The last few years have witnessed a tremendous growth of the demand for wireless services and a significant increase of the number of mobile subscribers. A recent data traffic forecast from Cisco reported that the global mobile data traffic reached 1.2 zettabytes per year in 2016, and the global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next 5 years. Based on these predictions, a 127-fold increase of the IP traffic is expected from 2005 to 2021. It is also anticipated that the mobile data traffic will reach 3.3 zettabytes per year by 2021, and that the number of mobile-connected devices will reach 3.5 per capita.
With such demands for higher data rates and for better quality of service (QoS), fifth generation (5G) standardization initiatives, whose initial phase was specified in June 2018 under the umbrella of Long Term Evolution (LTE) Release 15, have been under vibrant investigation. In particular, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has identified three usage scenarios (service categories) for 5G wireless networks: (i) enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), (ii) ultra-reliable and low latency communications (uRLLC), and (iii) massive machine type communications (mMTC). The vast variety of applications for beyond 5G wireless networks has motivated the necessity of novel and more flexible physical layer (PHY) technologies, which are capable of providing higher spectral and energy efficiencies, as well as reduced transceiver implementations.
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Many of us marveled in awe in March 2018 at the sight of the Ghana teacher who, using colored chalk, drew on his blackboard a snapshot of how an open window of the Microsoft Word software would look like on the screen of a computer ; see Figure 1. His school did not have any computers and his young students needed to prepare to pass the Ghanaian national exam, which requires familiarity with computing and information technology. I was not only moved by the action of this amazingly dedicated and patient teacher drawing his creation on the board, but also by the sight of his attentive students sitting on their desks and copying the information from the blackboard onto their notebooks. Just pause for a while and consider how revealing these images are about human nature and its restless drive for knowledge.
While we take for granted our desk computers, software packages, laptops, and smartphones, without even giving a thought as to how precious these tools are, there are eager students, with great potential, in disadvantaged regions yearning to imagine what the screen of a computer would look like! It appears to them as if computers are characters from a fictional novel. That is a shameful gap; one that continues to exist today at the dawn of the 21st century.
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