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Sixth-generation (6G) mobile networks are envisaged to evolve remarkably from fifth-generation (5G). 6G networks are expected to support real-time human/cyber/physical system interactions, integrate natively AI mechanisms, pursue global coverage in space/air/ground/water, and integrate communications/sensing/computing for ubiquitous intelligence. 6G mobile services aim to achieve higher data rates, higher reliability, ultra-low latency, higher mobility, massive connections, ultra-high positioning accuracy, more intelligence, more security, and better substitutability than currently defined networks. 6G networks are expected to mark a disruptive transformation to the mobile networking paradigm by providing entirely new service quality and enhancing user experience to cater for the demands of the future data-driven and AI-based society. 

The Internet and 5G network architectures, protocols, and technologies encounter great challenges for 6G use cases. For example, global maritime communications and satellite communications in high-latitude regions need to be further explored to achieve global coverage with a mobile backbone. Immersive XR (e.g., augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality) applications giving users a more realistic feeling requires substantial improvements in several aspects, e.g., ultra-high data rate, ultra-low latency, and high sensing capabilities. Emerging applications, such as tactile Internet, vehicle-to-everything (V2X), and wireless data centers have higher requirements in terms of transmission reliability. Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 aim at a smooth integration of wireless and wired networks, at the same time expecting an increase of robustness, predictability, and reliability. To provide continuous services under the scenario of high user mobility and high network mobility, the communication protocols for grant-free access need to be more efficient and seamless, accordingly.

The future 6G mobile networks are expected to be innately intelligent, highly dynamic, highly flexible, self-organizing, and ultra-dense heterogeneous. As 6G standardization is expected to start not before 2025, the following few quarters present the pivotal moment to plan and evolve the mobile network by innovating network architectures, protocols, technologies, and algorithms to fulfill the 6G requirements and challenges in the coming decade.

This Special Issue (SI) aims to bring together recent advances in 6G mobile networks, focusing on new network architectures, protocols, and technologies. It welcomes original ideas and innovative approaches to network architectures; design methodologies; service schemes; algorithms; protocols; technologies; security and privacy; and practical systems from academia, industry, and government. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Space/air/ground/water integrated network architectures, addressing, routing, and protocols.
  • Integration of communications, computing, and sensing in 6G.
  • User and network mobility management in 6G.
  • Spectrum management in 6G.
  • Integrated access backhauls architectures and protocols.
  • Digital twin-based 6G mobile network.
  • AI/Machine Learning-based new technologies for 6G.
  • 6G for AI/distributed machine learning.
  • Networking protocols for emerging 6G applications and sustainability.
  • Intelligent network softwarization in 6G.
  • Semantic communication in 6G.
  • Integration of the Internet of Everything (IoE) and 6G communication system.
  • 6G wireless testbeds, real-world experiments, and standardizations.
  • Deterministic and predictable 6G networks for manufacturing and Industry 4.0.
  • HW accelerators and novel architecture, e.g., RISC-V in support of 6G networks.

Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts should conform to the standard format as indicated in the “Information for Authors” section of the Paper Submission Guidelines.

All manuscripts to be considered for publication must be submitted by the deadline through the magazine’s Manuscript Central submission site. Select “January2024/6GMobileNetworks” from the drop-down menu of Topic titles.

Important Dates

Manuscript Submission Deadline: 15 August 2023 (Extended Deadline)
Initial Decision Notification: 1 October 2023
Revised Manuscript Due: 1 November 2023
Final Decision Notification: 1 December 2023
Final Manuscript Due: 20 December 2023
Publication Date: January/February 2024

Guest Editors

Yuanguo Bi
Northeastern University, China

Lin Cai
University of Victoria, Canada

Mehrdad Dianati
University of Warwick, UK

Valerio Frascolla
Intel, Germany

De Mi
Birmingham City University, UK