Open6GHub – University of Bremen Conducts Research on Next Generation Wireless Communication
Extremely fast, energy-efficient, fail-safe – and extremely complex: The German government is funding research on the next generation 6G wireless systems with up to 250 million euros. University of Bremen experts play a key role in this research.
6G technology will revolutionize the wireless high-performance data technology and our communication systems once again in the coming decade. “It is expected that as early as in 2030, this wireless technology will be the central nervous system of our interconnected lives,” says Professor Armin Dekorsy, head of the Communication Engineering research group at the Faculty of Physics / Electrical Engineering at the University of Bremen. “Data will then be transmitted more than 100 times faster than with 5G today, with greater energy efficiency and resilience at the same time. But the entire system will also be incredibly complex. To make it work effectively and realize its full potential, it takes intensive research on countless levels.”
Bremen Research Being Funded with Five Million Euros
The best part about it from Bremen’s point of view: Experts from the university are playing a key role in the development of this cutting-edge technology. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now allocated 250 million euros for four 6G research hubs, 67 million of which are for the Open6GHub involving 17 collaborating research institutions. Within this hub, the University of Bremen is involved with a funding of five million euros. This enables leading German researchers from the fields of communications engineering, electrical engineering, and satellite systems to contribute their specialized expertise.
“The acquired third-party funds will enable ten research assistants and two postdoctoral researchers to conduct research over the next four years,” says Dekorsy, who coordinates the 6G activities in Bremen. From the University of Bremen, in addition to Dekorsy’s Communication Engineering research group (with Dr. Dirk Wübben and Dr. Claus Bockelmann as project leaders), the Institute of Electromagnetic Theory and Microelectronics (ITEM / Professor Steffen Paul), and the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM / Professor Claus Lämmerzahl and Dr. Benny Rievers) are involved.
The Objective of Open6GHub: The Wireless Network in Space
The University of Bremen is one of the largest research partners in the Open6GHub; the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern coordinates the project. “Within Open6GHub, we have taken on the ‘Beyond Cellular’ work package, which means moving away from the previous terrestrial cellular network to a three-dimensional wireless network. In the future, connectivity will be established not only through masts on the ground, but also through drones, balloons, airplanes and, most importantly, satellites,” Dekorsy explains. To test the new 6G technologies, an experimental site is being set up at the University of Bremen, for which an operational 6G mini-satellite is also being developed. This experimental site is to be used in the long term for cooperative ventures and as a test site for companies.
The Communication Engineering research group is regarded one of the leading German research groups in modern wireless network systems and has acquired several million euros of funding for different 5G projects. The new Open6GHub research activity is based on this existing knowledge. This is further complemented by the long-standing expertise of ZARM in the field of space technology and ITEM in the field of electrical engineering.
The team of Professor Lämmerzahl is one of Germany’s leading research groups in the field of quantum physics. Together with the Communications Engineering research group, they are conducting research on the topic of quantum communication between satellites. All of these communication technologies must operate reliably in space despite the radiation present there. Professor Paul’s working group is addressing this issue through its research into resilient and radiation-resistant hardware platforms for future processors.
“Our participation in the Open6GHub is also important for the state of Bremen,” says Armin Dekorsy. “Because Bremen has a reputation as a ‘City of Space’ with special expertise in aerospace, this is a great opportunity to position ourselves here with Bremen’s aerospace expertise.”
Aerospace Component Plays Central Role
“One of our tasks is to design new network concepts using satellites, drones, balloons, and airplanes in addition to earth-based facilities. And of course, the entire system will have to function on a global scale within a few years,” explains Professor Claus Lämmerzahl. “The aerospace component plays a significant role for 6G – and this is where we can contribute our comprehensive aerospace expertise pooled at the University of Bremen.”
Another key research aspect is the incorporation of artificial intelligence technologies developed specifically for communication systems to improve energy efficiency and reliability. The ultimate goal is to make future networks as powerful and efficient as possible.
“Topic Highly Relevant for Society”
Armin Dekorsy also emphasizes just how important the involvement of the University of Bremen and the state of Bremen in this research is with regard to the effects of the 6G rollout in a few years. “These are technologies that will have a major impact on our lives. This is why the topic is highly relevant for society – across the globe. Naturally, we are glad that the university will be right in the middle of it, not just on the sidelines.”
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Armin Dekorsy
Communication Engineering research group
Faculty of Physics / Electrical Engineering
University of Bremen