6G-SANDBOX is a HE funded research project (HORIZON-JU-SNS-2022-STREAM-C-01-01). The 6G-SANDBOX project brings a complete and modular facility for the European experimentation ecosystem (in line and under the directions set by SNS JU), which is expected to support for the next decade technology and research validation processes needed in the pathway towards 6G.
The target is at technologies and research advances, that span over the entire service provisioning chain, and refer to user/data, control and management planes. In this direction, 6G-SANDBOX introduces the concept of Trial Networks, which refers to fully configurable, manageable and controlled end-to-end networks, composed of both digital and physical nodes.
The 6G-SANDBOX Trial Networks incorporate infrastructures distributed in EU (namely in Malaga, Athens, Berlin and Oulu) and offer to third parties (including experimenters from open calls) automated experimentation capabilities through a rich and extensible toolbox. Meant to create tangible and long-term impact, the 6G KPIs and KVIs that will be quantified with the facility, will be released to any interested party; while the set of developments and APIs that will be produced, will feed an open repository as an initial step to move the contributions and the lessons learned beyond the project boarders and define a European 6G library.
MOTIVATION AND SCOPE
At the dawn of the new era in telecommunications after the successful deployment of 5G networks, the principles of 6G networks and services are being designed, while disruptive visions regarding the 6G contribution in socioeconomic impact (well-defined as SDG by UN) are being composed. Indeed, the first signs for shaping the expectations from 6G have emerged ,where a convergence of digital, physical, and human domains is envisioned. In this revolutionary path, the contribution from technology and research experimentation facilities of emerging 6G technologies is expected to be crucial. Those facilities will function as one-stop shops which will help companies dynamically respond to the 6G digital challenges and expectations. This potential of experimentation facilities has been validated already through the 5G paradigm, where 5G pan-European facilities, such as 5GENESIS, 5G-VINNI, or 5G-EVE, supported the 5G digital transformation and the trial of innovative applications and services. However, the need of experimentation facilities is further amplified in the beyond 5G era, as depicted in multiple Standards Organisation (SDOs) and research-oriented references, due to the disruptive expectations that 6G brings, creating a direct need for trials and experimentation towards the creation of novelty. For instance, in the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA 2021-27), the need for experimentation is defined as one of the key recommended actions towards 6G, while ITU has recently established a Focus Group on Testbeds Federations for IMT-2020 and beyond. In the same context, the key objectives of SNS R&I Work Programme 2021- 2022, regarding Stream C calls, are formulated around the development of experimental infrastructures, that will validate 6G technologies and use cases. As a response to this challenge, the 6G-SANDBOX project is dedicated to providing clear and tangible contributions towards an experimentation ecosystem for 6G in Europe.
Define and release the architecture and the processes/methodology of an experimentation facility, that will be aligned with the related standardization efforts and will support network and technology evolution towards 6G, by providing modular implementation capabilities, open access, reusability of results and components, innovation at all the layers and domains of the service provisioning chain, and sustainability beyond the project lifetime.
Develop and integrate the 6G-SANDBOX ORAN-driven end-to-end physical connectivity infrastructure around Europe, which incorporates 6G technologies that reside at access domain, including disruptive wireless communications, transport network advancements, and core network innovations.
Develop and integrate the 6G-SANDBOX resource management framework that is capable to efficiently deploy trial networks and to control multi-domain vitalized resources, by following an “Infrastructure as a Code” approach where all 6G software components are openly released.
Develop and integrate an automated and API-based experimentation lifecycle framework for performing automated experimentation as a service on 6G-SANDBOX trial networks tailored to the 6G KPIs and KVIs, being capable to efficiently produce and release of reliable analytical results (values of those KPIs and KVIs) for evaluating 6G use cases in easily reusable common formats.
Create an ecosystem under the SNS JU umbrella, that will allow the adoption of innovative components from Stream B projects and also enable the hosting of 6G use cases, through open calls, during the project lifetime, and through the offering from Stream D projects, in long-term.
Create tangible socioeconomical impact as well as maximize technological and business potential through targeted communication, dissemination, and standardization initiatives that will set capacity building capabilities.