6GWINET involves a set of objectives (OB) grouped into four major areas:

OB#1 Evaluate the high frequency human exposure scenarios in some scenario settings, and explore their biological effects by tailored in-vitro experiments.

OB#2 Develop new radio architectures that comply with the challenging constraints dictated by the high-frequency spectrum. 6GWINET develops the concept of massive MIMO that evolve toward a user-centric radio architecture and cope with severe attenuation with proper solutions that guarantee a wide coverage for mmW/THz radios without duplicating the access points deployment.

OB#3 Evaluate the solutions for dealing with new massive wireless connectivity and dynamic environment, including vehicular (V2X connectivity) and drones (UAV). Different scenarios need tailored solutions, and the compliance with severe latency and reliability, and 6GWINET goal is to explore the most challenging over the next decade to create a knowledge basis on how to deal with massive device density.

OB#4 Redesign a new concept of network architecture specialised for smart radio environments. New RAN elements must fit into an evolutive end-to-end network managements, and Open RAN architecture. In addition, 6GWINET goal is to frame the major outcomes on AI and distributed optimization methods into the new radio context.

6GWINET is part of Spoke 3 – Wireless Networks and Technologies

Project PI: Umberto Spagnolini

During the first period of 6GWINET activity, we successfully identified future application scenarios for millimeter wave (mmW) technology. This work also involved analyzing regulatory and spectrum aspects for 6G, as well as assessing new exposure scenarios in relation to electromagnetic field compliance. Further, our focus shifted towards exploring new radio architectures for future 6G networks. Specifically, we evaluated the performance and power scaling laws of effective Signal-to-Interference-plus-Noise Ratio (SINR) in cell-free massive MIMO deployments with a high number of antennas per access point. We also conducted a detailed study on high-frequency backhauling, investigated interference from Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) nodes, and examined the potential of drones as relays in vehicular applications, focusing on highway scenarios. Another activity is that we delved into a novel model based on the concept of digital twins, creating virtual replicas of the physical environment and vehicles to estimate the channel and compensate for Doppler effects. We are working on architectural innovations for an Open RAN-based control plane, particularly in a vehicular context. Additionally, we aim to integrate aerial nodes to enhance coverage and address peak mobile traffic demand more efficiently.
Scientific: Human exposure to electromagnetic fields has been evaluated for new wireless technologies and frequencies. In particular, impact of modulation and bandwidth in under investigation on DNA damage in human cells. Another of the main issue in high-frequency B5G/6G systems is the beam alignment, and 6GWINET has developed a new method for passively aiding the beam search and alignment by using a mesh of electromagnetic marker that enable the focusing toward a dynamic evolving vehicle. Paper submitted investigates the design of electromagnetic marker that enable the focusing unit for dynamic settings. Further outcome is on cell-free massive MIMO that is deemed to be a key enabling technology for the 6G physical layer as fruitfully combines network ultra-densification and joint coherent signal processing, Recent progresses has been focused on the study of the downlink spectral efficiency of a two-way cell-free massive MIMO system with few-bit analog-to-digital converters (ADCs). Industrial/Exploitable: PdM team of 6GWINET has filed a patent on space-time modulation for metasurfaces, which exploit the temporal modulation to convey information through backscattering thus employing a quasi-passive full-duplex system. Benefit is that this system can reuses the available electromagnetic signals to transmit information without generating new ones, which is remarkable to systems with energy constraints. Network Controlled Repeater (NCR) is a way to extend the coverage range in mmW/sub-THz systems, 6GWINET has proposed novel topology for extending the NCR coverage. This scientific has an industrial counterpart in the development of a NCR with open-architecture to test different and new network set-ups.
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
  • Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino
  • Università di Bologna
  • Università di Napoli Federico II
  • Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT)
  • Fondazione Ugo Bordoni
  • Vodafone
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
  • 6G will be the enabler, or the context, for connected mobility with high rate (>2Gb/s per link), but mobility poses several challengies that 6GWINET will be addressing ranging from beam-control to O-RAN architecture, paper entitled "Advancing O-RAN to Facilitate Intelligence in V2X" (https://arxiv.org/abs/2307.01029) is detailing the fundamentals.
  • Space-Time Modulated Metasurface (STMM) is a revolutionary technology that is set to transform the way we transmit information, offering an energy-efficient mechanism that harnesses existing electromagnetic waves to convey data. Imagine a world where communication is not only seamless but also environmentally friendly, thanks to this cutting-edge metasurface. Full-duplex with STMM is definitely an innovative way of communicate. Join us on the journey to a smarter, greener tomorrow! Paper "Wireless communications with space-time modulated metasurfaces" (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2302.08310) is a complete overview.
  • Expected: at least 25 publications on 36 months
  • Accomplished: 9 papers (4 journal papers in Q1, 5 conference paper with 4 in top conferences)
  • Readiness: 36%
Joint Publications
  • Expected: 30% joint publications on 36 months
  • Accomplished: 0
  • Readiness: 0%
Talks/Communication events
  • Expected: 10 talks or event chairing/organizing on 36 months
  • Accomplished: 1
  • Readiness: 10%
  • Expected: 4 PoCs expected by the end of the project
  • Accomplished: 0
  • Readiness: 0% (work according to plan)
  • Expected: 2
  • Accomplished: 1
  • Readiness: 50%

Collaboration proposals

Digital Twin: Digital physical model in the 6G radio, also known as Digital Twin, is becoming relevant for the contexts where propagation is complex but static, with a dynamic varying component. There is interest in collaborating in this field for mitigation the channel estimation, including all radio functionalities that are affected by this (e.g., Doppler). This involves placing propagation modelling in the processing loop.

O-RAN V2X: Vehicular communications at high frequencies are envisioned to be a breakthrough application for the 6G cellular systems. Traditional RANs lack the flexibility to enable sophisticated control mechanisms that are demanded by the strict performance requirements of the dynamic vehicular environment. In contrast, the features of Open RAN (O-RAN) can be exploited to support advanced use cases. Collaboration on the emerging paradigm of O-RAN represents an ideal framework for the orchestration of vehicular communication, although the high potential stemming from their integration can be easily seen and recognized, the effective combination of the two ecosystems is an open issue.

For any proposal of collaboration within the project please contact the project PI.