Intel Joins Hexa-X Initiative to Develop 6G Wireless Technologies

With 5G dominating the global conversation around wireless, it’s often easy to lose sight of future investment in innovation. After all, 5G is still just exiting “childhood” in terms of its ubiquity and impact on both consumers and businesses. But given the time and resources required to build the next generation of any technology, it’s important that we as an industry also focus on what needs to happen next.

Even as 5G continues to transform businesses and enable new use cases, 6G promises to open up even more new vistas, with human intelligence augmented by being seamlessly intertwined with network and digital technologies. 6G’s advances will help humans better understand our world and thus help to take action to resolve issues as varied as healthcare, education, sustainability, and more.

This is why as part of our continued focus on advanced wireless, Intel has joined Hexa-X, the EU Flagship research project helping to build the foundation for 6G wireless technologies. While 5G promises to remake multiple industries and the lives of individuals around the world, 6G looks to have a similar impact in terms of scope. The magnitude of this type of technological change requires much more than a single entity, but an entire ecosystem focused on delivering the innovations required to make that big step a reality. Hexa-X was born with this goal in mind.

The Hexa-X project’s vision is to connect human, physical, and digital worlds with a fabric of 6G key enablers. Intel is part of this European 6G Research Flagship effort, together with leading global organizations. Hexa-X plans on developing key technology enablers in the areas of:

  • Fundamentally new radio access technologies at high frequencies and high-resolution localization and sensing;
  • Connected intelligence through AI-driven air interface and governance for future networks, and
  • 6G architectural enablers for network disaggregation and dynamic dependability.

In addition to its leadership in 5G, Intel aims to share its expertise on Compute, Data, AI and Edge to the project while leveraging the confluence of computation, communication and AI/ML in next-generation networks.

Intel holds two leadership roles within the project, which includes both leading the work on AI-driven communication and computation co-design as well as serving as the Innovation Manager of the project.  The goal is to understand both market and technical challenges and to bridge project research achievements ensuring successful deployments in the real world. Intel is also involved in several project work areas, including system requirements and architecture components for AI/ML-powered, up to THz-capable and extreme Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), along with related aspects in data security, privacy and trust.

Beginning on January 1, 2021, Hexa-X is a 2.5-year project within the EU’s Horizon 2020 ICT-52 program, and is a consortium of 25 key players from adjacent industries and academia. Hexa-X is a broad collaborative initiative to frame the 6G research agenda and lay the groundwork for a long-term investment in future wireless network technology.

Hexa-X has identified six research challenges that need to be addressed to lay the technical foundation for 6G wireless systems:

  • Connecting intelligence: AI/Machine Learning (ML) technologies need to be a vital and trusted tool for significantly improved efficiency and service experience, serving humans
  • Network of networks: multiple types of resources need to be aggregated to create a digital ecosystem that grows more and more capable, intelligent, and heterogeneous, eventually creating a single network of networks
  • Sustainability: energy-optimized digital infrastructure for a reduced global ICT environmental footprint, as well as delivering effective and sustainable digitization tools for global industry, society and policymakers
  • Global service coverage: efficient and affordable solutions for global service coverage, connecting remote places
  • Extreme experience: extreme bitrates, extremely low (imperceptible) latencies, seemingly infinite capacity, and precision localization and sensing
  • Trustworthiness: ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of communications and delivering data privacy, operational resilience and security

While the world is just beginning to reap the benefits of 5G innovation, it is imperative that we, as an industry, continue to invest in, explore, and advance wireless technology as a whole. Already a critical element in the fabric of business and society, mobility’s importance will only continue to grow as we address issues of global importance, including sustainability, and digital transformation. 6G promises to advance each of those, as well as give us the ability to augment human intelligence itself.

Published on Categories 5G, 6G, Wireless
Asha Keddy

About Asha Keddy

Asha R. Keddy is Corporate Vice President at Intel Corporation, where she also serves as the General Manager of Next Generation and Standards (NGS) Group. A recognized industry leader, Keddy’s passion is in understanding how advancements in technology can improve the lives of people, and the environment in which we live—creating a safer, healthier, smarter society for all. Keddy’s organization enables new business verticals and applications - participating in industry consortia; contributing to global standards; developing and testing prototypes in trials, and driving product innovation. Her team facilitates trials with other ecosystem partners, key learnings from which have been influential in setting government and industry policy, and in furthering the convergence of communications and computing with end-to-end technology solutions. This work will open up new market opportunities in multiple verticals, including games, sports, connected cars, and smart cities, while bringing forward the advanced capabilities of artificial intelligence, visual data, mixed reality and connectivity-based technologies to address residential, enterprise and industrial business needs. Keddy’s vision of innovation is based on iterative development, insights about people, and a commitment to partnerships with industry and governments alike. Keddy leads 5G partner strategy and development efforts for Intel. This multi-year investment, her team’s work, and dozens of trials with industry-leading manufacturing, operator, and vertical partners have resulted in several world “firsts.” These accomplishments will accelerate 5G commercial deployment across industrial, automotive, fixed wireless and enterprise use cases in all major geographies. The learnings and Intellectual Property (IP) from these engagements will also serve to evolve the development of system architectures and incubation of technologies and IP for wireless at Intel. Ms. Keddy lives in the Portland, Oregon, and in her personal time enjoys reading, painting, hiking, biking and kayaking with her husband and dog.