just communication efficiency but also the system's resistance to traffic surges (e.g., in hotspot areas or even disaster- affected areas). Intelligent Surfaces for Communication Wireless research has primarily focused on two directions to deliver higher data rates: (a) exploring higher frequencies such as the mmWave bands, and (b) equipping tower- mounted base stations (BSs) with a massive number of RF antennas via the so-called massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) communication feature. Massive MIMO and mmWave bands will be critical in both 5G and 6G, as they may help overcome spectrum shortages as well as wireless channel obstacles like fading and interference, resulting in improved SEE and greater data rates at higher frequencies. These two approaches to speedier wireless networking, however, each have their own set of restrictions. The hardware capabilities of BS towers, for example, limits the number of RF antennas and types of RF circuits that may be utilized to build a "really enormous" MIMO system. Furthermore, because mmWave frequencies are highly susceptible to channel variations (e.g., blockage), reaping their benefits necessitates maintaining constant line-of- sight (LoS) links to users, which can only be accomplished through network densification – the deployment of many massive MIMO BSs. Densification, on the other hand, is constrained by a variety of geographical and hardware restrictions. As a result, ushering in the 6G era will necessitate a significant rethinking of wireless cellular system design. For decades, the focus of wireless research and development efforts has been on developing efficient transceivers while assuming an uncontrolled wireless channel and propagation environment. Man-made structures including as walls, buildings, and roads, on the other hand, may now be transformed into electromagnetically active ‘metasurfaces’ that can be used as RF transceivers, complementing, or even replacing traditional tower-mounted BSs, thanks to recent advancements in metamaterial-based technologies. This allows large reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) to be built, which can be used to not only design more effective massive MIMO transceivers (with antenna arrays spanning a large surface and the ability to perform near-field LoS communications), but also to control the propagation environment by using RISs as wireless signal reflectors. Indeed, it is predicted that for 6G systems, there will be a transition away from traditional huge MIMO over tower-mounted BSs and toward enormous RISs and smart environments that function as both transceivers and reflectors, providing massive surfaces for wireless communications and heterogeneous devices. As a result of RIS, 6G systems will be able to manage the propagation environment, posing a slew of new research problems and possibilities. They'll also open new ways to communicate wirelessly, such as employing holographic RF radio and holographic MIMO. Frequency Bands Higher data rates and SEE will be required wherever, anytime in 6G, according to network trends. As a result, the investigation of higher-frequency bands beyond sub-6 GHz, which began with 5G and mmWave, becomes more important. One of the most significant constraints of 5G systems, as previously stated, is the unavailability of high-speed wireless access at high frequencies for highly mobile settings. As a result, establishing new fundamental science to comprehend how to make mobile mmWave a reality in early 6G systems, or even at the beyond 5G stage, is a first step in this field.
  • 12. 12 A mix of sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands, as well as the use of caching to reduce handover failures, are among the enabling technologies required to achieve the vision of mobile mmWave communications. Exploiting frequencies above mmWave, notably in the terahertz (THz) frequency ranges, will become essential as 6G advances. To take advantage of higher THz and mmWave frequencies, certain 6G cells would have to be reduced in size from small cells to “tiny cells” with a radius of only a few tens of metres. As a result, as technology approaches the THz frontier and moves higher in frequency, new network architecture solutions will be required to support considerably denser deployments of tiny cells. Furthermore, at higher frequencies, new mobility management strategies must be developed that are adapted to the extremely intermittent character of high-frequency communication connections. Artificial Intelligence Because of recent advancements in deep learning, increased data availability, and the emergence of smart devices, AI is generating a lot of interest in the wireless communications field. At least three AI use case scenarios for 6G are envisaged: (a) the rise of on-device, edge AI techniques that exploit advances in federated learning and related areas to enable the 6G system to exploit distributed, multi-agent reinforcement learning techniques for network optimization and SSN creation; (b) the use of AI to enable 6G to offer MPS to its devices automatically as well as build and broadcast 3D radio environment maps; (c) to allow 6G systems to usher in a new era of "collective network intelligence," in which network intelligence is enhanced at the edge to enable fully dispersed autonomy. Indeed, whether future wireless networks, beginning with 6G, will progressively become fully run and governed by AI functions is a big unresolved question. Integrated Networks Since the development of cellular networks a few decades ago, delivering coverage to rural regions and locations with harsh circumstances (e.g., disaster-affected areas) has been a key issue for wireless systems. Drones that can function as flying wireless BSs appear to be one possible answer for this decades-old problem. Drone-BSs can, in fact, supplement terrestrial ground networks by providing wireless access to hotspots and rural regions with little infrastructure. Drone-BSs can also be utilised to provide on-demand wireless connectivity in disaster-affected regions in response to emergency scenarios. Drones will be critical users of 5G infrastructure and beyond, in addition to functioning as BSs. In order to receive control data, send sensory data (e.g., maps or films), or communicate with ground infrastructure, drones will need wireless connectivity. Because drones will play a dual function in future wireless networks, 6G systems will be fundamentally 3D wireless systems that must achieve volumetric performance requirements. In addition, to enable communication for drone- BSs as well as terrestrial BSs, satellite connectivity with low orbit satellites (LEO) and CubeSats will be required to offer backhaul linkages as well as additional broad area coverage. As a result, integrating terrestrial, aerial, and satellite networks into an unified wireless system will be a key goal for 6G. Energy All of the services envisioned for 6G have one thing in common: they all require energy efficiency. Many devices such as wearables, sensors, and implants, have a tiny form factor and limited power and computational capabilities. As a result, 6G systems must be able to offer communications that are more energy efficient. One option is to take use of developing
  • 13. 13 energy harvesting and energy transfer technology. On the one hand, 6G infrastructure may take use of recent developments in energy harvesting to outfit network equipment (such as BSs or even drones) with solar-powered energy sources that provide a clean and consistent source of power. RF energy collection and transfer, on the other hand, may be used to deliver RF energy to IoE devices. Indeed, 6G may be the first cellular generation capable of delivering energy. It is expected that 6G BSs should be capable of delivering basic energy transmission for IoE devices, particularly implants, wearables, and sensors, as wireless energy transfer technologies improve. Other energy-related concepts, such as energy harvesting and backscatter communication, will also be significant 6G enablers. Alongside 6G A few technologies will begin to grow at the same time as 6G, and as a result, they may be able to help with the last stages of 6G standardization and research. Quantum computing and communications, for instance, can provide security and long- distance networking. While the 6G system is unlikely to make extensive use of quantum technology, it is expected that quantum communication to become increasingly feasible and practicable on the same timetable as 6G. As a result, while the precise function of quantum communications and computation in 6G is yet unknown, greater synergies between these two fields are expected in the next years. Quantum computing, for example, has the potential to speed up many of the algorithms that run in a cellular system, reducing latency. Furthermore, quantum computing has the potential to be a key enabler for quicker AI at the edge of 6G networks and beyond. Finally, new fields such as neuro- inspired designs and molecular communications may play a role in the development of 6G systems. Summary 6G will bring unprecedented changes and opportunities to the telecom industry. By seizing this technology, telecom operators can finally break their growth bottlenecks. The powerful connectivity brought by 6G will improve the efficiency and competitiveness of many industries and applications as well as facilitate the development of new ones. The development of technologies to support 6G networks will derive their requirements from the applications they are expected to support and this in turn will require the development of ground-breaking technologies across multiple scientific fields. References: - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/6g-fundamentals-vision-enabling-technologies-dr-david-soldani/ - https://par.nsf.gov/servlets/purl/10192293 - https://www.ericsson.com/en/blog/2021/7/hexa-x-6g-technology-6g-use-cases - https://hexa-x.eu/deliverables/ - https://www.6gworld.com/latest-research/6g-fundamentals-vision-and-enabling-technologies/ - https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-58197-8_7 - https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.06049 - https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.12475