IRS-Empowered 6G Networks: Deployment Strategies, Performance Optimization, and Future Research Directions

IRS-Empowered 6G Networks: Deployment Strategies, Performance Optimization, and Future Research Directions

F. Naeem, G. Kaddoum, S. Khan, K. S. Khan and N. Adam, “IRS-Empowered 6G Networks: Deployment Strategies, Performance Optimization, and Future Research Directions,” in IEEE Access, vol. 10, pp. 118676-118696, 2022, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2022.3220682.

Abstract or Summary

The performance of the envisioned 6G network is fundamentally constrained by the uncontrollable and random wireless communication channel. Intelligent reflecting surfaces (IRSs) have emerged as one of the potential solutions to overcome this challenge by smartly controlling the incident signal to enhance the energy efficiency and spectrum efficiency of the 6G network. In addition, the future 6G network will incorporate several enabling technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), integrated terrestrial and non-terrestrial (TNT) networks, multi-access edge computing (MEC), non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA), and terahertz/millimeter wave (THz/mmWave) communication techniques. Therefore, this paper provides a contemporary and comprehensive overview of the envisioned IRS-empowered 6G networks from the perspective of its architecture, deployment strategy, integration of IRS technology with other 6G-enabling technologies, and physical layer security (PLS). Finally, we highlight design challenges and future research directions aimed at improving the 6G network performance.

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