6G Wireless Systems: Vision, Requirements, Challenges, Insights, and Opportunities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mobile communications have been undergoing a generational change every ten years or so. However, the time difference between the so-called "G’s" is also decreasing. While fifth-generation (5G) systems are becoming a commercial reality, there is already significant interest in systems beyond 5G - which we refer to as the sixth-generation (6G) of wireless systems. In contrast to the many published papers on the topic, we take a top-down approach to 6G. More precisely, we present a holistic discussion of 6G systems beginning with the lifestyle and societal changes driving the need for next generation networks, to the technical requirements needed to enable 6G applications, through to the challenges, as well as possibilities for practically realizable system solutions across all layers of the Open Systems Interconnection stack (i.e., from application to the physical layer). Since many of the 6G applications will need access to an order-of-magnitude more spectrum, utilization of frequencies between 100 GHz and 1 THz becomes of paramount importance. As such, the 6G eco-system will feature a diverse range of frequencies, ranging from below 6 GHz up to 1 THz. We comprehensively characterize the limitations that must be overcome to realize working systems in these bands; and provide a unique perspective on the physical, as well as higher layer challenges relating to the design of next generation core networks, new modulation and coding methods, novel multiple access techniques, antenna arrays, wave propagation, radio-frequency transceiver design, as well as real-time signal processing. We rigorously discuss the fundamental changes required in the core networks of the future, such as the redesign or significant reduction of the transport architecture that serves as a major source of latency for time-sensitive applications. This is in sharp contrast to the present hierarchical network architectures, which are not suitable to realize many of the anticipated 6G services. While evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of key candidate 6G technologies, we differentiate what may be practically achievable over the next decade, relative to what is possible in theory. Keeping this in mind, we present concrete research challenges for each of the discussed system aspects, providing inspiration for what follows.


External organisations
  • Spark New Zealand
  • King's College London
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Communication Systems
  • Telecommunications
  • Signal Processing


  • 6G, beamforming, next generation core network, PHY, signal processing, RF transceivers, THz, ultra massive MIMO, waveforms
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020 Aug 7
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Invited Article in the Proceedings of the IEEE

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