Nokia, NTT, SKT and DOCOMO Team Up To Develop 6G AI-native Air Interface (AI-AI)

  • AI is a critical 6G building block, with the potential to boost performance and minimize energy consumption in future 6G networks.
  • SKT joins the existing 6G collaboration between Nokia, NTT and DOCOMO, expanding the scope and scale of its work on the 6G native air interface (AI-AI).
  • At MWC 2024, an AI air interface (AI-AI) proof of concept video demonstration will be available at SKT’s booth.
Nokia, SK Telecom (“SKT”), NTT and DOCOMO, on Thursday last week, announced that they have joined forces to develop the 6G AI-native air interface (AI-AI), a critical next-generation technology that could greatly boost network performance while increasing energy efficiency. The four companies will show a video demonstration of an AI-AI proof of
concept at SKT’s booth at Mobile World Congress.

An AI-native air interface (AI-AI) is a dynamic interface that uses machine learning (ML) and AI (Artifical Intelligence) to define the air interface. It can adapt to different radio environments, data, applications, and Hardware.

This new 6G collaboration builds on an existing relationship between Nokia, NTT and DOCOMO targeted at 6G innovation. With the addition of SKT, the four companies will be able to expand the scope and scale of 6G AI-AI testing and validation as well as explore a broader range of business use cases for the technology.

Academics, leading research institutes, and key industry experts across the globe anticipate that a future 6G standard will use AI/ML for signal processing tasks, such as channel estimation, channel equalization, and demapping. This concept is understood as a neural receiver.

This collaboration is developing future proof-of-concept 6G AI-AI systems, which will then be put to the test using selected use cases and real environmental scenarios. These over-the-air validation tests will be conducted both in the lab and outdoors to best simulate real network results. SKT, NTT, DOCOMO and Nokia will cooperate on improving AI model performance by utilizing data generated from real networks or through simulation. This will be instrumental in developing AI training models for a best-in-industry AI-AI solution.

By working together Nokia, SKT, NTT and DOCOMO will be able to combine their research efforts and bring their core areas of expertise to the table. Nokia’s industrial research arm, Nokia Bell Labs, is a leader in 6G innovation, while SKT, NTT and DOCOMO are recognized worldwide for their successful adoption of every generation of networking and their ability to create new business value from advanced technologies.

Peter Vetter, President of Bell Labs Core Research at Nokia, said: “For Nokia to create a world-class 6G system, it’s critical we get input from the service providers that will one day deploy 6G. SKT, NTT and DOCOMO are among the most innovative service providers in the world, which gives us the perfect partners to design the networks of the future.”

Yu Takki, Vice President and Head of Infra Tech at SKT, said: “This milestone represents a significant step forward in collaborative efforts towards the development of 6G core technology involving technology leaders from Korea, Japan, Europe and the United States. SKT will maintain its momentum in its R&D efforts of applying AI technology to network infrastructure as we move forward to become a global AI company.”

Takaaki Sato, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at DOCOMO, said: “DOCOMO and NTT are delighted to advance this project with Nokia, a global vendor leading the world, and SKT, a mobile operator co-leading Asia. Through this collaboration, we will take the lead in innovative technology development and standardization of 6G, and focus on building a global ecosystem that includes future industries and technologies.”

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