ITU launches Network 2030 initiative to discover technology beyond 5G

02 August 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

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The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has launched a new research initiative to discover emerging and future technologies beyond 5G.

The work will be carried out by the newly established ITU Focus Group on Technologies for Network 2030, which is open to any interested parties.

"The work of the ITU Focus Group on Technologies for 'Network 2030' will provide network system experts around the globe with a very valuable international reference point from which to guide the innovation required to support ICT use cases through 2030 and beyond," said Houlin Zhao, ITU’s Secretary-General.

The newly formed ITU focus group aims to lead the global ICT community in developing a Network 2030 for future ICTs. This includes: new concepts, new architecture, new protocols and new solutions that are fully backward compatible, and can support both existing and new applications.

The ITU hopes that the use cases will give birth to new media such as holograms, next-gen augmented and virtual reality applications, as well as high-precision communications for 'tactile’ and 'haptic’ applications that need to process lots of data in near real-time.

"This Focus Group will look at new media, new services and new architectures. Holographic type communications will have a big part to play in industry, agriculture, education, entertainment – and in many other fields. Supporting such capabilities will call for very high throughput in the range of hundreds of gigabits per second or even higher," said Huawei's Richard Li, the focus group's chairman.

Joining Li in the group is Verizon's Mehmet Toy, Rostelecom's Alexey Borodin, China Telecom's Yuan Zhang and Yutaka Miyake from KDDI Research. The group is coordinated through ITU’s Telecommunication Standardisation Sector which works with ITU’s 193 member states and more than 800 industry and academic members.

"As networks and infrastructures are being updated by service providers, there is a need to identify the capabilities and technologies for public networks to be able to support the rising time-sensitive applications and meet user expectations," added Li. "5G is not the end of the story," he says. "Technology and the industry do not stop here. We have to move forward; we have to look ahead. We need to know what will happen after the year 2030."

Part of the work at ITU is the formation of the Joint Task Force (JTF). The group was formed in 2012 by both the ITU, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and the World Meteorological Organisation. The organisation is tasked with developing what they call SMART cables and the availability of submarine repeaters equipped with scientific sensors for ocean and climate monitoring and disaster risk reduction for things such as tsunamis.

To read more of the ground-breaking work being carried out the group, please click here.