The ENABLE-6G project is yet another EU-funded initiative designed to work out what the point of 6G is and how to achieve it.

If state-funded 6G R&D projects are anything to go by, Europe is miles ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to the next generation of mobile technology. There was Hexa-X-II last October and soon after Interdigital said it was part of no less than five EU 6G projects. Meanwhile Germany seems determined to lead from the front all by itself.

Now Spanish outfit the IMDEA Networks Institute has announced it’s teaming up with Telefónica I+D, NEC Europe and BluSpecs to launch the ENABLE-6G project. If either of those capitalised names are in fact acronyms, they haven’t seen fit to expand them, but you get the general idea.

According to the announcement, the project ‘aims to address the challenges that face future 6G networks including increased connectivity, higher performance demands, advanced object and environment sensing, precise localization, and increased privacy concerns.’

While it will be based in Spain, IMDEA apparently has an international, multi-lingual environment, so the usual platitudes about collaboration and striving towards the collective good apply. It’s funded by the EU’s NextGenerationEU and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, in the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR). Read into that what you will, regarding collaboration beyond the EU’s borders.

The initiative is split into two main projects, also with unexplained acronyms. Here’s how the announcement describes them:

The RISC-6G project aims to utilize the larger wireless spectrum and higher frequencies, along with advanced technologies like reconfigurable intelligent surfaces, visible light communication, and RF backscatter.

The MAP-6G project team will utilize machine learning techniques to create communication and localization mechanisms that provide ultra-low latency, reliable location services. These mechanisms will devise privacy preservation methods by design. The researchers aim to demonstrate the benefits of 6G, such as increased localization and sensing accuracy, reliability, coverage, and efficiency.

One question the teams probably won’t be asked is whether or not we even need something called 6G. We’re still trying to work out what the point of 5G is and it seems EU taxpayer money would be better spent on trying to resolve that matter before moving on to the next G. Then, if that takes another 5-10 years, you can just rebrand it 6G when the time seems right.

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