Brooklyn Summit switches focus to 6G

The annual Brooklyn 5G Summit, which was started in 2013 by co-organizers NYU Wireless and Nokia, is now the Brooklyn 6G Summit and it will be held virtually October 18-19. Organizers say it was time to make the switch from 5G to 6G because 6G is expected to become a reality in 2030 and now is the perfect time for the industry to start collaborating on 6G research and concepts.

Ted Rappaport, founding director of NYU Wireless, said that the first Brooklyn 5G Summit was held in 2014 and the goal of the conference was to bring together leaders in academia, the government and the industry to share ideas and research. Those goals are the same today but now the topic of discussion is 6G rather than 5G.

Peter Vetter, president of Bell Labs Core Research at Nokia, acknowledged that there are other 6G events, but he said the difference is that the Brooklyn 6G Summit is “grounded in research.”

In fact, one panel discussion is devoted to discussing 6G academic research that is happening around the world. The panel features speakers from 6GNC, a North Carolina State University research group; TU Dresden, a public research university in Germany; 6G Flagship Program, a 6G research and development program at the University of Oulu in Finland; NYU Wireless, a research group at New York University; and Stanford University.

But organizers are particularly proud of their ability to attract speakers from some of the top research organizations around the world, including Tyagarajan Nandagopal, deputy division director at the National Science Foundation, Takehiro Nakamura of NTT DoCoMo and Liu Guangyi, who heads up 6G research at China Mobile.

Vetter noted that every generation of wireless finds new and better ways to solve use cases from the previous generation. He said 2G wireless had mobility and connectivity but 3G did it better and added the ability to have data to your device. 4G provided real-time streaming capabilities and 5G adds better mobile broadband and the possibility of machine communications. “6G will improve upon that and do it at a lower cost with better energy efficiency,” Vetter said.

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Although the focus of the summit is on 6G, organizers are still devoting some time to 5G.  In fact, a panel discussion on the first day is titled “Maximizing the Value of 5G and its Evolution,” and features speakers from T-Mobile, AT&T, Dish Network, Deutsche Telekom and the FCC.

To critics who say the industry should remain focused on monetizing 5G instead of looking ahead to 6G, Rappaport says that it’s human nature to not like what you don’t know. “It’s easy to criticize but there is too much at stake to not do the research,” he said. “6G will be vastly different than wireless today.”