The DoD said it has a vital interest in advancing 5G-to-NextG wireless technologies and concept demonstrations
The Department of Defense’s Innovate Beyond 5G (IB5G) Program recently launched three new projects focused on 5G and future 6G systems.
“The DoD has a vital interest in advancing 5G-to-NextG wireless technologies and concept demonstrations,” said Sumit Roy, IB5G program director. “These efforts represent our continuing investments via public and private sector collaboration on research & development for critical Beyond 5G technology enablers necessary to realize high performance, secure, and resilient network operations for the future warfighter.”
One of the new projects is dubbed Open6G, which DoD describes as a cooperative effort between the private sector and the academia that aims to kick off 6G systems research on Open RAN. The initiative will focus on Open RAN research and open-source implementation of 5G protocol stack features to support emerging 5G and future applications.
Open6G will serve as the DoD’s “hub for development, testing and integration of trusted enhancements,” the agency said, adding that it will “[support] an industry and federal government NextG ecosystem pursuing 6G technology goals.” The project is managed by Northeastern University’s Kostas Research Institute, through a cooperative agreement with the Army Research Laboratory. The technical effort will be housed at Northeastern University’s Institute for Wireless Internet of Things.
IB5G also started a new Spectrum Exchange Security and Scalability project with Zylinium Research. Spectrum-sharing technologies are becoming more critical as wireless networks face increasing user demand. In response to this need, Zylinium Research developed Spectrum Exchange—a network service appliance that receives, schedules and allocates spectrum resources. Zylinium’s Spectrum Exchange research was funded $1.64 million by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E). (Zylinium researchers participated in the three-year Spectrum Collaboration Challenge through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)).
IB5G, in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs, also established the Massive Multi-Input/Multi-Output (MIMO) from MHz to GHz project. The Department of Defense noted that Massive MIMO technology is a “critical enabler for the warfighter due to its ability to increase resiliency and throughput for wireless tactical communications.” This project was awarded $3.69 million by OUSD (R&E)/IB5G under an Open Broad Agency Announcement solicitation for Advanced Wireless Communications research. The effort will explore key technology components that enable scaling MIMO technology across different bands/bandwidths and DoD-oriented use cases, according to the agency.
The U.S. has been taking an active approach to carry out research activities regarding future 6G technologies. The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), had previously launched the Next G Alliance, an initiative to advance North American wireless technology leadership over the next decade, through private-sector-led efforts with the initial focus on as-yet-unstandardized 6G systems.
Last month, ATIS’ Next G Alliance released a new report with recommendations forecasting the technologies that will be needed to advance the 6G future as well as areas in which further research is required on North American 6G priorities.
The new report defines the specific technologies needed to fulfill the vision in the National 6G Roadmap, which was also developed by the Next G Alliance.
The report provides an overview of forty-seven key 6G candidates spanning the areas of: Component technologies; radio technologies; system and network architecture; network operations, administration, and maintenance (OA&M) and service enablement; and trustworthiness — security, reliability, privacy and resilience.