Japanese telecoms giant NTT has announced a series of new trials exploring 6G technology with a range of partners including NEC, Fujitsu and Nokia.
NTT claimed it is aiming for commercialisation of 6G technology by 2030 and has begun research into the use of higher frequencies than those currently used for mobile services, with these trials set to target frequencies of between 100 GHz and 300 GHz. As frequencies reach higher levels propagation becomes weaker, meaning that they are not only shorter ranged but become more easily blocked by obstacles.
In the first of the trials being run, NTT’s spinoff company NTT Docomo has teamed with fellow Japanese telecoms group Fujitsu to test device connections using more dense small cell deployments and beamforming. The joint trials are set to explore multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) deployments where multiple sub-terahertz wave antennas are dispersed to simultaneously emit radio waves from multiple directions to a receiving terminal.
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Fujitsu claimed this trial will enable operators to provide reliable connectivity in these frequency bands and overcome issues created by environmental obstacles. The company also said it was seeking to develop high-frequency wireless devices with compound semiconductors.
Alongside this, NTT and Docomo have teamed with NEC for trials focussed on distributed MIMO technology for sub-terahertz frequencies as well as operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM) multiplex transmission technology aiming to boost network capacity through spatial multiplexing of the high-frequency radio waves.
Finally, a third partnership for NTT has been set up with Finnish telecoms giant Nokia, aiming to jointly define and develop key technologies related to 6G. The partnership will reportedly focus on developing an AI-native air interface and sub-terahertz radio access, with trials planned to take place in 2022 at both NTT and DOCOMO’s facilities in Japan and Nokia’s premises in Germany.
“We envision that 6G will unify the human experience across the digital, physical and human worlds"
Peter Vetter, president of the Bell Labs Core Research at Nokia, said: “We envision that 6G will unify the human experience across the digital, physical and human worlds. We build on a long tradition of collaborations between the world-leading labs at DOCOMO and Nokia Bell Labs. Nokia is very honoured to engage in this collaboration with DOCOMO and NTT, as global leading operators that are always among the first to bring new generations to the market. We look forward to working together and validating key concepts and key technologies to realise the 6G vision.”