Reconfigurable, Intelligent, and Sustainable Wireless Environments for 6G Smart Connectivity
Journal article, 2021

Various visions of the forthcoming sixth generation (6G) networks point toward flexible connect-and-compute technologies to support future innovative services and the corresponding use cases. 6G should be able to accommodate ever evolving and heterogeneous applications, future regulations, and diverse user-, service-, and location-based requirements. A key element toward building smart and energy sustainable wireless systems beyond 5G is the reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS), which offers programmable control and shaping of the wireless propagation environment. Capitalizing on this technology potential, in this article we introduce two new concepts: i) wireless environment as a service, which leverages a novel RIS-empowered networking paradigm to trade off diverse, and usually conflicting, connectivity objectives; and ii) performance-boosted areas enabled by RIS-based connectivity, representing competing service provisioning areas that are highly spatially and temporally focused. We discuss the key technological enablers and research challenges with the proposed networking paradigm, and highlight the potential profound role of RISs in the recent Open Radio Access Network architecture.


Emilio Calvanese Strinati

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

George C. Alexandropoulos

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Henk Wymeersch

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Communication, Antennas and Optical Networks

Benoit Denis

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Vincenzo Sciancalepore

NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH

Raffaele D'Errico

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Antonio Clemente

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Dinh-Thuy Phan-Huy


Elisabeth De Carvalho

Aalborg University

Petar Popovski

Aalborg University

IEEE Communications Magazine

0163-6804 (ISSN) 15581896 (eISSN)

Vol. 59 10 99-105

Subject Categories


Communication Systems

Information Science



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5/4/2022 3