With a combined funding of around 250 million EUR under Horizon Europe, the first wave of SNS projects aims at building a first-class European supply chain for advanced 5G systems and Europe’s 6G technology capacities. In Europe, Horizon 2020 phase 3 part6 projects such as Hexa-X, RISE-6G paved the way to the 33 technical SNS JU projects launched early 2023 to develop 6G. Indeed, Europe laid a strong foundation for 6G research with the launch of the first portfolio of 35 SNS research, innovation and trial projects (SNS JU phase 1). In the coming weeks, the SNS phase 2 projects will be announced and start running with EUR132 million. Several EU countries have 6G research programs.
The R&I projects will develop smart communication components, systems, and networks for 6G following both, an evolutionary path through further enhancements of 5G advanced technology (Stream A), as well as a more revolutionary path by investigating the benefits of promising technological enablers (Stream B). Technology validation initiatives will develop SNS experimental infrastructures (Stream C) and carry out large-scale SNS trials and pilots (Stream D) in several business and industrial vertical sectors.
- Phase 1 Stream A selected projects (7) cover research on energy efficient radio networks, adaptive Open RAN, integrated 5G Non-Terestrial Networks (NTN), AI-based edge platforms, and intelligent resource management ensuring security, privacy & trustworthiness.
- The 19 Phase 1 Stream B projects focus on novel technologies that are expected to be adopted in commercial networks in a mid and/or long-term timeframe. The projects research novel 6G system architectures, advanced wireless and optical communication technologies, advances in NTN, secure development of ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC) applications. Hexa-X-II, the flagship initiative, will provide a complete system perspective of future 6G SNS platform, from an E2E architectural and functional perspective, address sustainability and societal aspects and consolidate 6G KPIs and KVIs (European Key Value-based indicators).
- While the three Phase 1 Stream C projects develop EU-wide experimentation platforms that can incorporate promising technical 6G enablers (e.g. from Stream B) for their further validation, Phase 1 Stream D four projects are implementing large-scale SNS trials and pilots with specific verticals of high economic and societal importance. They are exploring and demonstrating 5G/6G technologies, advanced applications and services in vertical sectors such as media, industrial IoT, energy, construction, automotive, manufacturing, eHealth, culture, agriculture and education, also thanks to open calls where third parties, including SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups can join. These large-scale trials incorporate key enablers for 6G networks, such as AI/ML, cybersecurity, cloud/edge and advanced IoT solutions and they aim to become the catalyst for the creation of viable business ecosystems.