University of Sheffield to open UK’s first 6G research centre

The University of Sheffield is set to become a world leader in the development of 6G technology after announcing plans for a major new technology research facility.

The facility, based in the University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, will be the first national centre of 6G research in the UK and will look to help the nation become a world leader in such technology.

Professor Timothy O’Farrell, Professor of Wireless Communication at the University of Sheffield, will direct the new research centre and believes that the planned national facility will play a ‘huge role in the UK’s 6G capabilities’.

He said: “6G is the next generation of telecommunications technology and has fast become a strategically important area for research and development. If the UK is to maintain its place as a global leader in telecommunications then we need the specialist equipment that our academics and industrial partners can use to innovate and develop next generation 6G technologies.”

6G represents the sixth generation of mobile connectivity that is currently under development, and as the planned successor to 5G it is expected that it will be significantly faster, have a greater capacity and make it easier to stream video and perform other demanding tasks.

It will build on the university’s existing research into 5G through its ‘millimetre wave’ measurement facility which is open to both industry and academics, with the new centre following suit.

The new centre will be funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and has received unprecedented support from more than 40 companies and academic institutions who all have ‘strong interests’ in 6G.

Set to be named the ‘UKRI National 6G Radio Systems Facility’ the centre will provide ‘cutting edge’ research into many aspects of 6G radio systems, such as candidate waveforms, digital acquisition and signal processing, transmitter and receiver circuits, antenna arrays and over-the-air (OTA) propagation measurements.

It will be capable of supporting research in the important 6G pioneering frequency band at 220GHz as well as all other operating frequency bands.

The University of Sheffield say that the facility will be ‘versatile’ and ‘straightforward to use’ and that the research being provided will take society closer to realising ‘immersive communications services, delivered over energy efficient infrastructure’.

Written by Harry Thursby

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