The 6G Architecture Landscape from 5G PPP Architecture Working Group

Late last year, the 5G Architecture Working Group as part of the 5G PPP Initiative released a whitepaper for public consultation titled, "The 6G Architecture Landscape – a European perspective". The aim of that was to identify and capture novel trends and key technological enablers for the realization of the 5G and 6G architecture. The eventual aim being to present the architectural concepts developed in various projects and initiatives (not limited to 5G PPP projects only) in a harmonized way so as to provide a consolidated view on the technical directions for the architecture design in the 5G/6G era.

Since then it has released an updated version. Version 6, updated in Feb 2023 seems to be the latest of these. The following is an extract from the summary:

This white paper summarizes the main findings from the European research landscape on the vision of the 6G architecture. Such a design vision is derived from around 45 projects starting from October 2020 in all relevant areas of 5G while paving the way towards 6G, within the 5G Public Private-Partnership (5G PPP) in the scope of the European Framework for Research and Innovation (the list of contributing projects can be obtained from the 5G PPP website at At present, the European networking research community has started a new program along with 33 projects on the Smart Networks and Service (SNS) programme that will focus on 5G advanced and 6G. The 5G/B5G Architecture Working Group (WG), as part of the 5G PPP Initiative, is identifying and capturing novel trends and key technological enablers for the realization of the 5G and 6G architecture. The main findings and results of the Architecture WG are now captured in this white paper, which presents a consolidated view from European perspective on the technical directions for the architecture design in the 6G era.

The white paper starts with an analysis of the societal, economic, regulatory and technological trends on the design and development of future 6G networks towards 2030 and beyond. Infused by emerging and disruptive digital technologies on the horizon, wireless networks are and will be the keystone for enabling a transformation of the global economy and the evolution of human society. The evolution journey will carry on in the years ahead, driving a large scale of adoption of 5G and 5G-Advanced use cases with significantly decreased deployment and operation costs, and enabling new and innovative use-case-driven solutions towards the 6G with higher economic and societal values.

To realize aforementioned trends, this white paper highlights the related research work and presents all the key elements and key architecture enablers and solutions of future 6G network design; a design that is deeply rooted in real needs and can profoundly benefit humanity in the mid-to-long term. Specifically, a high-level view of the 6G End-to-End architecture as well as a functional view of the 6G reference architecture are introduced in this white paper, taking into consideration of new stakeholders in the mobile network ecosystem and how the architectural work is taking into account their requirements in all the domains of the network. The key architecture enablers, that will form the backbone of future 6G network architecture, includes all the related technological solutions for building intelligent, flexible, sustainable, secure, programmable networks and enabling versatile radio technologies, localization and sensing in the 6G networks.

The PDF of this version is here. The following is TOC:

  1. Introduction
    1. Analysis of current trends in society and technology
      1. Societal trends towards 2030 and beyond
      2. Economic trends towards 2030 and beyond
      3. Regulatory trends towards 2030 and beyond
      4. Technological trends towards 2030 and beyond
    2. Use cases and use case families
  2. Why a new architecture is needed
    1. End-2-End architecture
    2. Architectural Principles
  3. Architectural enablers
    1. Intelligent network
      1. Intelligent network key technological enablers
    2. Flexible network
      1. Flexible network key technological enablers
    3. Sustainable network
      1. Sustainability targets
      2. Sustainable network key technological enablers
    4. Secure network
      1. Security architectural components
      2. Secure network key technological enablers
    5. Versatile radio access network
      1. Versatile RAN key technological enablers
    6. Localisation and Sensing
    7. Programmable networks
      1. Key technological enablers
      2. Reshaping Network Core
    8. Management and Orchestration
  4. Conclusions and Outlook

During 2023 the 5G-PPP is working towards it’s completion with about 25 projects still running in it’s last phase. In parallel the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) has launched a first phase of 35 projects. The SNS JU specifically takes up the work from the 5GPPP and supports work beyond 5G and towards 6G Smart Networks and Services. The 'Passing the Torch' event from the 5G-PPP to the SNS JU happened recently. Details here.

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