Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RIS) Activity Report 2022

Chair: Arman Shojaeifard (InterDigital)

Reviewing and establishing global standardization for Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface technology.

RIS (Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface) describes a new type of system node that leverages smart radio surfaces – with thousands of small antennas or metamaterial elements – to dynamically shape and control radio signals in a goal-oriented manner.

RIS technology will effectively turn the wireless environment into a service, inspiring a host of new use cases. These include enhancing systems Key Performance Indicators such as coverage and capacity, as well as enabling new wireless applications such as localization and sensing. Thanks to its associated characteristics, RIS is also expected to serve as a key technology in future wireless systems including 5G-Adv and 6G.

RIS can be potentially deployed for both indoor and outdoor usage, including offices, airports, shopping centres, lamp posts and advertising billboards, and may take any shape or be integrated onto objects. The characteristics of RIS may also result in low energy consumption, making it a sustainable, environmentally friendly technology solution. RIS can be configured to operate at any part of the radio spectrum, including frequencies from below 6 GHz to THz, and may harness tools from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to enable systems operation and optimization.

ETSI’s Industry Specification Group on Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (ISG RIS) gives ETSI members the opportunity to coordinate their pre-standardization research efforts into RIS technology across various EU collaborative projects, together with global initiatives, paving the way for future standardization of the technology.

Since the launch of ISG RIS in September 2021, the group has been working on the identification and description of RIS related use cases and deployment scenarios. Also, system requirements and technology challenges have been identified in several areas including fixed and mobile wireless access, fronthaul and backhaul, sensing and positioning, energy and EMF exposure limits, security and privacy.

2022 saw further progress made on the group’s first three Work Items, all scheduled for publication as Group Reports (GRs):

RIS-001 identifies and defines relevant RIS use cases, with corresponding general Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and deployment scenarios where RIS technology will be applicable. It describes potential requirements for each identified use case, with the aim of promoting interoperability with existing and upcoming wireless technologies and networks.

RIS-002 describes the technological challenges in deploying RIS as a new network node. Analyzing potential impacts to network architecture, protocol architecture and a RIS control framework, it offers recommendations for requirements and potential impact to specifications supporting RIS as a new feature.

RIS-003 explores: (i) communication models that offer a trade-off between electromagnetic accuracy and simplicity for performance evaluation and optimization; (ii) channel models that include path-loss and multipath propagation effects, as well as the impact of interference; and (iii) KPIs and the methodology for evaluating the performance of RISs for application to wireless communications – including the coexistence between different network operators – and for comparing transmission techniques, communication protocols and network deployments.

Stable drafts of GRs from the existing work programme have been completed in 2022, and these deliverables will be published in first half of 2023.

See the full list of ISG RIS Work Items currently in development here.