Singapore lab to explore 6G technology

  • October 11, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Singapore has set up the first physical laboratory in the region to study the potential for 6G communications and connectivity.

With the goal of becoming a global node for 6G research and development, the laboratory was set up jointly by the country’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD), one of the leading scientific research institutions in telecommunications. Together, they hope to advance Singapore’s future communications and connectivity capabilities and talent.

In preparation for Singapore’s 6G future, Josephine Teo, the minister for communications and information, launched SUTD’s Future Communications Connectivity (FCC) Lab, the first physical 6G lab in the region that will also look to combine 6G R&D with SUTD’s AI Mega Centre.

The FCC Lab plans to accelerate research of future communications technologies and will look to unlock breakthroughs in 6G research and support emerging technologies such as holographic communications and intelligent sensing capabilities to support self-driving cars and drones.

Lew Chuen Hong, IMDA chief executive, said: “The innovations of today are not possible without constant investment and keeping our eyes on the next bound. We are excited to partner SUTD to launch south-east Asia’s first 6G lab. This is the start of our efforts to tap into the promise of future communications tech and become a global node of excellence.”

SUTD president Chong Tow Chong added: “SUTD is pleased to partner IMDA to progress the industry’s research and educational institutions for talent development in Singapore’s wireless communications ecosystem. We look forward to accelerating the research translation of future communication technologies.”

Situated at the SUTD campus, the lab is part of Singapore’s $70m Future Communications Research & Development Programme (FCP). FCP is hosted by SUTD and supported by the country’s National Research Foundation (NRF), under its RIE research, innovation and enterprise efforts. Also supported by IMDA, the FCP will coordinate multidisciplinary research efforts across the RIE ecosystem, with research institutes, institutes of higher learning and other RIE efforts.

The FCC Lab testbed will follow 3GPP and Open RAN standards to support evaluation of research outcomes. Network components can be individually replaced to facilitate targeted research.

As the host institution, the SUTD will lead collaborations across the Singapore ecosystem including the Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*Star), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).

Currently, 20 FCP grant projects have been awarded by SUTD for research and translation. The research projects focus in the areas of multi-access edge computing, network orchestration, non-terrestrial networks and security, while the translation projects are based on use cases with thematic focus on innovative mobility capabilities for air, land and sea applications.

To strengthen the pipeline of Singaporean talent, FCP has also supported 14 masters-level scholarships for local students to pursue research and translations in future communications technologies.

Internationally, Singapore has already forged 6G partnerships with institutions such as Finland’s 6G Flagship and the Korean Institute of Communications & Information Sciences.