The Oulu Connection: Where 6G research and tech education collide
University of Oulu

5G hasn’t even fully arrived, but the University of Oulu is already paving the way for research in 6G, preparing learners and leaders in technology for the next frontier of wireless connectivity.

If 5G is the enabler of the Internet of Things, then 6G will be the facilitator of the Internet of Everything, a phrase often used to describe the overarching architecture of a hyper-connected, cyber-physical world.

Through courses like its two-year Master of Science (Technology) programme in Wireless Communications Engineering, it has carved a name for itself as one of the most progressive international science universities in Finland, taking second place for engineering and technology and third for computer science in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020.

Join the 6G generation

To outline a tentative roadmap towards what it calls “ubiquitous wireless intelligence for 2030”, the university recently published the world’s first 6G white paper titled, “Key Drivers and Research Challenges for 6G Ubiquitous Wireless Intelligence”.

According to the paper’s authors from Oulu 6G Flagship, with fifth-generation (5G) research maturing towards a global standard, the research community must focus on the development of beyond-5G solutions and the 2030 era, i.e. 6G.

They said 6G isn’t just about moving data around but also about how it will become a framework of services, including communication services where all user-specific computation and intelligence may move to the edge cloud.

And as 6G evolves as an integral asset to the future of tech, co-author Professor Matti Latva-aho says, “5G research is maturing and continues to support global standardisation, and we must already engage in mapping what 6G can become at its boldest.”

Agreeing with Latva-aho, 6G Flagship Professor of Practice Kari Leppänen and fellow author also envisions the prospects of 6G technology.

Once in charge of Nokia’s 4G research programme, Leppänen now works in the field of autonomous wireless systems, researching into how wireless networks enable the technologies of the future.

Inspiring Oulu learners with his extensive experience and background knowledge, he considers the impact 6G will have on privacy, transparency and environmental impact, the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals and more.

“It’s not just about how many bits we can run per second, or how much it costs to build a square mile of coverage. People who develop communication systems are generally concerned about human repercussions and global development.

“Bringing these KPIs in at the start is a great way to build the future,” says Leppänen.

Indicating that the future will be increasingly digitised, hyper-connected and globally data-driven, the university’s professors ensure that students discover how 6G will change lives, create new roles and shaping mobile business ecosystems.

Enter the world of Wireless Communications Engineering

Offering a two-year Master of Science (Technology) programme in Wireless Communications Engineering, Oulu is already at the forefront of tech education.

An international Master’s programme that provides cutting-edge knowledge in wireless communications, both at physical and network layers, the capability to design and implement wireless solutions, and relevant skills such as the ability to design RF electronics for smart phones and base stations of mobile systems, learners rapidly transform into wireless communication masterminds.

International in nature, students socialise with students and staff from all corners of the globe, giving them a global perspective and allowing them to learn from their peers.

Built on 30 years of groundbreaking research and cooperation with global telecommunication and electronics companies like Nokia, students are connected to innovative industry players and a faculty full of groundbreaking researchers.

Courses in this programme cover the subjects on advanced wireless communications systems, communications networks, stochastic signal processing methods, radio channel modelling, radio and antenna engineering, information theory, coding methods, as well as several electronics design, digital signal and video processing, computer engineering and Finnish language courses, depending on students’ selection.

Diverse career roles that spring from this degree may include chief engineer, design engineer, development engineer, radio network designer and project manager.

Upon completing his Master of Science (Technology) in Wireless Communications Engineering degree at the University of Oulu, Thushan Sivalingam from Sri Lanka chose to continue his studies further in Oulu.

Thushan Sivalingam

Now, he is a doctoral student at the university’s Center for Wireless Communications (CWC).

Motivated by the 6G Flagship project and dedicated to developing something new for the next generation telecommunication era, Thushan enjoyed his time in Oulu and learned a great deal.

“Thinking from a technological research perspective and the tech industry, this is really the right place to be,” he says.

Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Wireless Communications Engineering, Muhammad Asad Ullah is another student that’s spearheading the race to 6G by researching its capabilities at Oulu.

“Information and communication technologies that have been developed in Oulu are used by over 2.6 billion people daily. My programme gives me the opportunity to learn about the design and implementation of wireless solutions for the Internet-of-Things and 5G networks,” says Muhammad.

Adding that he’s also had the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world during workshops, seminars, the annual Festival of Cultures and gaming activities, Oulu was the perfect study destination for him.

Effortlessly combing a thriving social scene with a future-facing study hub, it’s easy to see why so many students like Muhammad and Thushan want to be a part of the 6G generation at Oulu.

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