Introduction to "6G SENTINEL" Project in Germany

There are quite a few 6G projects and groups in Germany and it's one of those countries that makes a lot of information available in English. Today we look at the 6G SENTINEL project that started Jan. 01, 2021 and expected to run until Dec. 31, 2023.

In the 6G SENTINEL project, the five participating Fraunhofer Institutes are developing key technologies for the impending 6G mobile communications standard. To this end, they are working on further improving the data rates, availability, accuracy, service quality and reliability of mobile communications. 6G SENTINEL aims not only to push existing 5G technologies further, but also to develop brand new approaches that will help applications such as virtual reality, digital twins and autonomous driving achieve a genuine breakthrough with 6G. The top priorities are to exploit terahertz frequencies and develop technology for more flexible networks, in particular by incorporating satellites and flying platforms.

6G SENTINEL is targeting improvements to device antennas and front-end modules. It also seeks to optimize transmission technologies in the radio access network (RAN) and increase the flexibility of the core network. This means the project will help further develop all relevant components of a mobile communications network.

The participating institutes bring to the project complementary expertise from the fields of radio access networks, localization, core networks, semiconductor technologies for THz communication and electronics packaging. This creates a unique conjunction of application know-how, technology expertise for individual aspects of a 6G network and overall systems expertise.

To make mobile communications in the THz range a reality, researchers in the 6G SENTINEL project are working on the development of radio channel models and link-level simulators for the frequency range between 100 and 300 GHz. Based on this, the prototype of a highly integrated terahertz transmitter module is to be created, which, together with a transmission method that is also to be developed, will be suitable for demonstrating mobile THz links.

Based on many years of experience as a developer of the Open5GCore core network, Fraunhofer FOKUS is involved in this project in the development of a software-based, 6G-ready core network, which, depending on the use case, will be extended by secure and trusted components for dynamic control, enable the integration of novel access and backhaul networks, and support AI-based network automation.

Mobile data rates, availability, accuracy, quality of service, and reliability are expected to continuously improve starting from the 5G standard. Overall, this performance improvement in 6G will be accompanied by a much higher connection density. The foremost goals are to tap terahertz frequencies and develop technology for more flexible networks, in particular by incorporating satellites and flying platforms.

A 6G SENTINEL whitepaper is available here.

This slightly old but short video embedded below explains the 6G SENTINEL project details.

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