In January 2023 the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) launched its first portfolio of 35 research, innovation, and trial projects. Selected after the first SNS JU Call in early 2022, these projects enable the evolution of 5G (5th Generation Wireless Systems) technology and ecosystems and promote 6G research in Europe.
With a combined funding of around 250 million EUR under Horizon Europe, this project portfolio aims to build a first-class European supply chain for advanced 5G systems and Europe’s 6G (6th Generation Wireless Systems) technology capacities.
The Research and Innovation (R&I) projects will develop smart communication components, systems, and networks for 6G, tracing 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.
Foreword from the European Commission
With a combined funding of around 250 million EUR under Horizon Europe, this projects portfolio aims to build a first-class European supply chain for advanced 5G systems and Europe’s 6G (6th Generation Wireless Systems) technology capacities.
Interim Executive Director of the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking
and Head of Unit, Future Connectivity Systems at European Commission
Introduction from the 6G-IA
This set of projects began the work on 6G research and built a technological bridge from the 5G to the 6G era. Their work fed into the definition of the SNS-JU proposal in terms of technological goals and requirements and was instrumental in the creation of the European 6G vision.
Chairman of the SNS JU Governing Board
and 6G-IA Board
SNS Call 1 Projects
The 7 projects under this stream follow an evolutionary path towards the development of 6G networks. The selected projects demonstrate complementarity and have been selected in such a way as to create a complete system view.
Research topics covered include energy-efficient radio networks, adaptive Open RAN, integrated 5G-Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), AI-based edge platforms, and intelligent resource management ensuring security, privacy & trustworthiness.
The focus is on novel technologies that are expected to be adopted in commercial networks in a mid and/or long-term time period. Research topics considered in the 19 retained projects include, inter alia, novel 6G system architectures, advanced wireless and optical communication technologies, advances in Non Terrestrial Networks, secure development of ultra-reliable, and low-latency communications (URLLC) applications.
The 3 projects in stream C aim at developing EU-wide experimentation platforms that can incorporate promising technical 6G enablers for their further validation. Key aspects for the projects are the reusability and ability to evolve of the experimental platforms over the lifetime of the SNS programme.
Accessibility and openness with well-defined and clearly-documented technological and business interfaces are also considered key assets of the infrastructures to be developed.
4 projects are implementing large-scale SNS trials and pilots with specific verticals of high economic and societal importance. The aim is to explore and demonstrate 5G/6G technologies, advanced applications and services in vertical sectors such as energy, construction, automotive, manufacturing, eHealth, culture, and media.
Additionally, these large-scale trials aim to become the catalyst for the creation of viable business ecosystems. Stream D projects incorporate technologies that are currently key enablers for 6G networks, such as AI/ML, cybersecurity, cloud/edge and advanced IoT solutions etc.
CSAs - Communications Support Actions
The SNS ICE project provides a collaborative environment for dialogue amongst European and global stakeholders involved in the SNS JU events preparation.
SNS ICE plans to achieve the objectives listed above by working towards a diverse portfolio of outcomes, including delivery of global 6G R&I trend reports and alignment analysis with the SNS 6G roadmap, evaluation of the acceptance and impact analysis of SNS Phase 1 results, evaluation of 6G collaboration in Europe and worldwide, trend analysis in vertical sectors, dissemination and promotion of SNS exploitable results and more.
SNS ICE will also target the organisation of multiple physical and virtual 6G-oriented events targeting stakeholders on a European and global level and even dedicated vertical events SNS OPS.
The SNS OPS project support action project is devoted to supporting the operations of the 6G Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU).
The SNS OPS project will also orchestrate and organise strategic activities to capture and promote the European view on 6G, the achievements of the 6G SNS and will start the process of monitoring the development and impact of these results on the evolution of 6G in Europe over the period of life of the 6G SNS initiative. The planned work is to facilitate the activities of the European SNS Initiative, as outlined in the SNS contractual partnership.
At a strategic level, there is a close relation between the planned activities of the SNS OPS project, in terms of the expected outcomes, and the ambitions of the SNS JU.