Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces: Potentials, Applications, and Challenges for 6G Wireless Networks

Sarah Basharat, Syed Ali Hassan, Haris Pervaiz, Aamir Mahmood, Zhiguo Ding, Mikael Gidlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs), with the potential to realize smart radio environments, have emerged as an energy-efficient and a cost-effective technology to support the services and demands foreseen for coming decades. By leveraging a large number of low-cost passive reflecting elements, RISs introduce a phase-shift in the impinging signal to create a favorable propagation channel between the transmitter and the receiver. In this article, we provide a tutorial overview of RISs for sixth-generation (6G) wireless networks. Specifically, we present a comprehensive discussion on performance gains that can be achieved by integrating RISs with emerging communication technologies. We address the practical implementation of RIS-assisted networks and expose the crucial challenges, including the RIS reconfiguration, deployment and size optimization, and channel estimation. Furthermore, we explore the integration of RIS and non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) under imperfect channel state information (CSI). Our numerical results illustrate the importance of better channel estimation in RIS-assisted networks and indicate the various factors that impact the size of RIS. Finally, we present promising future research directions for realizing RIS-assisted networks in 6G communication.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)184-191
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Wireless Communications
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


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