The signal processing and communication communities have witnessed the rise of many exciting communication technologies in recent years. Notable examples include alternative waveforms, massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) signaling, nonorthogonal multiple access (NOMA), joint communications and sensing, sparse vector coding, index modulation, and so on. It is inevitable that 6G wireless networks will require a rethinking of wireless communication systems and technologies, particularly at the physical layer (PHY), considering the fact that the cellular industry reached another important milestone with the development of 5G wireless networks with diverse applications . Within this perspective, this article aims to shed light on the rising concept of reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS)-empowered communications toward 6G wireless networks , . Software-defined RISs can manipulate their impinging signals in an effective way to boost certain key performance indicators. We discuss the recent developments in the field and put forward promising candidates for future research and development. Specifically, we put our emphasis on active, transmitter-type, transmissive-reflective, and stand-alone RISs, by discussing their advantages and disadvantages compared to reflective RIS designs. Finally, we also envision an ultimate RIS architecture, which is able to adjust its operation modes dynamically, and introduce the new concept of PHY slicing over RISs toward 6G wireless networks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Signal Processing
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Applied Mathematics