The Roadmap to 6G: AI Empowered Wireless Networks


    The recent upsurge of diversified mobile applications, especially those supported by AI, is spurring heated discussions on the future evolution of wireless communications. While 5G is being deployed around the world, efforts from industry and academia have started to look beyond 5G and conceptualize 6G. We envision 6G to undergo an unprecedented transformation that will make it substantially different from the previous generations of wireless cellular systems. In particular, 6G will go beyond mobile Internet and will be required to support ubiquitous AI services from the core to the end devices of the network. Meanwhile, AI will play a critical role in designing and optimizing 6G architectures, protocols, and operations. In this article, we discuss potential technologies for 6G to enable mobile AI applications, as well as AI-enabled methodologies for 6G network design and optimization.


    The In contrast to previous generations, 6G will be transformative and will revolutionize the wireless evolution from “connected things” to “connected intelligence” with more stringent requirements. The architecture of 6G will evolve from “network softwarization” to “network intelligentization”. By exploiting Intelligent Radio (IR), 6G is expected to evaluate the contributions of various hardware components and identify their bottlenecks, which in turn helps the device manufacturers in optimizing the budget allocation of the hardware costs. The unprecedented transformation of wireless networks will make 6G substantially different from the previous generations, as it will be characterized by a high degree of heterogeneity in multiple aspects. This opens up great opportunities for data-driven network planning and operation to achieve real-time additivity to dynamic network environments in 6G. With the ubiquitousness of smart mobile gadgets and the revival of AI, various AI-empowered mobile applications are emerging. To enable ubiquitous and diversified mobile AI services, 6G is expected to provide flexible platforms for developing advanced communication and computation technologies.