Ericsson outlined its goals for a European Union (EU)-backed 6G project, with the vendor and its partners set to research cell-free MIMO technology and smart compute platforms designed for the new network technology.

The Reindeer project is funded by the EU and brings together companies involved in the antenna space and related academics to develop technologies said to be critical in the creation of the next generation of wireless networks.

In its document on the scheme, Ericsson said it would help develop new wireless access infrastructure comprising a “fabric of distributed radio, compute and storage”.

It added the technology would “advance the ideas of large-scale intelligent surfaces and cell-free wireless access to offer capabilities far beyond future 5G networks. This is expected to offer capacity scalable to quasi-infinite, and perceived zero latency and interaction with a large number of embedded devices”.

Ericsson VP and head of research Magnus Frodigh added the project would be an “early marker” in 6G development: “Together with our partners, we will take significant steps in key 6G technology areas such as cell-free MIMO and Large Intelligent Surfaces.”

Other contributors include Telefonica; NXP Semiconductors; Austria-based security and engineering company Technikon; Belgian indoor-positioning technology specialists BlooLoc; university KU Leuven; Linkopings University; Graz University of Technology; and Lund University.

Reindeer is scheduled to run for three and a half years, and is one of a number of Europe-based projects heavily involving Nokia and Ericsson designed to position the region as central in the development, standardisation and eventual deployment of 6G.

In addition to initiatives in Europe, there are a range of other projects around the world also eyeing 6G.