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The University of Southampton

Introducing 6G

The future of wireless communications

1 November 2021

You may well be familiar with the term ‘5G’: the wireless network that promises us increased capacity, huge connectivity and exciting applications. What you may not have heard of is 6G: a future information network with the ambitious objective of integrating satellites, planes, drones and even underwater nodes with the 5G network to offer truly global wireless communications, anywhere and anytime.

Professor Lajos Hanzo , in the School of Electronics and Computer Science, is working with a team to pioneer the enabling techniques of the 6G network, funded by a European Research Council grant of €2.5m.

5G wireless systems are still ground-based, so they have the same coverage limitations as other terrestrial networks. Space-communication networks are complementary to terrestrial networks, as they provide vast communication coverage for people and vehicles at sea, as well as in remote rural areas and in the air.

Professor Lajos Hanzo - The School of Electronics and Computer Science
Professor Lajos Hanzo
Professor Lajos Hanzo

As demand for wireless connectivity increases, the radically new concept of integrating terrestrial networks with space networks is constantly evolving. Creating this space air-ground integrated network (SAGIN) is critically important for the so-called ‘vertical’ industries such as logistics, mining, agriculture, fisheries and defence. However, there are several significant technological challenges which must be overcome to create this SAGIN system.

Lajos and his team are proposing a novel architecture for realising a high-capacity, low-cost SAGIN by exploiting the existing civil airliner network for addressing these challenges at a low cost.

Read the full story in Re:action , the University’s research and enterprise magazine.

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