BMBF Research Hub 6G-RIC – A security architecture for future mobile telephony
The University Passau is a participant in the research hub "6G Research and Innovation Cluster (6G-RIC)", which is coordinated by Fraunhofer HHI and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). A team around IT security expert Professor Stefan Katzenbeisser has set itself the task of developing a security architecture that takes into account energy efficiency.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has selected four German research hubs to explore the next generation of "6G" mobile technology. These hubs are trans-regional associations comprising several universities and research institutions that have decided to pool their technology development skills and accelerate the discovery-to-application process.
The research initiative "6G Research and Innovation Cluster (6G-RIC)" is one of these research hubs coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI. The purpose of the initiative is to develop mobile telecommunications systems of the sixth generation by pushing back the limits of technology. Efforts focus on developing the technology and creating a high-performance test infrastructure. The test infrastructure will be used to trial new technology components under realistic and open conditions. The purpose is to accelerate direct exploitation and facilitate the creation of a new ecosystem in the medium term.
The 6G-RIC consortium consists of a nationwide cluster of eleven universities. Participants include a team from the University of Passau that is headed by Professor Stefan Katzenbeisser who holds the Chair of Computer Engineering. It has expert knowledge in IT security to contribute to the cluster: the researchers from Passau are tasked with analysing security risks and threats. Plans include conducting a case study on 6G application in critical railway security systems. Building on this, the team from the University of Passau is developing a security architecture for future 6G networks using special building blocks like cryptographic protocols and machine learning processes.
Security, combined with energy efficiency
"It is essential that security in 6G networks be based on processes that are resistant to quantum-hardware-based attacks right from the start," says Professor Katzenbeisser. However, research is also focused on energy efficiency, particularly with a view to achieving the long-term climate goals: "One of the biggest challenges is to reconcile the massive level of network densification that will come with 6G and the explosive growth in data traffic with the call for global sustainability and fairness."
Aside from the University of Passau, the 6G-RIC cluster includes Technische Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Chemnitz University of Technology, the Technical University of Darmstadt, Kiel University, the University of Tübingen, RWTH Aachen University, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Five non-university research institutes are likewise involved: the Max Planck Society, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the German Aerospace Center, the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik as well as the Leibniz Institute for High Performance Microelectronics.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has awarded the research hub a grant for a period of four years. They will set the foundations for the 6G research initiative in Germany that the BMBF launched in 2021.