The digital economy and high bandwidth mobile communications are essential tools for wealth creation in Europe and will enable an estimated USD12.3 trillion of global economic output by 2035. As digital connectivity becomes more and more ubiquitous, and offers higher capacity, it will become the new ‘lifeblood’ of the digital economy and connected society with over 8.9 billion mobile subscriptions envisaged by 2025. Emerging wireless technologies with Gbps connectivity has the potential to improve communications for 100 million students, more than 70 million workers, almost 2 million doctors and more than 2.5 million patients in hospitals within the EU alone by 2025. For this to happen a robust measurement infrastructure for emerging wireless technologies needs to be developed and then incorporated into relevant normative standards, e.g. CENELEC, IEC, ETSI, and IEEE, so that telecommunications manufacturers can have confidence that ICT products meet customer specifications.
The European Digital Agenda is driving the exploitation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by fostering innovations and economic growth, with a crucial role being played by the European telecommunications industry in the development of emerging wireless technologies for IoT and 5G/6G mobile networks. The rollout of these networks and large-scale deployments of cellular IoT will lead to fundamental changes to our society, impacting not only consumer service, but also industries embarking on digital transformations. Metrology has a pivotal role to ensure product quality and end-user confidence, and ultimately to improve the competitiveness of European Industry.
With the increasing adoption of complex new radio signals and large-scale multi-antenna technologies at different radio frequency (RF) bands in emerging wireless systems, manufacturer product verifications have become very time consuming and involve complicated procedures and equipment, leading to high testing costs. International standards bodies (e.g. ETSI, 3GPP), the telecommunication industries and research communities are now actively seeking improved process control on New Radio Over the Air (NR OTA) methods (Objective 1). Also, sub-THz wireless radio propagation channel characterisation (Objective 2) is currently an active topic being studied by ITU and IEEE standard development organisations, but there is a need for real-world empirical measurement data to support this R&D advancement toward 6G definitions and new product development. Furthermore, there is no reliable method to measure the RF exposure of 5G new radio systems. Importantly, CENELEC, IEC and IEEE international standards are actively seeking improved process control for addressing the product testing time-burden issue when using current RF exposure assessment methods (Objective 3). Hence, there is an immediate need for NMI-level metrology research to improve measurement capabilities and to provide underpinning metrology to input to the relevant standards to support the competitiveness of European industry. The work proposed in this project aligns with broader European visions, as outlined in the European Commission Strategy – e.g. “Digital Single Market”.
It is recognised that no single NMI has, or will have, the capability to deliver all the work in this project. Our strategy, therefore, is to bring together the EU’s leading NMIs and academics in this area to build capability across all the participants that fully aligns with stakeholder and standardisation measurement needs. This approach aligns with the European Partnership on Metrology’s goal of promoting collaborative research in the most demanding fields of industrial metrology by exceeding the current state of the art.
5 National Metrology Institutes:
- CMI, Czechia
- LNE, France
- METAS, Switzerland
- NPL, United Kingdom
- RISE, Sweden
- Aalborg University, Denmark
- Beijing Jiaotong Univertisy, China
- Institut Mines-Telecom, France
- Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
- University of Surrey, United Kingdom
7 industrial partners:
- Anritsu, Austria
- CAICT, China
- Keysight Technologies, Belgium
- MVG, Italy
- Nokia, France
- SPEAG, Switzerland
- ZTE AB, Sweden