University of Oulu

C. De Lima et al., "Convergent Communication, Sensing and Localization in 6G Systems: An Overview of Technologies, Opportunities and Challenges," in IEEE Access, vol. 9, pp. 26902-26925, 2021, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3053486

Convergent communication, sensing and localization in 6G systems : an overview of technologies, opportunities and challenges

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Author: Lima, Carlos De1; Belot, Didier2; Berkvens, Rafael3;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2CEA-Leti, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
3Department of Electronics - ICT, University of Antwerp-imec, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
4imec, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
5Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering ``Guglielmo Marconi,'' University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
6Huawei Technologies France, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France
7Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, 33720 Tampere, Finland
8Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), Radio Systems (RS), University of Twente, 7522 Enschede, The Netherlands
9Barkhausen Institut, 01187 Dresden, Germany
10Institut Teknologi Sumatera, Lampung 35365, Indonesia
11Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Program, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955, Saudi Arabia
12Department of Telecommunications and Systems Engineering, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
13Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-04-20


Herein, we focus on convergent 6G communication, localization and sensing systems by identifying key technology enablers, discussing their underlying challenges, implementation issues, and recommending potential solutions. Moreover, we discuss exciting new opportunities for integrated localization and sensing applications, which will disrupt traditional design principles and revolutionize the way we live, interact with our environment, and do business. Regarding potential enabling technologies, 6G will continue to develop towards even higher frequency ranges, wider bandwidths, and massive antenna arrays. In turn, this will enable sensing solutions with very fine range, Doppler, and angular resolutions, as well as localization to cm-level degree of accuracy. Besides, new materials, device types, and reconfigurable surfaces will allow network operators to reshape and control the electromagnetic response of the environment. At the same time, machine learning and artificial intelligence will leverage the unprecedented availability of data and computing resources to tackle the biggest and hardest problems in wireless communication systems. As a result, 6G will be truly intelligent wireless systems that will provide not only ubiquitous communication but also empower high accuracy localization and high-resolution sensing services. They will become the catalyst for this revolution by bringing about a unique new set of features and service capabilities, where localization and sensing will coexist with communication, continuously sharing the available resources in time, frequency, and space. This work concludes by highlighting foundational research challenges, as well as implications and opportunities related to privacy, security, and trust.

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Series: IEEE access
ISSN: 2169-3536
ISSN-E: 2169-3536
ISSN-L: 2169-3536
Volume: 9
Pages: 26902 - 26925
DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3053486
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland under Grant 318927 (project 6Genesis Flagship) and Grant 24303208.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 318927
Detailed Information: 318927 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
24303208 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Authors 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see