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Nokia Bell Labs showcases cutting-edge research on lunar networks and 6G at #MWC23

Nokia Media Release | 27 Feb 2023

Nokia Bell Labs showcases cutting-edge research on lunar networks and 6G at #MWC23

  • Nokia Bell Labs is partnering with Intuitive Machines and Lunar Outpost to deploy the first cellular 4G/LTE network on the Moon as part of a NASA initiative.
  • Future 6G networks will act as a form of ‘radar’, sensing objects, people and movements (while preserving privacy). That situational awareness will imbue people with a digital 6th sense.

27 February 2023
Espoo, Finland – Nokia today showcased two of Bell Labs’ latest research projects, seen for the first time by the public at Mobile World Congress. Audiences are able to explore an in-depth examination of Nokia’s lunar mission, which will see the first cellular network deployed the Moon. Also on the stand is a hands-on preview of 6G technology, demonstrating how the 6G network will endow its users with a digital 6th sense.

As part of a NASA initiative, Nokia Bell Labs is partnering with Intuitive Machines and Lunar Outpost for the IM-2 mission, which is scheduled to launch to the Moon’s south pole late this year. One of the primary goals of IM-2 is to prove that the same cellular technologies used to connect our smartphones on Earth can be used to provide communications and critical connectivity for future lunar missions. Nokia is deploying a 4G/LTE network on the Moon, which will provide the critical command-and-control and video streaming links to a Lunar Outpost rover and other lunar vehicles.

Thierry Klein, President Bell Labs Solutions Research said: “Nokia Bell Labs is thrilled to be returning to space. Nokia’s network experiments on the IM-2 mission will have a big impact on future crewed missions to the Moon and beyond, and validate that cellular technologies can be adapted for mission-critical space communications needs. Instead of reinventing the wheel by creating a proprietary network in space, we are leveraging the same technology that connects billions of devices cost-effectively on Earth.”

In its 6G demo, Nokia Bell Labs showed how future networks will act as a form of ‘radar’, sensing objects, people and movements while preserving privacy. That situational awareness will imbue people with a digital 6th sense, giving them the ability see around corners, gather information about our surroundings and even interact with objects at a distance. For the first time, Nokia offered a live demonstration of this 6G sensing capability using prototype radio equipment.

Peter Vetter, President, Bell Labs Core Research, said: “6G sensing will give us an awareness of our surroundings that we’ve never had before. For example, it will keep digital twins of a factory or smart city up to date in real time and as such optimize the flow of robots, vehicles and humans in safe way. This digital 6th sense will warn us of dangers like a speeding vehicle approaching around the corner. As 6G sensing becomes more accurate, we will be able to use gestures to interact in a natural way with the world, instead of using touch screens or controller interfaces.”

Resources and additional information
Multimedia available rights-free to the media
Lunar Mission video rendering: YouTube

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