Nokia’s UNEXT aims to pave the way for the 6G era

Nokia’s UNEXT aims to pave the way for the 6G era

Nokia Bell Labs has announced the advent of UNEXT. This networking system promises to redefine communication and connectivity, comparable to what UNIX brought to computing.

Following the upcoming 6G era, UNEXT aims to overcome present communication hurdles by integrating disparate systems critical for next-generation applications – from autonomous robots and vehicles to the metaverse and extended reality (XR).

UNEXT is a self-regulating, interactive operating system that aims to enable smooth support for users and applications, leveraging resources scattered across heterogeneous owners and execution environments.

With new technologies such as virtualization, artificial intelligence, edge computing, blockchain, and open interfaces rising, network infrastructure and system software interconnections have multiplied. This complexity escalates as businesses enter the metaverse era, where any single metaverse application requires integration with numerous different systems.

Drawing inspiration from UNIX’s simplistic design principle, Nokia Bell Lab says that UNEXT is equipped to mitigate this complexity. It treats every network element – a device, an application, a microservice or an access node – as an independent, self-contained entity. These entities possess the necessary properties to function autonomously while cooperating with other elements.

Nokia Bell Lab says this functionality of UNEXT can be likened to how individuals function in society, maintaining their self-sufficiency while collaborating with others for more significant achievements. The company notes that UNEXT instils these principles into the network, making each element capable of integrating seamlessly with every other network element.

To understand the potential of UNEX, the company uses an example of friends playing an XR-enhanced soccer match. They would need a virtual stadium overlay, a virtual referee, and a virtual goalkeeper to conduct the game properly.

The challenge lies in the diverse mobile service providers, various XR equipment manufacturers, and different XR application services they each use. UNEXT’s self-managing entities can negotiate these differences, linking the players across operators and bridging the application interfaces. It can ensure quality of service across all connected devices, providing the necessary capacity and low latency for a real-time game.

Nokia’s Bell Labs say they have invested years of focused research into creating UNEXT. Having started integrating UNEXT elements into Nokia’s product portfolio, they plan to disclose more information soon. For example, a new webpage on Bell-Labs.com has been set up to provide information about UNEXT.

Last year, Nokia Bell Labs and Equideum Health collaborated to research the applications of data generated from health-related wearables and edge devices, as well as the ownership of this data.

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