Hexa-X-II: The European Initiative at the Forefront of Advancing the Development of a Sustainable 6G Network

We have looked at the Hexa-X projects in various blog posts (see related posts at the bottom). The published deliverables are available on the Hexa-X website here but there are more to come which will be published in June/July this year. 

In an announcement back in October 2022, European Commission said:

The European Commission (EC) has today announced the creation of Hexa-X-II, the second phase of the European 6G flagship initiative. This new phase will expand the Hexa-X partner list to 44 organizations that are tasked with creating the pre-standardized platform and system view that will form the basis for many inputs into future 6G standardization.

The Hexa-X-II project has been awarded funding from the EC as part of the first call of the Smart Network and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS-JU). This is the next significant step toward bringing together key stakeholders in Europe. The goal of both Hexa-X and Hexa-X-II is to establish Europe as leader in 6G.

Hexa-X-II represents the full value-chain for future connectivity solutions. Its members range from network vendors and communication service providers to verticals and technology providers, as well as the most prominent European communications research institutes.

Enabled by the outcomes of Hexa-X innovations, the Hexa-X-II consortium will strive to overcome the following societal challenges:

  • Sustainability: Hexa-X-II will research technologies that contribute to a zero-carbon footprint and limit energy and material consumption
  • Inclusion: Hexa-X-II aims to provide connectivity to people in developing countries as well as to the under-privileged members of developed societies
  • Trustworthiness: Hexa-X-II will ensure data transparency, security and privacy, and network robustness

Nokia will be the project leader for Hexa-X-II, following its leadership of the first Hexa-X project. Ericsson takes the role as technical manager for Hexa-X-II. Orange, TIM SpA, TU Dresden, University of Oulu, IMEC and Atos will help coordinate various work packages such as radio evolution and innovation, future devices and flexible infrastructure, smart network management and values, and requirements and ecosystem.

The Hexa-X-II project aims to start work on 1 January 2023, with a planned duration of 2.5 years.

The Hexa-X-II website talks about the following vision:

The work in Hexa-X-II expands from research to systemization analysis, early validation, and proof of concept. It progresses from the 6G key enablers that connect the human, physical, and digital worlds to advanced technology readiness – validated technology – including key aspects of modules, protocols and interfaces, and data. Hexa-X-II will design a system blueprint aiming at the sustainable, inclusive, and trustworthy 6G platform that should meet the future needs of serving and transforming society and business, as is illustrated in Figure.

Hexa-X-II will also address implementation aspects of the 6G platform and encompass a full scope consisting of:

  • Defining use cases, services, and requirements, ensuring the value for society
  • Designing the platform and system, ensuring global impact on 6G development
  • Assuring technology readiness in critical areas, ensuring EU strategic autonomy.

Hexa-X-II will move ahead of the current state of the art of 6G research and add on to the technical substance by building advanced technology readiness demonstrated with Proof of-Concepts (PoCs), by further integrating towards a 6G platform for the delivery of services, and by fostering international harmonisation of 6G development. In order to achieve this, Hexa-X-II has defined six main objectives.

  • As the foundation, the project will analyse needs and develop a consolidated set of requirements in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and KVIs for the future 6G platform, considering the key values of sustainability, inclusion, and trustworthiness (Obj. 1).
  • The 6G platform will be systemized and integrated into a blueprint considering the key values, involving an evaluation of KPIs, which in turn will provide a validation of the project’s developed design and content (Obj. 2).
  • The 6G system will enable breakthrough technologies and interfaces for connectivity services (Obj. 3), building on the progress of 5G-Advanced and meeting the demands of the 2030s.
  • Expanding the scope of networks, the project will develop enabling technologies and interfaces for novel digital services building on new network capabilities of sensing, compute, and AI (Obj. 4).
  • The project will further ensure that the 6G system is realizable, implementable, and manageable in a resource-efficient manner (Obj. 5).
  • Finally, Hexa-X-II will contribute to a holistic European 6G view and will be a leading voice in the globally aligned roadmap towards 6G by impacting standardisation activities (Obj. 6).

Combining societal pull and technology push and driving them towards 6G systemisation, Hexa-X-II will carry out pioneer work in six Work Packages and strive to maximize its global impact, delivering project objectives on 6G use cases, services, and requirements, 6G system blueprint and 6G platform, 6G technology readiness as well as 6G harmonisation.

On March 15th, Hexa-X and Hexa-X-II were invited to the Networking Channel to discuss the challenges and work towards 6G. The video of the presentation is embedded below:

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