Edge Hill University launches research into 6G communications networks

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Edge Hill University is launching a new image-processing research project that is intended to improve the quality of the billions of videos sent around the world.

The project, led by Professor Ray Sheriff, aims to build on the success of fifth-generation (5G) networks and pave the way for ultra-5G or sixth-generation (6G) networks by investigating how state-of-the-art video compression algorithms, called Versatile Video Coding (VVC), can be enhanced and optimised.

By making it easier to compress and send high-quality videos, the results will have a wide range of applications with video sharing and live video chats anticipated to be a major feature of the 6G network.

This collaborative project includes engineers from both Edge Hill University and Sichuan University and is funded by a £12,000 Royal Society International Exchange Grant that supports UK-based researchers seeking international collaborations.

Professor Ray Sheriff, Associate Head of Engineering at Edge Hill University, said, "While 5G networks are gradually being rolled out and popularised throughout the world, attention in the engineering community is already turning to the future and 6G. The potential applications of this technology are limitless, and we’re all excited to see where it might lead.

“This exciting collaboration with Sichuan University enables our academics to work closely with its excellent engineers and scientists and puts us at the forefront of data-sharing technology.”

Professor Xiaohai He from the College of Electronics and Information Engineering at Sichuan University added, “VVC, as the latest video coding standard, has a broad application prospect in ultra-5G or 6G networks. We have improved and optimised some key techniques of VVC successfully, and these research outcomes are beneficial to further research work. 

“The successful cooperation with Edge Hill University builds a platform for our international exchange and joint research, and I believe we will make great achievements in the near future.” 

In its first year, the project has already yielded impactful joint research looking at how to compress increasingly popular 360-degree videos and improve high-performance rate control (HPRC) algorithms, a key feature of 6G video sharing.