Concepts for Sixth-Generation Mobile Communications

6G is to be more powerful and secure than previous mobile communications standards. A consortium in Bochum is doing the groundwork.

Copyright: RUB, Marquard

Today, no one is surprised by jerky videos or noticeable delays in smartphone applications. But if you want to use mobile communications for purposes such as digital operations or autonomous driving, you can't tolerate such things. A Bochum consortium is helping to ensure that things run smoothly with 6G with its "6G Research Hub for Open, Efficient and Secure Mobile Communications Systems (6GEM)" project. The project, which is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with around 40 million euros over four years, involves university partners (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH), Technische Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Ruhr-Universität Bochum) as well as non-university institutions such as Fraunhofer institutes. The spokesperson for the Ruhr University Bochum is Prof. Dr. Aydin Sezgin.

Mobile communications fall short of possibilities

"The performance of current mobile communications systems, including the latest mobile communications generation 5G, is still far from the physical and information-theoretical limits of communication via a radio channel," says Aydin Sezgin. Experience shows that a new mobile communications standard is established about every ten years. Standardization for 6G will begin in 2030. While the radio frequencies currently used for 4G range from 2.4 to 5 gigahertz, they will be around 28 gigahertz for 5G. For 6G, the frequency will be even greater by a factor of 100 to 1.000: 300 gigahertz to two terahertz.

"There are many advantages to using the higher frequencies," explains Aydin Sezgin. "They support much higher data rates and have a shorter range than lower frequencies." This not only makes them more powerful, but also favors privacy for some applications. In addition, the antennas used to transmit and receive signals must be matched to the wavelength. At higher frequencies, they can be much smaller. It is therefore possible to fit many more antennas into devices, and the devices can be more compact than before.

Strengthening Europe's role

The RUB researchers want to investigate technologies that, from a communication theory perspective, are considered the most promising candidates in defining the cornerstones of the 6G mobile generation. Some of these technologies are a generalization or a natural evolution of fifth generation mobile concepts, while others are completely new.

The results from the project will not only be published in scientific papers, but also submitted to international standardization bodies such as 3GPP and ETSI for the development of a common global standard for 6G systems. "After Europe was very reluctant to develop the 4G and 5G standards, its role in 6G is to be strengthened again," Sezgin explains. In addition, the researchers want to use the new technologies to enable promising applications such as safe road transport, port logistics, intralogistics, rescue robotics and the digital operating room.

Cooperation partner

Researchers from the RUB Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (Prof. Dr. Ilona Rolfes, Prof. Dr. Nils Pohl, Prof. Dr. Thomas Musch, Prof. Dr. Aydin Sezgin) and the Faculty of Computer Science (Prof. Dr. Eike Kiltz, Prof. Dr. Tim Güneysu) are involved in the project.

Press contact
Prof. Dr. Aydin Sezgin
Digital Communication Systems
Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Phone: +49 234 32 29 849
Email: aydin.sezgin(at) 

General note: In case of using gender-assigning attributes we include all those who consider themselves in this gender regardless of their own biological sex.