By Péter Szilágyi, Technical Manager

Time flies so quickly when you are on a great team and working on an inspiring project! It feels like we have just started, yet it has been one whole year since PREDICT-6G kicked off. It has been a busy time, with lots of studies, planning, design, discussions, and deliverables. But the hard work has paid off: at the end of the year, we have created what we can claim to be a solid foundation of the project, both conceptually and practically. Let’s review what we have achieved, and what we are heading for, in more detail.

2023 summary

Looking back on the first year, it has been an intense study phase for the PREDICT-6G project. At the beginning, there were lots of questions around how to create multi-domain deterministic networks: what technologies to use, how to enable inter-working between different technological and administrative domains, and, above all, how to automate the service management in end-to-end so that it remains scalable to onboarding additional network technologies yet remains independent (as much as possible) from each technology’s specificities and limitations. We started the exploration by considering the technical requirements imposed by the three use cases that will be demonstrated at the end of the project. With this outcome-oriented methodology, we ensure that the PREDICT-6G system will be capable of delivering the needs of real-world scenarios. Based on the requirements, we designed the architecture of the system. This was a huge work that was split in two parts: one focusing on the data-plane, and another on the control/management-plane. These parts were investigated in parallel, but not at all in isolation: the idea was that data-plane technology enablers will be up-streamed and consolidated towards the control/management plane so that it can work on convenient abstractions instead of the raw controller layer of the L2/L3 technologies. This design resulted in a PREDICT-6G architecture that is modular, with clear separation between technology domain management and end-to-end service management, which in turn enables extendibility to any new network technology without changing end-to-end principles. The evolution of this work can be found in D1.1, D2.1 and D3.1, with D1.2 providing a standalone reference merging all PREDICT-6G architecture matters into a single document. Additionally, D2.2 and D3.2 provide reports on early implementation efforts, showing that PREDICT-6G no longer exists solely on paper but already now there is some code to be executed. Also, D4.1 reports on the integration plan that will bridge us over to the next year and set the next big piece of work in motion: the implementation of the PREDICT-6G system.

2024 outlook

A year’s start is just as good as the previous year’s end. That said, looking at the end of 2023 we have high hopes for 2024. Clearly, the biggest effort in 2024 will be the realisation of all PREDICT-6G components and their integration into a coherent system. The implementation work has already started on a small scale, with a few code drops delivered at the end of 2023, but the bulk of the work remains to be completed next year. Although we have a firm design and do not expect major changes to the architecture, experience shows that implementing a system for the first time never leaves the plans untouched, however carefully they were designed in the first place. Therefore, implementation is not going to be a one-way exercise, but it will evolve the thinking, understanding and design of the system as well. At the end, all will be for the benefit of the technical content that the project will deliver, so we are very much looking forward to changes rather than trying to avoid them. 

All in all, PREDICT-6G is progressing according to the project plan – it has finished all work scheduled for the first year, and has a solid foundation to become a reality in 2024. This year was rich in deliverables, having released a total of 12, exactly one per month on average. 2024 will be quieter in terms of deliverables, with only two of them scheduled; yet under this seemingly calm surface things will get rather busy in the Open Labs of Madrid and Budapest. Have a fantastic year end and stay tuned for more PREDICT-6G in 2024!