Keysight Technologies, directing the Horizon Europe-funded 6G-SANDBOX project, has forged a significant collaboration with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) of Taiwan. The partnership aims to bring together European and Taiwanese companies to advance 6G research, with a focus on specialised areas such as joint communications and sensing (JCAS) and reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS).
The 6G-SANDBOX was launched in January 2023 by Keysight, collaborating with 16 partners, with the goal of creating a pan-European testbed for 6G exploration. The project melds digital and physical nodes, resulting in fully configurable, manageable, and controllable end-to-end networks. This structure aids in validating new technologies and advancements in scientific research relating to 6G.
This initiative offers entities across the European Union a unique opportunity to trial potential facilitating technologies for 6G, such as network automation, cybersecurity measures, digital twins, and artificial intelligence (AI). It also promotes technologies centred on improving energy efficiency.
Under the leadership of Keysight Technologies, the 6G-SANDBOX project has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ITRI. This agreement seeks to promote collaboration between European and Taiwanese companies dedicated to 6G research. The partnership will liaise 6G-SANDBOX testbeds with Taiwan's thriving telecommunications ecosystem, focusing on sophisticated research areas associated with 6G, such as JCAS and RIS.
Pang-An Ting, General Director of ITRI’s Information and Communications Research Laboratories, said, "By seamlessly integrating technologies, applications, and experimental networks from Taiwan into the 6G-SANDBOX testbeds, we are paving the way for collaborative experimentation for people in Europe and Taiwanese companies and institutes, focusing on both 5G and 6G technologies.” Ting added that they plan to extend invitations to universities and additional Taiwanese firms thereby aligning shared commitment to innovating 5G networks and defining 6G standards.
Beyond instigating Taiwanese involvement, ITRI will also facilitate access to essential components for 6G-SANDBOX testbeds. These components include 5G cores, 5G O-RAN base stations, SMO/RIC management platforms, JCAS frameworks, and sophisticated network planning and emulation tools.
Michael Dieudonne, coordinator of 6G-SANDBOX, stated, “Through a robust interconnection between 6G-SANDBOX testbeds and the ITRI experimental network, we aim to create a comprehensive research platform for 6G applications”. He further expressed that the MoU enhances a global collaborative ability to drive advances in wireless communication.
For Ting, this MoU symbolises ITRI’s progress within the ICT sector, having joined the esteemed ranks of the 6G-IA. ITRI, widely recognised for championing industrial innovation and technological advancement, has played a significant role in introducing 5G technology across varied domains. Now, with a shifting focus towards 6G technology development, ITRI is dynamically shaping the future vista of communication networks.
The 6G-SANDBOX project is funded by the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) under the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program (Grant Agreement No 101096328).