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NTT Docomo and NTT expand 6G verification experiment team to 7 companies


NTT DOCOMO, INC. (Docomo) and NTT have announced the expansion of their collaborative 6G (6th generation mobile communication) verification experiment team with Nokia, Fujitsu Ltd., and NEC Corporation. They have reached agreements with overseas operators, namely SK Telecom Co., Ltd. (South Korea) and Rohde & Schwarz (a high-frequency high-performance measurement equipment manufacturer in Germany), to further extend their cooperation in verification experiments for the development of 6G. With the addition of these 2 companies, the 7-company team will further promote verification experiments for various 6G frequency bands.

Of the newly added companies, SK Telecom will have a technical cooperation with Docomo to conduct verification experiments for a wireless interface tailored to various propagation environments through the use of AI technology. SK Telecom will join the ongoing project aiming to collaborate on expertise and the development of an ecosystem similar to that of Docomo, as a fellow operator. They plan to conduct verification experiments in environments closer to the envisaged use cases.

AI-driven modulation and demodulation technology has been collaboratively experimented by 3 companies - Docomo, NTT, and Nokia. SK Telecom will join to transform into a team where 4 companies collaborate in the experiment. Nokia will lead the development of the technology, while SK Telecom and Docomo will conduct validation experiments for use cases within their respective mobile communication services, including obtaining the necessary radio licenses. NTT will be responsible for verification experiments related to the technological components of the same technology. The 3.5−7.2 GHz frequency band is expected to be used and the experiment is scheduled to run from February 2024 to December 2025.

Rohde & Schwarz plans to collaborate and utilize their measurement system construction technology to study channel models for assessing new wireless sensing beyond mobile communication. They aim to evaluate wireless sensing performance in real environments through measurements and channel models. Specifically, experiments are planned to evaluate the radio propagation characteristics and performance of wireless sensing, which uses radio waves for object detection. Rohde & Schwarz will construct a measurement system necessary for evaluating the wireless sensing performance and radio propagation characteristics.

NTT will evaluate sensing technology and examine the technology for estimating the radio propagation characteristics necessary to evaluate the performance of the technology. Docomo will study use cases and environments in which wireless sensing will be utilized, conduct verification experiments, and obtain necessary radio licenses. It is envisioned that a wide range of frequency bands will be used, mainly in the 7−24 GHz band. This experiment is scheduled to run from February 2024 to March 2026.

Furthermore, Docomo and NTT have been conducting a verification experiment on the use of new wireless communication and AI technologies with five major vendors since June 2022. They have announced confirmation of new results from the verification experiment.

In the future, Docomo and NTT plan to promote verification experiments with major domestic and overseas vendors and overseas operators, further expand partnerships for R&D of a wide range of mobile communication technologies and promote a variety of initiatives that leverage the strengths of various vendors and operators. By doing so, they intend to accelerate 6G R&D and contribute to the study of 6G standardization and practical application worldwide. The above-mentioned verification experiment initiatives for the development of 6G were introduced at Docomo's booth at MWC Barcelona 2024, which was held in Barcelona, Spain from February 26.

<New results>

  • Experiments on 140 GHz band radio access technology by Nokia

    Beamforming verification experiments were successfully conducted in Japan using a 140 GHz band prototype radio section developed by Nokia and a 128-element phased-array antenna. As a result, it was confirmed through actual operation of the prototype radio section that good reception strength can be achieved even when the receiver is moved by beam scanning in different directions from the phased-array antenna. In the future, Nokia plans to confirm the practicality of the sub-THz band by conducting experiments focusing on use cases in indoor environments.

  • Experiments on distributed MIMO (Multi-Input Multi-Output) using 100/300 GHz bands by Fujitsu

    Experiments using Fujitsu's prototype 100 GHz band phased array antenna and wireless circuits have succeeded in acquiring propagation path information equivalent to distributed MIMO. The company plans to analyze the shielding resistance and distributed MIMO characteristics through simulations.

  • Architectural study of sub-THz band propagation measurement system, propagation measurement experiments, and channel model formulation were conducted by Keysight Technologies

    By combining a super multi-element receiving antenna consisting of 896 elements developed mainly by NTT and a receiving signal analysis system constructed by Keysight, they have realized a system that enables visual and real-time observation of the spatial arrival of sub-THz banded waves. Additionally, by combining SISO (Single-Input・Single-Output) channel sounder using ultra-broadband signals beyond 10 GHz mainly developed by Docomo with a signal transmitter/receiver from Keysight, they have created equipment that allows ultra-high-resolution observation of radio wave arrivals in the sub-THz band. Furthermore, they have successfully conducted a radio propagation experiment for ultra-wideband communications in the sub-THz band using the same equipment group. They will continue to construct a channel model that can follow the fluctuations of the actual usage environment using this equipment group and will arrive at the design of an efficient 6G ultra-wideband communication system.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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