National 6G Roadmap Working Group: Three Years of Accomplishment

Next G Alliance Blog Series

ATIS’ Next G Alliance (NGA) is an initiative that aims to propel North American wireless technology to a position of leadership in the coming decade, driven by private sector-led initiatives in collaboration with government stakeholders. This endeavor impacts and covers the entire spectrum of research and development, manufacturing, standardization, and market preparedness throughout the lifecycle.

The NGA’s National 6G Roadmap Working Group (NRWG) is charged with developing and maintaining the North American vision, roadmap, and timeline for 6G, based on priorities recommended by the NGA Steering Group, along with input obtained from other Next G Alliance working groups (WGs). It also coordinates with all other NGA WGs to align with the roadmap on the key outcomes such as research priorities, government actions, incentives, and policies.

In February of 2022, the NRWG released its inaugural comprehensive report titled Roadmap to 6G, delineating the blueprint for a North American vision for 6G. The NGA identified six audacious goals, and individual whitepapers addressing each of these objectives were published between 2022 and 2023.All are available in the NGA’s 6G Library.

Value-Creation in Vertical Industries

Subsequently, the NRWG undertook an ambitious objective focused on addressing vertical industry needs, expanding upon the groundwork laid by its earlier Roadmap to 6G publication, to publish the 6G Roadmap for Vertical Industries. Anticipations within the communications industry are elevated for the value-creation opportunities in the vertical domains in the forthcoming years, encompassing both 5G and 6G advancements. Through its verticals initiative, the NGA aims to help the communications industry to reach out to the broadest range of stakeholders. In preparing for future application opportunities, it begins by exploring the North American dynamics and needs of eight industry verticals: Automotive; Agriculture; eHealth; Industrial IoT; Public Safety; Education, Gaming and Entertainment; Smart Cities; and Mining.

Current and Future Work

In addition to publishing whitepapers, NGA is instrumental in leading global collaboration activities with various regional bodies: Korea’s 6G Forum, Japan’s Beyond 5G Promotion Consortium (B5GPC), Europe’s 6G Smart Networks and Services Industry Association (6G-IA), and India’s Bharat 6G Alliance, through various conferences and workshops.

Recently, the NGA/ATIS and the EU Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU), published a position paper on a common vision and industry roadmap on research and development for 6G wireless communication systems. which was prepared for the US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) ministerial meeting in January 2024. The lead editor from North American side was the Chair of NRWG. The “EU-US Beyond 5G/6G Roadmap,” available at https://6g-ia.eu/plans-papers/ and https://nextgalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/EU-US-Aligned-6G-Roadmap-Joint-Paper.pdf, contains a set of key strategic observations and recommendations for 6G networks and services, capturing the views and priorities from the Next G Alliance and the SNS JU.

The NRWG is also taking a leading role in ITU-R WP 5D. Notably, on behalf of NGA, the NRWG was the pioneer in submitting a contribution towards the Minimum Technical Performance Requirements, subsequently inspiring other entities to make their own contributions. This initial effort provided a solid foundation for more in-depth discussions, and there are plans to submit a detailed contribution at the upcoming WP 5D meeting in June 2024. The contribution will be based on another major initiative started by NRWG 8 months ago called “Gaps and Priorities.” This document will offer a comprehensive characterization of the roadmap and prioritization, affording NGA the opportunity to influence 6G use cases, requirements, and technology maturity for initial phase of 6G deployment. The NRWG is also spearheading a significant initiative focused on a crucial 6G topic known as “Joint Communication and Sensing (JCAS) Channel Model” development. Within this collaborative effort, member companies from various sectors, including industry, academia, and government, are actively engaged in crafting communication channel models and JCAS channel models across midbands (7-15GHz), mmWave bands, and sub-THz bands. The initial phase of the report is scheduled for completion by April 2024, aiming to serve as the foundation for 3GPP contributions by NGA member companies.

Summary

Since 2021, the NGA National 6G Roadmap Working Group has achieved substantial progress in formulating and sustaining a vision for 6G. This journey involves evaluating and shaping 6G requirements in external forums, as well as advocating for a North American 6G vision that fosters relationships with other global initiatives sharing common goals. Looking ahead to 2024, the WG is poised to launch a new initiative featuring cross-functional working groups dedicated to crucial 6G topics such as JCAS 6G Readiness, Verticals Proof-of-Concept, End-to-End AI/ML, and more. In summary, the NRWG, in collaboration with other working groups, is actively mapping the North American 6G vision.


About Amitava Ghosh

Chair, National 6G Roadmap Working Group at Next G Alliance

Amitabha (Amitava) Ghosh is a Nokia Fellow and works at Nokia Standards and Strategy. He joined Motorola in 1990 after receiving his Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Since joining Motorola he worked on multiple wireless technologies starting from IS-95, cdma-2000, 1xEV-DV/1XTREME, 1xEV-DO, UMTS, HSPA, 802.16e/WiMAX and 3GPP LTE. He has 65 issued patents, has written multiple book chapters and has authored numerous external and internal technical papers. He is currently working on 5G Evolution and 6G technologies. He is also the chair of the NextGA (an US 6G initiative) National Roadmap Working Group. His research interests are in the area of digital communications, signal processing and wireless communications. He is the recipient of 2016 IEEE Stephen O. Rice and 2017 Neal Shephard prize, Sr. editor of IEEE Access and co-author of the books titled “Essentials of LTE and LTE-A” and “5G Enabled Industrial IoT Network”.