Purdue sets up 6G lab, partners with SBA and Tilson

Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation are looking to advance the development of 6G with a new digital innovation platform, “Labs to Life” (L2L) in the 400-acre Discovery Park District adjacent to the university campus.

The launch of L2L is the next step “in creating one of the most connected innovation communities in the nation through the evolution from 5G to 6G,” according to an Aug 24. news release from the university.

“6G will go from a domain to a foundation to many vertical domains, from one network to a heterogeneous network of networks. From dynamic sharing and new spectra to edge intelligence and open architecture, 6G research needs to be accelerated through deployment in the U.S.,” said Mung Chiang, the university’s executive vice president for strategic initiatives and the John A. Edwardson dean of the College of Engineering.

To create the infrastructure for next generation wireless networks, the university and Purdue Research Foundation (PRF) have turned to partnerships. Earlier this year, PRF announced a partnership with neutral-host infrastructure provider Tilson to deploy more than 15 miles of high-capacity fiber that will flow throughout the district from an edge data center. The foundation also partnered with SBA Communications for the deployment of private CBRS networks in the district.

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According to the release, this infrastructure “will provide products and services to approximately 20,000 people who live, work, learn and visit in the district.”

Purdue and PRF have also established the Technology Leaders Advisory Board to support these efforts. The board is composed of technology companies, including AT&T, Celona, Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, Intel, SBA Communications and Tilson. The companies will help advise on further build-out of networks and infrastructure “in ways that will maintain the open nature of the platform.”

This fall the university will host a competition for universities and companies to develop deployment-ready innovations in 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and 6G.

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L2L marks the latest attempt by a university to set the groundwork for 6G systems, which may be roughly a decade away.  In July, the University of Texas at Austin launched a 6G research center with the support of major wireless industry players, including AT&T, Samsung and Qualcomm.