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Getting ready for 6G with King’s College London

How do we engineer the future we want?

Capgemini Engineering’s research and development agenda includes a portfolio of networking topics. Across this suite, the aims are to scale approaches to real-world levels; to use currently available technologies to create new solutions; and to develop entirely new solutions to meet anticipated challenges.

The focus areas in this “Future of Networking” Research and Innovation portfolio are:

  • Wireless native artificial intelligence (AI), in which intelligence is integrated into telecommunications products
  • GreenNet, which aims to make networks more energy-efficient and sustainable
  • Quantum communication
  • Advanced networks for Industries, which aims to solve key problems for industrial adoption of new networking technologies such as 5G, satellite communication…
  • Network-as-a-service, a research area that focuses on converting the network into a platform such that enterprises can consume differentiated networking services such as quality of service and autonomous self-healing networks
  • NextNet, which looks forward to the future of networking such as 6G.

The last of these initiatives is part of the company’s University Partnerships Program. Capgemini Engineering is working with King’s College London (KCL) on a project to resolve some of the complex technical issues inherent in successfully implementing 6G in the future.

New opportunities – and new challenges

Each successive generation of networking has increased speed and bandwidth and lowered latency. The current state of the art, the fifth generation (5G), is faster than its predecessor in a way that is imperceptible to people – but 6G will be faster still, and its possibilities extend far beyond consumer activity.

In the industrial world, 6G will enable proliferation of machine-to-machine connectivity on demand and at zero energy: everything could be online. Swarms of autonomous devices could collaborate on tasks that would be difficult or costly to do any other way. Manufacturing could find new levels of flexibility because shop floor equipment needs no longer be bound by production-line constraints.

But wait. Right now, in the industrial world, shop floors are wired. Equipment is meshed peer-to-peer, and latency is low. Replicating this wirelessly in 6G will mean establishing mesh connectivity between coreless radio access network (RAN) nodes. In fact, any kind of 6G implementation will need networks to be more flexible, more autonomous, and smarter. It will need to support heterogeneous networks such as satellite or non-terrestrial communication.

The King’s project is being run by Professor Toktam Mahmoodi, Head of the Centre for Telecommunications Research in the Department of Engineering, who is working with Shamik Mishra, Chief Technology Officer for Connectivity at Capgemini Engineering, and Subhankar Pal, Global Head of Software & Digital Innovation for Intelligent Networks, Capgemini Engineering. Together, they and their teams are defining the new network architectures that will address the needs of future communication systems such as 6G. They are looking at how to achieve coreless RAN and mesh connectivity – and importantly, they are aiming to achieve a workable framework that is suitable for industrial use cases, that is energy efficient and low on cost, but that does not compromise on performance.

Progress has already been made, and two papers has been published. In these papers, the team introduced several architectural choices for a mesh network topology that could potentially be crucial to several applications. Multiple options on mesh connectivity for cellular radio network have been discussed, in the first paper. The joint team also evaluated performance of those architectural choices in network simulation ed and the results are published in the second paper. At the same time, the approach is being shared with other universities, industrial bodies, and major technology businesses in a bid to extend the collaboration for the common good.

There are other related challenges. The software related to wireless communications will also need to change, and Capgemini Engineering teams worldwide are looking at this. Capgemini’s recently launched 6G Lab will focus on solving such challenges. The company recently conducted a 6G workshop attended by academia and industry discussing their current research areas.

It’s good to look ahead: 6G may not be here yet, but it’s important to plan and to resolve issues before they arise – and that’s what King’s College London and Capgemini Engineering aim to do.

Research & Innovation

Our research and innovation programs are business accelerators that help clients with high-intensity R&D to reveal the value of incremental and disruptive technologies by pioneering engagements built around recognizable assets. Clients go further, faster and to places they would not necessarily go alone.​

    Kings College London

    Innovative joint research project will focus on developing new architecture frameworks to enable ultra-large coverage, AI native and sustainable