Beyond 5G/6G White Paper by NICT, Japan

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) is Japan's primary national research institute for information and communications. As Japan’s sole National Research and Development Agency specializing in the field of information and communications technology, NICT is charged with promoting ICT sector as well as research and development in ICT, which drives economic growth and creates an affluent, safe and secure society.

NICT published Beyond 5G/6G White Paper last year. An updated version in English was released in June this year. Quoting from the whitepaper

This white paper presents the results of discussions for the realization of the Beyond 5G/6G world by NICT as an expert group on information and communication technology, and we would like to continue discussions with many people based on this.

Chapter 2 describes the characteristics of Beyond 5G as an open platform, and presents the concept of Beyond 5G architecture, which enables existing players in the mobile communications field to support Beyond 5G functions and enables new players to take an active role in expanding mobile communications services. Chapter 3 adds scenarios that delve into ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) as a starting point for discussions on the negative aspects brought about by Beyond 5G, in addition to the previous three scenarios. Chapter 4 adds elemental technologies and summarizes them in an easy-to-read manner. Chapter 5 explains the latest efforts on the Beyond 5G shared R&D testbed being developed by NICT. Chapter 6 reflects the latest information on standardization activities and Beyond 5G R&D promotion projects being conducted by NICT.

Quoting from the Executive summary:

Beyond 5G/6G, the next-generation information and communications infrastructure, is essential to achieving SDGs and Society 5.0. In this case, since the functions required for Beyond 5G/6G cover a wide range from physical space to cyberspace, the creation of new services can be expected by combining each function with the right person in the right place. From this point of view, it is important for Beyond 5G/6G to have the characteristics of an open platform as a receiver of various function groups, and to secure a mechanism capable of sustainable growth as a social infrastructure. Accordingly, it is necessary to design the functional architecture of Beyond 5G/6G

In physical space, a flexible and extensible communication environment can be provided by combining not only conventional terrestrial mobile networks but also satellite networks and multicore optical networks. In cyberspace, various spaces coexist depending on the application, and information processing such as accumulated past data and future predictions is performed.

In the Beyond 5G/6G era, time and space will be controlled at a high level in both physical space and cyberspace, and the fusion of both spaces will make it possible to achieve things that could not have been achieved in physical space alone. Services that can be implemented across both physical space and cyberspace are expected to help solve various social issues.

You can download the whitepaper here.

According to a recent article by Nikkei Asia, Japan is setting up a fund to support research into next-generation 6G wireless networks as the country seeks to spur private investment in the future standard. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) will earmark 66.2 billion yen ($450 million) in the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2023. To be established in the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), the fund will offer financial support for research and development over several years. Details here.

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