Key Drivers and Research Challenges for 6G Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence

6G Research Visions, No. 1

Executive Summary

The white paper “Key Drivers and Research Challenges for 6G Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence” is based on the views that 70 invited experts shared during a special workshop at the first 6G Wireless Summit in Finnish Lapland in March 2019. The publication focuses on the key drivers, research requirements, challenges and research questions towards 6G.

The publication presents a strong vision of ubiquitous wireless intelligence for 2030. Ubiquitous services will follow users seamlessly, everywhere, and wireless connectivity will be part of critical infrastructure. Furthermore, intelligence will create context-aware smart services and applications for human and non-human users alike.

6G White Paper is divided to seven themes:

Societal and Business Drivers for 6G

Drivers from society, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), will shape 6G. The move towards a data sharing / data market economy will raise issues with data ownership and contractual policies that require special attention. The transition to ever higher frequencies with smaller radio ranges and the increasing role of indoor networks will boost network sharing in cities and indoor spaces, and – especially – drive the “local operator” paradigm. Stakeholder roles in 6G will change compared to the current mobile business ecosystem and new roles will emerge.

6G Use Cases and New Device Forms

Smart phones are likely to be replaced by pervasive XR experiences through lightweight glasses delivering unprecedented resolution, frame rates, and dynamic range. Telepresence will be made possible by high resolution imaging and sensing, wearable displays, mobile robots and drones, specialized processors, and next-generation wireless networks. Autonomous vehicles for ecologically sustainable transport and logistics are made possible by advances in wireless networks and in distributed artificial intelligence (AI) and sensing.

Radio Hardware Progress and Challenges

Extended spectrum towards THz enables merging communications and new applications, such as 3D imaging and sensing. New paradigms for transceiver architecture and computing will be needed to achieve 1 Tbps. There are opportunities for semiconductors, optics and new materials in THz applications. Increased complexity will introduce the need for open-source platforms to make the next generation hardware and software solutions happen.

Physical Layer and Wireless System

Artificial intelligence will play a major role both in link and system level solutions of 6G wireless networks. New grant-free access methods are critical for truly massive machine-type communication. Signal shaping is a way to achieve record-high spectral efficiency. The strongest security protection may be achieved at the physical layer. Backscatter communications using RF power for connectivity and computation may enable hyper-low-power communications. 6G wireless networks may shape the radio environment to their liking.

6G Networking

6G needs a network with embedded trust. 6G network should provide proper mitigation and protection from attacks. 6G will create data markets where privacy protection together with clear rules for the market will be key enablers. 6G needs an upgraded networking paradigm moving from best effort to differentiated service quality.

New Service Enablers

6G is not only about moving data: it will become a framework of services, including communication services. In 6G, all user-specific computation and intelligence may move to the edge cloud. Integration of sensing, imaging and highly accurate positioning capabilities with mobility opens a myriad of new applications in 6G. Trust and privacy are key prerequisites for a successful 6G service platform.

Please cite:

Latva-aho, M. & Leppänen, K., (Eds.). (2019). Key Drivers and Research Challenges for 6G Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence. 6G Research Visions, No. 1. University of Oulu.

White Paper


Editor in Chief

Matti Latva-aho
Kari Leppänen


Markku Juntti
Raimo Kantola
Pekka Kyösti
Steven LaValle
Carlos Morais de Lima
Marja Matinmikko-Blue
Timo Ojala
Ari Pouttu
Aarno Pärssinen
Seppo Yrjölä


Behnaam Aazhang
Petri Ahokangas
Hirley Alves
Mohamed-Slim Alouini
Jaap van de Beek
Howard Benn, Mehdi Bennis
Jean Claude Belfiore
Emilio Calvanese Strinati
Fan Chen
Kapseok Chang
Federico Clazzer
Sudhir Dixit
Kwon DongSeung
Marco Giordani
Werner Haselmayr
Jussi Haapola
Eric Hardouin
Erkki Harjula
Jari Hulkkonen
Jari Iinatti
Markku Juntti
Riku Jäntti
Raimo Kantola
Marcos Katz
Zaheer Khan
Kwangseon Kim
Namseok Ko
Young Jo Ko
Joonas Kokkoniemi
Pekka Kyösti
Sandra Lagen
Matti Latva- aho
Steven LaValle
Janne Lehtomäki
Marko Leinonen
Kari Leppänen
Calvin Li
Carlos Lima
Madhusanka Liyanage
Lauri Lovén
Nurul Huda Mahmood
Marja Matinmikko-Blue
Marco Mezzavilla
Preben Mogensen
Alain Mourad
Andrea Munari
Rickard Nilsson
Zhisheng Niu
Timo Ojala
Ian Opperman
Janne Peisa
Ella Peltonen
Ullrich Pfeiffer
Pekka Pirinen
Petar Popovski
Esa Posio
Harri Posti
Ari Pouttu
Ravikumar Pragada
Aarno Pärssinen
Nandana Rajatheva
Harri Saarnisaari
Raja Sattiraju
Rahim Tafazolli
Tarik Taleb
Hugo Tullberg
Mikko Uusitalo
Harish Viswanathan
Seppo Yrjölä
Peiying Zhu

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In total, 293 experts took part in writing these papers. Click into our visions on 6G below!