European institute CEA-Leti announced the launch of a EU 6G research project with involvement from 13 parties including Orange, Telecom Italia and vendor NEC Europe.

In a statement, CEA-Leti said the RISE-6G project was a “visionary” initiative based on designing, prototyping and testing smart and energy-sustainable technology advances, on reconfigurable intelligent surfaces that will enable programmable control.

The research institute explained these surfaces may be diode-based antennas or metamaterials in the environment, such as mirrors, ceilings, walls and applications, and they will operate as reconfigurable reflectors or transceivers “for massive access when equipped with active radio frequency elements”.

Ultimately, RISE-6G aims to address the design of key hardware building blocks and their integration in future 6G networks.

2030 goal
CEA-Leti followed other industry players in stating it expects 6G to be deployed by the end of the decade, creating the “basis for human-centred smart societies and vertical industries”.

To achieve this, the group believes advances will be expected to support the long-term, sustainable transformation of networks into a distributed smart-connectivity infrastructure, where terminal types such as mirrors, signs and walls are embedded into the environment.

“Our mission is to enable this disruptive new concept as a service for the wireless environment by dynamically controlling wireless communication for local, brief and energy-efficient, high-capacity communications,” said Emilio Calvanese Strinati, RISE-6G project coordinator.

In addition to the two operators and NEC, academic, research and vertical players are involved in the initiative.

Industry noise around 6G continues to gather pace.

In 2020 the Next G Alliance research group launched, tasked with developing and defining the technology, which has had backing from US operators, vendors Ericsson and Nokia and LG, Apple and Google.