News & Analysis

Keysight coordinates pan-European 6G testbed

5th January 2023
Sheryl Miles

Keysight Technologies, a specialist technology company that delivers advanced design and validation solutions to help accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, announced the company joins forces with sixteen organisations to create 6G-SANDBOX, a pan-European testbed for 6G experimentation and validation of 5G-Advanced and 6G capabilities. As a part of 6G-SANDBOX, Keysight will act as the project coordinator.

Funded by Horizon Europe, 6G-SANDBOX is one of 35 new projects launched by Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU), which the European Commission (EC) established in 2021 to support the development of smart communication components, systems, and networks considered essential in building out a first-class European supply chain for advanced 5G and 6G technologies.

The project aims to develop EU-wide experimentation platforms to test promising technical 6G enablers, including zero-touch management, flexible multi-tenancy architecture, network intelligence, security, digital twins, artificial intelligence (AI), and reconfigurable intelligent surfaces.

The 6G testbed will combine digital and physical nodes to deliver fully configurable, manageable, and controllable end-to-end networks for validating new technologies and research advancements for 6G. The project offers organisations opportunities to conduct trials at four experimental platforms located in Malaga, Spain; Berlin, Germany; Oulu, Finland; and Athens, Greece.

“Keysight is pleased to partner with service providers, vendors, research institutes, and universities to drive a key EC-funded research, innovation, and trial project designed to support the development and deployment of next generation network technologies and connected devices,” said Michael Dieudonne, 6G-SANDBOX Project Coordinator, representing Keysight. “As an open 6G experimentation environment, 6G-SANDBOX will underpin an accelerated pan-European green and digital transformation, in line with the United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).”

The 6G-SANDBOX project participants include: COSMOTE; Eurescom; FOGUS Innovations & Services P.C.; Fraunhofer FOKUS; INFOLYSIS P.C.; Institute of Software Engineering and Technologies (ITIS) at the University of Malaga; Keysight Technologies Inc.; Lenovo; National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR) Demokritos; Nokia eXtended Reality Lab; OpenNebula; OWO; Queen's University Belfast; Telefonica, and University of Oulu.

Giampaolo Tardioli, Vice President of Keysight’s 6G and Next Generation Technology programme, said: “Keysight’s innovative spirit is at the heart of where multiple technologies will converge to support an intelligent, secure, cloud-native, and sustainable 6G network architecture. Well-established partnerships across 5G ecosystems, combined with a unique set of capabilities derived from advanced and scalable technology platforms, enable Keysight to underpin the creation of an open testbed for 6G research.”

Anastasius Gavras, Programme Manager at Eurescom, said: “Experimentally driven research has been at the forefront of European innovation of new networks. Testbeds enable the trial and evaluation of service concepts, technologies, system solutions, and business models to a point where risks associated with launching these commercially are minimised. Therefore, Eurescom firmly believes that operational 6G testbeds, such as 6G-SANDBOX, need to be an inherent part of the 6G ecosystem for the industry to innovate.”

Vaios Koumaras, Managing Director and Co-Founder of INFOLYSIS P.C., said: "As a Greek small to medium enterprise (SME) specialised in chatbots, IoT, and 5G, INFOLYSIS P.C. is pleased to participate in 6G-SANDBOX. Along with sixteen European organisations, we will support trials and experimentation aimed at strengthening the European information, communication, and technology (ICT) ecosystem based on 5G-advanced and 6G technologies. In line with our research and development strategy, the 6G-SANDBOX Athens experimental platform gives us the opportunity to develop new technologies for non-terrestrial, beyond 5G networks, and contribute to the EU-wide 6G vision."

Pedro Merino, Technical Manager of 6G-SANDBOX and Director of Institute of Software Engineering and Technologies (ITIS) at the University of Malaga, said: “Project 6G-SANDBOX allows ITIS to continue research, that started more than ten years ago in areas including software, protocols, and advanced configurations for 4G and 5G, to create joint a 6G testbed. We look forward to collaborating with universities and companies in areas such as internet of senses, zero-touch management, machine learning, and digital twins."

Alvaro Villegas, Head of Nokia eXtended Reality Lab, said: “We are excited to contribute to the success of 6G-SANDBOX with the experience of our eXtended Reality Lab team in Spain, focusing on enriching the platform to support XR use cases and demonstrate them during the project execution. Nokia strongly believes in Horizon Europe as the best collaboration tool across countries and organisations in Europe to produce the research needed for the new era of human communications based on 6G, which should target a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive world based on better communications.”

Alfonso Carrillo, Vice President of Telco Cloud and Edge Computing at OpenNebula Systems, said: “OpenNebula is the European Edge to Cloud continuum open source platform that underpins the deployment of containers and virtual machines for both VNF and CNF, and is the engine for orchestration and federation of computing resources that will be made available for research and development of 6G applications in the 6G-SANDBOX. OpenNebula actively participates in cloud and edge computing EU research-oriented projects with an open source Telco Cloud stack that reverts the results of said findings in the advancement of European technology.”

David Artuñedo, Connectivity Innovation at Telefonica, said: “As a key partner participating in the set-up of the Malaga-located 6G-SANDBOX testbed, Telefonica will lead the development and adoption of open application programming interface (API) specifications in the 6G-SANDBOX platform, enabling third parties to create new innovative use cases.”

Professor Tarik Taleb, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at the University of Oulu, said: “The University of Oulu is delighted to be a member of the 6G-SANDBOX consortium. The project's activities are consistent with the university's general research goals and will undoubtedly contribute to the 6G Flagship programme’s continued success."

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