Nokia, NTT Docomo and the operator’s parent company claimed significant progress on an AI-based air interface and sub-terahertz spectrum to boost capacity, moves they stated are critical components in the evolution toward 6G.

The vendor stated it enabled 6G radios to learn by integrating AI and machine learning (ML) into the air interface during a proof-of-concept trial at a Nokia Bell Labs facility.

By pairing a AI-based learned waveform in a transmitter with a deep-learning receiver, Nokia Bell Labs, DOCOMO and NTT researchers were able to design and implement a learning air interface that transmits data efficiently under many different scenarios.

Nokia explained combining an “AI-based learned waveform in a transmitter with a deep-learning receiver” enabled researchers to produce “a learning air interface that transmits data efficiently under many different scenarios”.

“This AI/ML-based implementation significantly reduces signalling overhead, producing up to a 30 per cent improvement in throughput.”

Nokia argued new air interfaces will give 6G networks “the flexibility to adapt to the type of connection demanded by an application, device or user”.

Sub-terahertz gains
In another test, the companies achieved a 25Gb/s connection on a single 256QAM stream over a carrier frequency of 144GHz using beamforming.

“The sub-THz bands (100GHz and above) have not been designated for cellular use because of their propagation characteristics, but new techniques such as beamforming could open up those frequencies to future 6G networks,” Nokia stated.

“Accessing the sub-THz bands would inject enormous capacity into 6G networks.”

In June 2022, Docomo and NTT announced plans to trial next-generation mobile technologies with Nokia, NEC and Fujitsu, focused on sub-terahertz spectrum and AI-enabled interfaces.

Formal specifications for 6G aren’t expected until around 2026, but momentum accelerated in 2022 as major players look to introduce commercial service around 2030.

South Korea targeted deployment of the world’s first commercial 6G network in 2028, with the government earmarking nearly $200 million to develop the core standards and technologies over five years.

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