As 5G rollout continues to spread worldwide, leading telecommunication companies have already set their eyes on the future. They are building the technologies required for the next generation of wireless communications.
NTT, the first to deploy 1G, continues to research, test and develop concepts and tools. Its Innovative Optical and Wireless Network is an architecture built for the demands of future communications. It is based on cutting-edge technologies like photonics and super-computing power.
Driven by innovation, artificial intelligence, industrial IoT, blockchain transactions, and the rise of automated cars and smart cities, global wireless communications infrastructure must transform to handle future requirements.
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Additionally, data transmission power consumption is increasing exponentially as new cloud, data centers, edge gateways and devices go online. NTT envisions an “all-photonic network” coupled with digital twin and AI computing processing abilities as the solution for the 6G-IOWN era.
But, understanding wireless communications areas is central to the new concept. Furthermore, base station layout design and control for mobile phones and other devices must be reimagined with greater sophistication for 6G standards.
Why wireless quality estimation technology is the future
NTT and Tokyo Denki University — in charge of the theoretical design — created a new high-level and highly accurate wireless quality estimation system. The technology can calculate received power levels, optimize base station allocation and reduce power consumption.
Powered by ultra high-speed computing and algorithms, the tech promises to disrupt the way wireless areas are designed. It can perform radio wave propagation simulation calculations, which previously took over 10,000 years, in less than one second.
“In the future, we will continue to improve the algorithm and verify the operation of this model using an actual annealing machine to apply it to new use cases and create new services,” NTT said.
Wireless communications are radio waves and, as such, face many challenges like frequency, standardization, path loss and human blockage as well as environments that cause refraction, diffraction, scattering, absorption and reflection. The industry approaches these problems by grouping nodes and creating wireless communication areas.
To build these areas effectively, operators estimate the shortest paths between the transmitter and receiver. Reflection and diffraction phenomena of radio waves are also measured with techniques like the ray tracing method, which is widely used worldwide. But, the ray tracing method presents difficulties when attempting to calculate modern multipath environments.
The key to a wireless communication area is to provide connectivity and radio wave paths with low propagation loss, low energy consumption, high performance and very low latency. This is why technology that can estimate the most optimized radio wave paths is vital and essential for the modern age — hungry for high data transmissions, speed, agility and instant communications.
“Maintaining stable communication quality in each wireless system that connects various devices in a complex environment requires highly accurate radio wave propagation simulation that can quickly respond to changing conditions,” NTT said.
The company expects this breakthrough tech to contribute to the realization of stable wireless construction and operation for the 6G-IOWN era and the creation of new services.
Proof of concept: Robotic surgery and healthcare tech
Additionally, NTT announced that in collaboration with Ciena Corporation, Fujitsu and NEC Corporation, it will conduct a joint proof of concept for high-speed, low-latency IOWN technologies focusing on modern healthcare.
NTT reckons the PoC can meet the demands of robot-assisted surgery systems that have been gaining traction but require complex and advanced communication infrastructure.
Through IOWN, NTT released the Open All Photonics Network, which defines the functional architecture of a new network that creates high-speed and low-latency connections between communication endpoints.
“Data centers or hospitals may serve as communication endpoints, and this architecture leverages optical transport and switching technologies,” the company said.
As society becomes increasingly information-oriented, AI and IoT technologies are being incorporated into our daily lives. The amount of data handled by users has been increasing rapidly, and data centers often reach their capacity limit, causing users to connect new data centers with existing ones frequently.
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“The operators of such systems want to make them remotely operable to train more surgeons and save more people,” NTT added.
Responding to demands, the network nodes defined in the Open APN functional architecture can be constructed from the Open ROADM MSA4’s standard components, which are available from global optical product vendors such as Ciena, Fujitsu and NEC.
To prove the viability and operability of its new technology, NTT will conduct the PoC in the fourth quarter of 2022. The PoC will validate wavelength connection creation/deletion functions and evaluate the performance of optical communications in terms of throughput, delay and jitter.
The company continues to enhance communications and invests heavily in research and development. NTT believes innovative optical and wireless network, photonics, digital twins, edge computing and high-computing processing power is the future of 6G, IoT and communications.
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