What is the meaning of the project name “6G NeXt”?

6G stands for the next – now sixth generation – of the mobile communications standard. NeXt stands for Native Extensions for XR Technologies. The abbreviation XR refers to eXtended Reality, an umbrella term that summarizes the fusion of the real world with the virtual world in a wide variety of forms.

What does native mean in this context?

Native refers to cloud-native extensions, i.e. a software that is fully designed to function in a cloud infrastructure. Among other things, these extensions will enable XR applications of tomorrow, such as the projection of holograms.

What is the goal of the project?

There are many exciting aspects to the project: The most important is, next-generation mobile communications will no longer be strictly separated into network and software layers. The layers are merging. When it comes to latency, for example, we no longer just look at the radio link, but more holistically at the entire system. We look at the delay between applications end-to-end. It’s not just about radio links and antennas optimized by artificial intelligence, but also, for example, ultra-fast software stacks and the dynamic distribution of computing tasks across different cloud systems. 6G NeXt is also further developing software principles such as the offloading of computationally intensive processes to enable XR (eXtended Reality).

What makes the project special as a so-called industry project?

The project is not only focusing on important foundational aspects of 6G, but it is also developing an experimental platform for integrating future industrial use cases. On one hand, we will address theoretical research questions, and on the other hand, we will tangibly demonstrate how applications with high requirements run on the 6G NeXt platform.

Why did we choose these two use cases and what is special about them?

We have chosen two applications as examples whose requirements cannot be easily met by using 5G, but are very different in what they require, in order to show the full range of capabilities of the implemented 6G NeXt infrastructure. First, a holographic communication is implemented. This use case requires a very high transmission rate of several gigabits per second upstream and downstream with simultaneous data processing. These capabilities will only be available with the new 6G system. The second application involves an anti-collision system for drones and mixed air traffic. Today’s systems, such as TCAS, provide recommendations to pilots. Our system is intended to automatically take over control in difficult traffic situations. In these situations, it is critical to enable a dynamic distribution of computing tasks according to latency requirements and resource availability.

What is special about the composition of the consortium?

Our German project consortium is made up of partners from industry and science, including startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition to the telecommunications industry, partners and scientific experts from the aerospace and XR sectors will be involved, implementing their futuristic use cases in order to introduce very specific requirements for the underlying infrastructure from their perspective as future users. All this will be complemented by research to explore new insights into the quality of user experience.