6Gwireless: Wireless Networks Empowered by Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces

Marco Di Renzo
CNRS, France


Future wireless networks are expected be more than allowing people, mobile devices, and objects to communicate with each other. Future wireless networks will constitute a distributed intelligent communications, sensing, and computing platform. Small cells, Massive MIMO, millimeter-wave communications are three fundamental approaches to meet the requirements of 5G wireless networks. Their advantages are undeniable. The question is, however, whether these technologies will be sufficient to meet the requirements of future wireless networks that integrate communications, sensing, and computing in a single platform. Wireless networks, in addition, are rapidly evolving towards a softwaredefined design paradigm, where every part of the network can be configured and controlled via software. In this optimization process, however, the wireless environment remains an uncontrollable factor: It remains unaware of the communication process undergoing within it. Apart from being uncontrollable, the environment has a negative effect on the communication efficiency: signal attenuation limits the network connectivity, multi-path propagation results in fading phenomena, reflections and refractions from objects are a source of uncontrollable interference. In the recent period, a brand-new technology, which is referred to as Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RISs), was brought to the attention of the wireless community. The wireless future that can be envisioned by using this technology consists of coating every environmental object with man-made reconfigurable surfaces of electromagnetic material (software-defined reconfigurable metasurfaces) that are electronically controlled with integrated electronics and wireless communications. In contrast to any other technology currently being used in wireless networks, the distinctive characteristic of the RISs consists of making the environment fully controllable by the telecommunication operators, by allowing them to shape and control the electromagnetic response of the objects distributed throughout the network. The RISs are a promising but little understood technology that has the potential of fundamentally changing how wireless networks are designed today. In this talk, we will discuss the potential of RISs in 6G wireless networks.

Marco Di Renzo

Marco Di Renzo was born in L'Aquila, Italy, in 1978. He received the Laurea (cum laude) and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of L'Aquila, Italy, in 2003 and 2007, respectively, and the Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (Doctor of Science) degree from University Paris-Sud, France, in 2013. Since 2010, he has been with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), where he is a CNRS Research Director (CNRS Professor, effective Oct. 2019) in the Laboratory of Signals and Systems (L2S) of Paris-Saclay University - CNRS, CentraleSupélec, Univ Paris Sud, Paris, France. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Communications Letters, and as an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Communications, and IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications. He is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society and IEEE Communications Society, and a Senior Member of the IEEE. He is a recipient of several awards, including the 2013 IEEE-COMSOC Best Young Researcher Award for Europe, Middle East and Africa, the 2013 NoE-NEWCOM# Best Paper Award, the 2014-2015 Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, the 2015 IEEE Jack Neubauer Memorial Best System Paper Award, the 2015-2018 CNRS Award for Excellence in Research and Ph.D. Supervision, the 2016 MSCA Global Fellowship (declined), the 2017 SEE-IEEE Alain Glavieux Award, the 2018 IEEE-COMSOC Young Professional in Academia Award, and 8 Best Paper Awards at IEEE conferences (2012 and 2014 IEEE CAMAD, 2013 IEEE VTC-Fall, 2014 IEEE ATC, 2015 IEEE ComManTel, 2017 IEEE SigTelCom, EAI 2018 INISCOM, IEEE ICC 2019).