The Future is Now: Upper Austria Begins 6G Research

Silicon Austria Labs and the JKU are forging ahead in the advancement of key technologies to create a wirelessly networked ‘factory of the future’.

6G research; photo credit: Pixabay
6G research; photo credit: Pixabay

Although 5G is just now reaching market maturity, research on 6G is already underway in Upper Austria in an effort to create the next generation of mobile communications. Silicon Austria Labs (SAL), Austria's top research center for electronics-based systems, has three locations in Austria, with one is right here in Linz. SAL and the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) will work together to create key technologies to support a wireless networked ‘factory of the future’. Production facilities will operate under reliable wireless networking, meaning production can be controlled in a highly efficient way by means of a digital twin. Markus Achleitner, State Minister for Economics and Research, remarked: "When it comes to industrial applications, Linz will become a center for 6G in Europe. The collaboration effort between JKU, SAL and additional industrial partners will continue strengthening Upper Austria as a location of production."

Silicon Austria Labs (SAL) will be conducting research together with Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz at two joint research labs - the mmW Lab and the eSPML Lab - to explore key technologies for the next mobile phone generation 6G:

The eSPML Lab will focus on paradigm-shifting signal processing solutions
The eSPML Lab will focus on new approaches to combine signal processing and machine learning with integrated circuit design to boost performance, be more cost-efficient, and reach new levels of performance and capability in the area of embedded solutions. The Lab is managed by Mario Huemer (Institute of Signal Processing, JKU), Thomas Pleschke (SAL) and, very soon in the future, also by Pedro Julian (SAL). Pedro Julian, an Argentinian professor for integrated circuits (including neural networks), joined SAL Linz in February 2021, and is also a visiting professor at John Hopkins University (USA).

The mmW Lab will focus on research in converging radar and mobile communications
Researchers at the mmW Lab will work together to drive research on millimeter-wave technologies, meaning in the frequency range of 100 to 300 GHz, both of which are used at high data rates in short-range radar and wireless communications. The mmW Lab is managed by Gernot Hueber (SAL), Andreas Stelzer (Institute of Communications Engineering and RF Systems, JKU), and Harald Pretl (Institute of Integrated Circuits, JKU). The interdisciplinary Lab team works primarily on the 6G objectives that include converging communications, radar and high-frequency sensor technology, meaning semiconductor chips containing integrated high-frequency circuits and the correlating system solutions.