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What is 6G: Nokia will lead EU research with project Hexa-X

5G may have only started gaining speed in the last year, but the European Commission is already looking ahead at the next generation of connectivity – 6G.

Nokia announced today that it would lead the EU’s research initiative into 6G, Hexa-X.

The project, which has been awarded funding through the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to bring together key industry stakeholders across Europe to begin the advancement of 6G.

But, what is Hexa-X? Read on to find out all there is to know about the EU’s flagship initiative.

What is Hexa-X?

Hexa-X is a 6G research initiative funded by the European Commission and led by Finnish phone maker Nokia. The project aims to connect the physical, digital and human worlds with future wireless technology and architectural research.

Related: What is 5G?

With this project, the EU plans to drive the 6G vision by creating unique 6G use cases and scenarios, developing fundamental technologies and defining a new architecture for 6G.

The Hexa-X consortium has already identified six research challenges that will need to be addressed in order to get started on 6G wireless systems. These include building trust in AI, aggregating resources into a single network, using energy-optimised digital infrastructure, bringing global service coverage to connect remote places, delivering extreme bitrates and low latencies and ensuring data privacy and security.

Nokia has helped to commercialise every generation of wireless technology so far and expects 6G to launch commercially by 2030, following the usual 10-year cycle.

Other stakeholders involved in the project include, network vendors, communication service providers, verticals, technology providers and prominent European communications research institutes.

Related: Best 5G phones

“Even though there is still a lot of innovation in 5G with the release of new standards, we are already exploring 6G in our research lab”, said Nokia Bell Labs head of access and devices research Peter Vetter.

“In the 6G era we will see applications that will not only connect humans with machines but also connect humans with the digital world. Such a secure and private connection can be used for preventive healthcare or even to create a 6G network with a sixth sense that intuitively understands our intentions, making our interactions with the physical world more effective and anticipating our needs, thereby improving our productivity”.

Hexa-X will begin on January 1 2021 and is expected to run for two and a half years.

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