Six-G Enablers:

Flexible Networks, THz Technology and Integration, Non-Terrestrial Networks, SidElink, and Localization

Fraunhofer lighthouse project for 6G technologies

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 pools technology expertise to deliver systems know-how in 6G

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.

Faster, more precise, more reliable and universally available

New answers are needed to master rapidly increasing performance requirements. 6G SENTINEL is meeting the most urgent challenges of mobile communications with practical routes to effective solutions.

Terahertz technologies for ultra-high data rates

Mobile communications in the terahertz range offer great potential for vastly increasing data rates on account of the high bandwidth available.

 

Contribution of 6G SENTINEL to exploitation of terahertz frequency spectrum:

  • Comprehensive characterization of radio transmission at THz frequencies through measurements in indoor and outdoor scenarios, development of suitable channel models and creation of realistic simulation environments
  • Hardware development for THz transmission modules with integrated patch antennas / on-chip arrays and beam steering
  • Development of waveforms and algorithms for THz transmission, including intelligent optimization techniques for sidelinks to establish direct communication links between devices
  • Demonstration of a THz transmission path as proof of concept

Flexible networks for unlimited 6G availability

To improve the availability of mobile communications, flexible networks are essential: While AI-based network management can optimize use of the spectrum in a dynamic and demand-based fashion, the integration of satellites and flying platforms holds out the opportunity of expanding mobile communications coverage to an unlimited degree.

 

Contribution of 6G SENTINEL to increased flexibility of networks:

  • Implementation of flexible core network software modules for multi-access, dynamic and AI-based network management, mesh networks, heterogeneous backhauls and campus networks
  • Channel modeling and simulation for non-terrestrial networks (mobile communications networks based on satellites and flying platforms), including system-level simulation, which enables comprehensive testing of the integration of heterogeneous radio technologies

Fully integrated localization in 6G networks for greater accuracy

Using new localization approaches, information about the radio channel can be used to an increasingly systematic extent in order to improve the accuracy of positioning and enhance the user experience as well as precision in certain industrial and logistical applications.

 

Contribution of 6G SENTINEL to improved localization in 6G networks:

  • System-level simulation for localization with AI-based optimization and core network components
  • Development and demonstration of a localization technique with THz signals, taking into account the particular propagation characteristics and new antenna designs

Optimized 6G architecture for best service quality and reliability

A 6G system architecture conceived as an integral whole and based on a flexible network and open interfaces creates the conditions for equipping various communication applications with the requisite level of service quality and reliability in each case.

 

Contribution of 6G SENTINEL to creation of an integral 6G architecture:

  • Development of an open and modular 6G architecture, in which the integration of heterogeneous access networks and the native incorporation of the localization function are taken into account
  • Conceptual design of major subcomponents of a 6G network and definition of interfaces and interactions between components

Fraunhofer lighthouse project "6G SENTINEL"

Key enablers for the future of mobile communications

Presentation of the 6G SENTINEL project at the Tech Days 2021

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