Vision, Requirements, Challenges, Insights, and Opportunities of 6G Wireless Systems

6G is at an interesting place right now. While there are many researchers working on defining technologies that may enable the revolution part, there are also many other technologies that will lay the foundation to transition from 5G to 6G. 

Another recently published IEEE paper provides a great foundation for anyone wanting to learn about 6G and delve deeper in understanding the problems, challenges and solutions. "6G Wireless Systems: Vision, Requirements, Challenges, Insights, and Opportunities" is available on IEEE explore here. You can click on this link for the PDF.

The following is an extract from the paper:

To the best of our knowledge, this article is the first to take a holistic top-down approach in describing 6G systems.

This article begins by presenting a vision for 6G, followed by a detailed breakdown of the next-generation use cases, such as high-fidelity holographic communications, immersive reality, tactile Internet, vastly interconnected society and space-integrated communications. For each use case, we present a breakdown of its technical requirements. This is followed by a discussion on the potential deployment scenarios that 6G systems will likely operate in. 

A rigorous discussion of the research challenges and possible solutions that must be addressed from applications to the design of the next-generation core networks down to PHY is presented. Unlike other studies, we differentiate between what is theoretically possible and what may be practically achievable for each aspect of the system. In the deployment of 6G systems, backward compatibility must be considered. This is because devices will be multimode and multiband.

A 6G device will need to fall back to 5G and 4G depending upon the coverage conditions. Therefore, the 6G RAN and core network must be backward compatible with the previous generations. There will be significant challenges and design tradeoffs to achieve this; e.g., the introduction of a new network architecture for the 6G core network, as discussed in this article. This also applies to waveform and coding methods, where a large number of them will not be backward compatible with what is introduced in 5G.

After a lengthy analysis dissecting many system components, as well as exploring possible solutions, we can conclude that there is an exciting future that lies ahead. The road to overcome the challenges is full of obstacles, yet we provide enough insights to begin research toward promising directions. This will serve as a motivation for research approaching the next decade.

Here is a list of topics that the paper covers:

  • Introduction
    • Drivers for 6G Systems: Lifestyle and Societal Changes
    • Literature Review: 6G Vision and Performance Aspects
    • Contributions of This Article
    • Organization of This Article
  • 6G Use Cases and Technical Requirements
    • Use Case 1: Holographic Communications
    • Use Case 2: Tactile and Haptic Internet Applications
    • Use Case 3: Network and Computing Convergence
    • Use Case 4: Extremely High Rate Information Showers
    • Use Case 5: Connectivity for Everything
    • Use Case 6: Chip-to-Chip Communications
    • Use Case 7: Space-Terrestrial Integrated Networks
  • New Frequency Bands and Deployments
    • New Frequency Bands for 6G
    • 6G Deployment Scenarios
      • Hot Spot Deployments
      • Industrial Networks
      • Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)
      • Autonomous Vehicles and Smart Railway Networks
  • 6G Radio and Core Network Architectures: Design Principles and Fundamental Changes
    • 6G Network Design Principles
      • Superconvergence
      • Non-IP-Based Networking Protocols
      • Information-Centric & Intent-Based Networks (ICNs)
      • 360-Cybersecurity & Privacy-By-Engineering Design
      • Future-Proofing Emerging Technologies
    • Opportunities for Fundamental Change
      • Removal/Reduction of the Transport Network
      • Flattened Compute–Storage–Transport
      • Native Open-Source Support
      • AI-Native Design Enabling Human–Machine Teaming
      • Human-Centric Networks
  • New Physical Layer Techniques for 6G
    • Modulation, Waveforms, and Codes
      • Multicarrier Techniques
      • Advances in Coding
    • Multiple Antenna Techniques
      • Ultramassive MIMO Systems
      • Intelligent Surface-Assisted Communications
      • OAM-Based Systems
    • Multiple-Access Techniques
    • Free-Space Optical Communications
    • Applications of AI and ML
    • Vehicular Communications
  • Propagation Characteristics of 6G Systems
    • MmWave and THz Propagation Channels
    • Propagation Channels for Distributed Antenna Systems
    • Ultramassive MIMO Propagation Channels
    • Propagation in Industrial Environments
    • UAV Propagation Channels
    • Vehicular Propagation Channels
    • Wearable Propagation Channels
  • Real-Time Processing and RF Transceiver Design: Challenges, Possibilities, and Solutions
    • Implications of Increasing Carrier Bandwidths
    • Processing Aspects for mmWave and THz Frequency Bands
    • RF Transceiver Challenges and Possibilities
    • Comments on Energy Consumption and Efficiency
  • Conclusion 

IEEE Spectrum has an article that presents the authors views on what was the driver behind this paper. Nicely summarised in the final paragraph:

As the authors point out, this study is not a comprehensive or definitive account of 6G’s capabilities and limitations—but rather a documentation of the research conducted to date and the interesting directions for 6G technologies that future researchers could pursue.

You may find the links below complement the above paper nicely.

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