6G Forward program from Viavi spearheads academic, industry research

Oct. 14, 2022
Viavi Solutions has already supported three universities: Northeastern University and the University of Texas at Austin in the US; and the University of Surrey in the UK.

In August, Viavi Solutions (NASDAQ: VIAV) announced that it is supporting 6G academic and industry research worldwide through the company's newly minted 6G Forward program.

The company said its 6G Forward program "is designed to provide vital expertise, technology, and funding to promising avenues of research, which may lead to breakthroughs for the next generation of wireless technology."

Viavi has already supported three universities: Northeastern University and the University of Texas at Austin in the US; and the University of Surrey in the UK.

Dr. Ian Wong, CTO Office, Viavi, commented:

“Academic institutions play a vital role in exploring the potential of 6G. We believe it is important to get involved now and to allow disruptive and productive areas of research to see their ideas come to fruition ahead of formal standards definitions. We have had fascinating and beneficial exchanges with our academic partners and we hope to expand the scale of the program in the future.”

6G academic research round-up

At Northeastern University, Viavi is supporting the Institute for Wireless Internet of Things and the Open6G cooperative research center led by Professor Tommaso Melodia. The group is exploring large-scale RF propagation channel modeling based on AI and ML technologies to develop a city-scale digital twin of a 6G network. Melodia's team is also developing a RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC)-enabled Massive MIMO beamforming optimization testbed using the Colosseum 256-port RF channel emulator and the Viavi E500 UE Emulator.

Professor Melodia remarked:

“At the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things, we envision a future in which people and their environment are connected by a continuum of AI-powered devices and networks. 6G research initiatives require collaboration between academia and industry, and the technology, expertise and funding provided by Viavi are critical to our contributions to making wireless communications exponentially faster, smarter, more energy efficient, and more secure.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, Viavi supports 6G@UT, led by Professor Jeff Andrews, within the college's Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG). The key topic of the joint research is applying end-to-end machine learning, specifically deep reinforcement learning (DRL), using adversarial conditions to re-train more robust cellular traffic forecasters.

Professor Andrews said:

“6G@UT is imagining the future of wireless connectivity at the intersection of immersive sensing and machine learning. Viavi’s unique perspective on enabling the entire network lifecycle from R&D to deployment provides academic researchers like us insights into problems affecting real-world network deployments, and we welcome the collaboration with the Viavi experts as we embark on this journey towards 6G.”

At the University of Surrey in the UK, Viavi is a founding member of the 5G/6G Innovation Centre led by Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli, FREng. The Innovation Centre addresses advanced communication systems and the key challenges in the development of a 5G, 5G+ and 6G infrastructure for providing connectivity for future technologies. Key research areas include:

  • Antennas and signal processing;
  • Artificial intelligence for wireless communications;
  • Intelligent and high-performance networking and service delivery;
  • Intelligent RAN technology and management;
  • Mobile network security;
  • New physical layer topics;
  • Satellite communications;
  • THz components and communications all under future Integrated communication and sensing.

Tafazolli commented:

“Viavi is a founder member of the Innovation Centre at Surrey and we deeply appreciate the support and expertise they are bringing to the table. It enables us to fully explore concepts, to deliver technologies and methodologies that will help define and improve connected communities in the future. This is a good example of academia and business working together to improve technology and people’s lives.”

More 6G-focused initiatives

Viavi is also involved with several other 6G-focused initiatives globally, including:

  • The Next G Alliance, an ATIS-led industry initiative focused on advancing North American mobile technology leadership in 6G and beyond over the next decade. Viavi is a founding member of the Next G Alliance, whose projects encompass the full lifecycle of research and development, manufacturing, standardization and market readiness.
  • 6G BRAINS, which is developing AI-driven multi-agent Deep Reinforcement learning (DRL) to perform resource allocation in 6G networks for Industry 4.0, intelligent transportation, e-health and other applications. Supported by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme, 6G Brains initiatives include providing network operators with new options for using and combining sub-6 GHz, mmWave and THz spectrum, as well as optical wireless communications.
  • The Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium, a forum for industry, academia and government in Japan to share information about research and development in areas such as integrating cyberspace with the real world, known as Society 5.0.

Learn more at https://www.viavisolutions.com/en-us/solutions/6g

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