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White Paper : Current Activity in 5G

5G Whilte Paper Image

Even as LTE and LTE Advanced (4th Generation cellular systems) are being deployed, work has started on their successor: 5G. This paper describes the needs that demand continued development of mobile and fixed-line communications systems, and explains some background on who is involved and what is currently happening in bringing 5G from theory to reality.

If we’re all to use our mobile devices to work and play anywhere, we want access to streaming services and all our own “stuff”, instantly, on devices as small as a smartphone or as large as the screen in an auditorium – properly formatted for the size of the screen, of course. We’re already socially networked, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. We want to be able to share versions of our stuff – photos, video, data, whatever – with friends, colleagues, and customers – wherever they may be.

This need for high-speed connectivity is a common denominator as we look ahead to fifth-generation or 5G networks. Achieving 24/7 access to, and sharing of, all our “stuff” requires that we continue on our current path: going far beyond simple voice and data services, and moving to a future state of “everything everywhere and always connected”.

The explosion of wireless data demand includes analysts predicting anything between 20 and 50 billion devices by the year 2020, ranging from M2M devices that transmit a few bytes per day to applications that stream multiple high definition video channels. Studies into future user demands give network operators the goal of creating an infrastructure that provides the impression of limitless capacity in any situation, including in venues such as sports stadia and concerts where there are dense user populations.

Data services are by their nature discontinuous. Moving to packet- rather than circuit-based service delivery allows more users to share the same resource even though the overhead associated with directing the data becomes more complex. As fixed-line network infrastructures have moved from copper to the virtually-limitless capacity of fiber, this packet delivery overhead has not been an issue.

For individual subscribers, three main delivery mechanisms for general use have emerged: Data Over Cable Service Infrastructure Specifications (DOCSIS) modems using existing cable TV infrastructure, Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) modems using the fixed-line telephone network, and third and fourth generation cellular networks with higher cell capacities (aka “mobile broadband”).

Successive advances in mobile network technology and system specifications have provided higher cell capacity and consequent improvements in single-user data rate. The increases in data rate have come courtesy of increased computing power, and increased modulation density made possible by better components, particularly in the area of digital receivers. Along with the latest mobile network specifications, there is a concurrent move to the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) – the simplified all-packet network architecture designed specifically to improve data throughput and latency, and to better match the air interface part of the mobile network to the architecture of the network’s backhaul and of fixed-line networks. In fixed-line networks, higher speeds for data-intensive services come via the extension of fiber optic cable into local distribution. Copper has become the “last yards”, rather than “last mile” medium, as fiber-to-the-curb (sometimes “fiber-to-the-cabinet”) and even fiber-to-the-home networks provide the high-speed broadband connectivity that’s required for high-definition video streaming and like services.

These improvements have produced a “chicken and egg” conundrum for mobile network operators: the more data capacity they make available, the more complex and data-hungry applications are developed for smartphones and tablets, and the more sophisticated the demands of end-users become. The latest of these demands is “seamless connectivity” – the ability to move an application amongst devices: for instance, tablet to smartphone to home entertainment center – without interruption of the content. To provide this capability requires access to, and control of, the content over multiple networks: WiFi hotspot, cellular and landline. (It’s not just a technical challenge – associated billing needs a plethora of roaming agreements as well.) 

What’s next

In all this, there is one certainty that must be considered: wireless spectrum is limited. In the long run, this must mean only those connections which MUST be mobile should be wireless. As much service delivery must be routed through fixed (fiber) networks to as close as possible to the point of consumption for frequency re-use. We’re already seeing the rise of television and radio services delivered over the internet, with more choice of material and timing than terrestrial or satellite broadcast can match. And in mobile networks, today’s WiFi offload becomes the starting point for the norm of tomorrow, freeing up cellular system capacity to give mobile users the best possible service.

In the mobile world, capacity gains come essentially from three variables: more spectrum, better efficiency and better frequency re-use through progressively smaller cell size. The fourth generation networks currently being built use more frequency bands than previous generations and can use broader channel bandwidths. The work on EPC does recognize, and seek to limit, the packet delivery overhead in wireless networks, since signalling absorbs (finite) network capacity. However, with mobile data consumption currently forecast to almost double year-on-year for the next five years, the network operators maintain they will struggle to meet long-term demand without even more spectrum. Freeing up frequency bands currently used for other systems will become a major priority.

The vision for the year 2020 that’s presented in the studies for fifth generation mobile networks “5G” is one of “everything everywhere and always connected”. It assumes devices can operate on frequencies from a few hundred megahertz to (in some cases) eighty gigahertz. Indoor cell sizes may be as small as a single room. It employs pico- and femto-cells to maximize frequency reuse at RF. ITU’s definition of 4G has an expectation of 1 Gbps single-user data rate. The goal for 5G is not necessarily to increase this, but to have a high-capacity network capable of delivering this rate to a much bigger user community; in other words to provider higher aggregate capacity for more simultaneous users. None of the studies have specific details of the core network that joins everything together, but they assume the seamless connectivity mentioned earlier will be a given.

The majority of investigations into next-generation cellular technology have focused satisfying this demand by adding a dense network of small cells in new spectrum at millimeter-wave frequencies, where multi-gigahertz modulation bandwidths are possible. Since such a combined network would behave in a vastly different way from the “traditional” 1 to 3 GHz RF frequencies and 10 to 20 MHz bandwidths of today’s cellular systems, a number of universities and R&D departments of network equipment manufacturers have been investigating possible network topologies and corresponding signal transmission properties. Various studies have looked at frequencies from 28 GHz to the lower end of E band (which covers 60 to 90 GHz). They are also investigating the effects of multiple spatial streams (MIMO) and beamforming (directing resources towards a particular device), both of which require arrays of transmit and receive antennas. In addition, a number or government and quasi-government organizations around the world have taken an interest, and are intent on moving forward with a global approach to next-generation network infrastructure.

The latest 5G studies postulate the key network attributes that will be required: an integrated wireline/wireless network, where the wireless part includes a dense network of small cells with capacity enhanced through high-order (“massive”) MIMO, cell data rates of the order of 10 GB/s and round-trip latency of 1 ms. Most studies now assume multiple air interfaces, which will include operation at microwave or millimeter frequencies. With these attributes, the combined network will support everything from simple M2M devices to immersive virtual reality streaming, and will support the massive data collection and distribution needs of the “Internet of Things”. With the massive infrastructure costs involved, it’s difficult to see individual operators affording the investment separately; shared, jointly-managed resources have been predicted as being much more likely.

Some studies also focus on the advances in battery technology needed to support new mobile devices, ranging from simple sensors with a battery life of years, to multi-day time between charges for always-connected smartphones and tablets.

The results of all these investigations will feed into the standards-setting process for 5G, which will formally start around 2015/16. The official process of 5G standardization should be launched at ITU-R WRC-15. The International Telecommunication Union holds an international conference every three to four years, known as the World Radiocommunication Conference, to sort out international radio frequency issues, including standards for mobile networks. The next WRC is scheduled to be held in Geneva in 2015. The 5G standard is expected to be one of the topics of discussion for international delegates. 

The players in 5G

Wireless@MIT

Hari Balakrishnan and Dina Katabi co-directors

Also known more formally as the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing, this new organization pulls together more than a dozen MIT professors and their research groups to work on next-generation wireless networks and mobile computing.

The work done at the center is designed to make an impact on technology users: Wireless@MIT boasts a "strong industrial partnership" with Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, Telefonica, Amazon, STMicroelectronics, and MediaTek -- and says it aims to influence standards and products.

Research at Wireless@MIT is currently focused on four areas: spectrum and connectivity, mobile applications, security and privacy, and low-power systems.

Their work has been recognized with two awards to Professor Katabi: she was named one of the 2013 MacArthur Fellows, and has also won the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award for her contributions to the theory and practice of network congestion control and bandwidth allocation.

European Union

Under “A Digital Agenda for Europe” the EU has already launched eight projects to begin exploring the technological options available leading to the future generation of "wired" (optical) and "wireless" communications, adding up to over €50m for research on 5G technologies deployable by 2020. Overall EU investments from 2007 to 2013 amounted to more than €600m in research on future networks, half of which was allocated to wireless technologies contributing to development of 4G and beyond.

Their expectation is that next-generation communication systems will be the first instance of a truly converged network where "wired" and "wireless" communications will use the same infrastructure. This future ubiquitous, ultra-high bandwidth communication infrastructure will drive the future networked society.

EU funding for this initiative is coordinated under the auspices of the Seventh Framework Programme for research and development (FP7).

5GPPP

The 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership has been initiated by the EU Commission and industry manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and researchers. 5G PPP’s objective is to deliver solutions, architectures, technologies and standards for the ubiquitous next generation communication infrastructures of the coming decade. It is aimed at securing Europe’s leadership in the particular areas where Europe is strong or where there is potential for creating new markets such as smart cities, e-health, intelligent transport, education, entertainment & media. It has secured a cooperative agreement at Government level with the 5G Forum.

METIS – Mobile and Wireless Communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty (2020) Information Society  

METIS is an EU-funded, Ericsson-led, consortium of 29 organizations with a €27m budget and more coming from the European Commission is aimed at replicating Europe’s worldwide success with GSM and subsequent technologies. It will "develop a system concept that delivers the necessary efficiency, versatility and scalability... investigate key technology components supporting the system, and...evaluate and demonstrate key functionalities." The majority of participants are universities and mobile network operators, with industry partners including Alcatel-Lucent, BMW, Huawei, Nokia, and Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN).

Based on today’s and projected user demands and on the already known challenges such as very high data rates, dense crowds of users, low latency, low energy, low cost and a massive number of devices, METIS has outlined the following 5G scenarios that reflect the future challenges and will serve as guidance for further work: 

  • “Amazingly fast”, focusing on high data-rates for future mobile broadband users
  • “Great service in a crowd”, focusing on mobile broadband access even in very crowded areas and conditions
  • “Ubiquitous things communicating”, focusing on efficient handling of a very large number of devices with widely varying requirements
  • “Best experience follows you”, focusing on delivering high levels of user experience to mobile end users
  • “Super real-time and reliable connections”, focusing on new applications and use cases with stringent requirements on latency and reliability

METIS has derived a challenging set of requirements from these scenarios, which can be summarized as:

  • Ten to one hundred times higher typical user data rate where in a dense urban environment the typical user data rate will range from one to ten Gbps
  • One thousand times more mobile data per area (per user) where the volume per area (per user) will be over 100 Gbps/km2 (resp. 500 Gbyte/user/month)
  • Ten to one hundred times more connected devices
  • Ten times longer battery life for low-power massive machine communications where machines such as sensors or pagers will have a battery life of a decade
  • Support of ultra-fast application response times (e.g. for tactile internet) where the end-to-end latency will be less than 5 ms with high reliability
  • A key challenge will be to fulfill the previous requirements under a similar cost and energy dissipation per area as in today’s cellular systems

METIS is co-funded by the European Commission as an Integrated Project under the Seventh Framework Programme for research and development (FP7). METIS is now part of the worldwide 5G forums that include participants from South Korea and Japan.

University of Bristol Andrew Nix , Professor of Wireless Communication Systems and Mark Beach , Professor of Radio Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering  are working on channel measurement and modelling to characterize urban mmWave channels to use to develop efficient 5G networks by 2020.

Technical University of Dresden, Germany 

Gerhard P. Fettweis, Vodafone Chair Professor
MWJ Article Link – A 5G Wireless Communications Vision 

TU-Dresden previously pioneered 3G systems research in association with the Vodafone Chair Mobile Communications Systems, which is dedicated to cutting-edge research in wireless communication technology. Their vision for a next-generation system is user-centric, with required system attributes based on perceived future usage models: “The Internet of Things”. Their vision for 5G is to provide a new unified air interface to cover cellular, short-range and sensor technology that can deliver 10 Gbps, 1 ms latency and simple sensors with 10-year battery life.

Centre for Communication Systems Research (CCSR), University of Surrey, UK

Professor Rahim Tafazolli 

The project began in 2013, and is expected to cost around £35 million ($56 million USD), where about £11.6 million will come from the UK government and the other £24 million will be provided by a group of tech companies, including Samsung, Huawei, Fujitsu Laboratories Europe, Telefonica Europe, and AIRCOM International. An expansion of the program is also being sought with further proposals going to the UK government.

We are looking at the processors, protocols, algorithms, and techniques...we won't try to optimize the hardware implementation -- that is something the industry will do. We have developed the know-how” – quote from Professor Tafazolli.

Their focus is on providing “sufficient rate to give users the perception of infinite capacity”, through examining:

  • Latency
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Scalability
  • Reliability and Robustness
  • Distribute control between Network and Devices
  • Uniformity between licensed and license-exempt bands (including Broadcast)
  • Dense cell technologies
  • Exploring and understanding new frequency bands

It’s claimed that the new network will be spectrum-efficient and energy-efficient. It will also be faster, with cell speeds bumped up to a capacity of 10Gbps.

CCSR has also a long standing track record in the UK where it was selected by industry as a core member of the UK Virtual Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Personal Communications. CCSR is also deeply involved in many 7th Framework IST projects.

CCSR’s work and research activities, both past and present include the following areas:

  • Air Interface
  • Cognitive Networks and Future Internet
  • Cognitive Radio
  • Radio Access System Optimization
  • Security
  • Knowledge and Data Engineering

With UK and German Government backing, and in keeping with EU policies and goals, CCSR and TU-Dresden are now cooperating to channel their work.

United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

On Oct. 17, 2014, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry to proceed with examining the potential for the provision of mobile radio services in bands above 24 GHz. 

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly)

Professor Theodore (Ted) Rappaport

Professor Rappaport directs two projects based at NYU-Poly: NYU Wireless and WICAT.

NYU-WIRELESS

Researchers at NYU-Poly have assembled a consortium of government and business support to advance beyond today’s fourth generation (4G) wireless technologies toward 5G cellular networks. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the team an Accelerating Innovation Research (AIR) grant of $800,000, matched by $1.2 million from corporate backers and the Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR), which supports the project through its longstanding partnership with NYU-Poly’s Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT). They are also seeking multi-year funding commitments from their industry sponsors to support around 100 students involved in the research.

The 5G project will develop smarter and far less expensive wireless infrastructure by means of smaller, lighter antennas with directional beamforming to bounce signals off buildings using the uncrowded millimeter-wave spectrum. It will also help develop smaller, smarter cells with devices that cooperate rather than compete for spectrum.

Earlier this year, NYU hosted “The Brooklyn Summit”, inviting interested parties from around the world to share their 5G research and vision. Conference proceedings are available to subscribers.

WIRELESS INTERNET CENTER for ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY (WICAT)

WICAT is a multi-university R&D center sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under its program of Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC). Polytechnic Institute of NYU is the lead institution in WICAT, with Prof. Rappaport serving as director. WICAT center sites are also located at Virginia Tech, University of Texas at Austin, Auburn University, and the University of Virginia.

Thrust areas of the WICAT research at Polytechnic Institute of NYU are to increase network capacity and battery life of terminals, enhance network security, and structure applications to run efficiently over wireless networks. The research at Virginia Tech focuses on software-defined radios and military applications; Auburn University focuses on circuit design and automation; the University of Texas deals with ad hoc and sensor networks; and the University of Virginia deals with video recognition, large data problems, and rapidly reconfigurable wireless networks.

5G Forum

Based in Korea, and including members from Government, Industry, Operators and Universities, the 5G Forum, has a goal of leading international cooperation in researching possible technologies for next-generation radio networks and developing the technical components of 5G. Their broader vision includes both developing and promoting the benefits of the services that will be possible in a truly connected society – building a common welfare structure and creating a knowledge-sharing delivery infrastructure.

MiWEBA - Millimeter-Wave Evolution for Backhaul and Access -A publicly supported research project bringing Millimeter-Wave Technology into the mobile radio world:

Working on:

  • Access links (overlay of millimeter-wave small cell base stations)
  • Fronthaul links (connecting base stations to their controlling entity)
  • Backhaul links (connecting base stations to the core network)

Coordinators are Dr.-Ing. Thomas Haustein of Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute , Dr. Kei Sakaguchi of Toyko Institute of Technology  and Project manager: Richard Weiler 

China

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has established a working group called “IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group” for 5G research in February 2012. China is seeking participation with Taiwan in the program. China and the 5G Forum signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between their two organizations on cooperation in research and on development of 5G standardization proposals

China is home to the world's largest 4G network, with development of the most convergent FDD (frequency division duplex) and TDD (time division duplex) networks.

Tokyo Institute of Technology and DOCOMO 

Tokyo Institute of Technology in a joint outdoor experiment conducted recently with NTT DOCOMO, INC. succeeded in a packet transmission uplink rate of approximately 10 Gbps. In the experiment, a 400 MHz bandwidth in the 11 GHz spectrum was transmitted from a mobile station moving at approximately 9 km/h. Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology was used to spatially multiplex different data streams using eight transmitting antennas and 16 receiving antennas on the same frequency.

Qualcomm’s 1000x Data Challenge Presentation

The presentation “1000x Data Challenge” from Qualcomm discusses a three-fold evolution of today’s 4G standards. It proposes study items for 3GPP specification releases 12 and beyond relating to interworking, heterogeneous networks, self-organizing networks and steadily decreasing cell sizes. See www.qualcomm.com/1000x  for presentation material and discussions.

Center for Wireless Communications (CWC) at the University of California, San Diego

The Center pursues a cross-disciplinary program of research and education targeted at the emerging needs of the cellular and wireless communications industry. Topics of interest include low-power circuitry (radio frequency, analog and digital), smart antennas, communication theory (including speech, video, and image compression), communication networks (including management and control policies, and speech-sharing strategies), and multimedia applications. Prof. Alon Orlitsky, Director and Prof. Dan Sievenpiper, Associate Director

Samsung

Samsung Electronics recently announced it had made a breakthrough in wireless network technology, calling it "5G". In a statement, Samsung said that its researchers "successfully developed the world's first adaptive array transceiver technology operating in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for cellular communications."

The transmissions used in the test were made at the ultra-high 28GHz frequency, which offers far more bandwidth than the frequencies used for 4G networks. High frequencies can carry more data, but have the disadvantage that they generally can be blocked by buildings and lose intensity over longer distances. 

Samsung said its adaptive array transceiver technology, using 64 antenna elements, can be a viable solution for overcoming the weaker propagation characteristics of millimeter-wave bands, which are much higher in frequency than conventional wireless spectrum. The company said it "plans to accelerate the research and development of 5G mobile communications technologies, including adaptive array transceiver at the millimeter-wave bands”.

Samsung’s UK Head of Standards and Industrial Affairs, Howard Benn, based in their R&D facility in the UK, hosted a lecture on, and demonstration of, Samsung’s millimeter wave technology for 5G at Bristol University in September, Benn is also a member of the steering board for the Surrey University 5G Innovation Centre and a board member of ETSI. 

Intel in collaboration with Universities

Intel Corp. has formed research collaboration with leading universities to explore technologies for next-gen wireless networks. Initially, Intel will invest at least $3 million to support wireless research at more than 10 universities including Stanford, ITT Delhi and Pompeu Fabra. The work focuses on topics including how to improve quality of service via context awareness, wireless device power efficiency and enabling new radio spectrum.

Huawei

Huawei has signed a five-year deal with Ottawa that would see them invest a total of $80 million and employ over 150 new jobs into a new R&D center working on 5G. It is one of 10 “global centers of technical and financial excellence” that Huawei has committed to setting up worldwide.

Huawei's rotating CEO Eric Xu recently hosted the second day of the Global Mobile Broadband (MBB) Forum 2014, supported by the GSMA and the China Academy of Telecommunication Research of MIIT, in Shanghai, China. He called for deep discussions on the definition and technologies for 5G.

He stated that 5G is expected to provide a better mobile broadband experience by meeting the requirements of high spectrum rates, high peak rates, a large number of connections and 1 millisecond latency, enabling operator networks to support more connections and thereby promoting the mobile broadband industry.

He also mentioned that Huawei will continue investing in 5G, working closely with the industry ecosystem and enhancing the Mobile Network of Things (MoT), supported by public networks to discover 5G requirements and promote the development of the 5G industry.

Huawei has recently announced a 5G Joint Innovation Program with SingTel of Singapore and a 5G test-bed program with the University of Surrey  in Guildford, England. It's targeting 2018 for trials of 5G at the FIFA World Cup  with Russian operator MegaFon, two years before many expect 5G to be commercially available.

Broadcom

Broadcom has begun selling a range of 802.11ac-compatible Wireless LAN chips it markets as “5G WiFi”. Devices using them will be capable of data rates in excess of 1 Gbps, over the same distances as current 802.11a/b/g/n products. They will be incorporated in many new wireless routers, PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) Alliance

The NGMN Alliance is a collaborative effort comprised of operators, vendors, research groups and universities. Earlier this year, the NGMN Board – CTOs from 20 leading international operators – made the decision to focus the future NGMN activities on defining the end-to-end requirements for 5G in an industry White Paper. A global team. working on the definition of these consolidated operator requirements intended to support the standardization and subsequent availability of 5G from 2020 and beyond, presented its first findings at an international workshop in September.

IWPC

IWPC’s goal is to facilitate global knowledge-capital collaboration, delivering unfiltered real time insight into vital technology, market and ecosystem evolution.
Given the speed of development of new wireless products and technologies (often measured in months), there is little time for waiting for important information and requirements to travel up and down the supply chain.
The IWPC decided to address this by creating an environment where first-hand knowledge experts can gather to exchange requirements, views, solutions, stimulate discussion, and learn from each other across ALL layers of the supply chain.

IWPC White Paper on 5G: Evolutionary and disruptive visions towards ultra-high capacity networks (registration required) 

The automotive industry

Vehicle manufacturers in cooperation with mobile network operators have begun offering customers the “connected car” – which today means a mobile WiFi hotspot along with the possibility of additional applications including telematics, roadside assistance, young driver insurance validation and fleet management. A number of car manufacturers (including Mercedes, Ford, Volvo, the Volkswagen Group and Toyota), high-tech companies (Google, Intel and others) and network operators, are funding research into future automotive technology. Safety, efficiency and environmental concerns focus on a future connected car, providing driver aids including active, real-time junction-by-junction traffic information. Their ultimate goal is a driverless car, able to complete journeys with only destination input. To make this concept a reality brings mission-critical network reliability requirements for vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to road and vehicle to infrastructure data exchange, and places new paradigms on the design of next-generation networks.

Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies measurement and application experts are working with industry experts to anticipate the growing complexities of 5G so the industry can accelerate these new technologies.

Keysight provides insight into the current 5G research with a full range of simulation and measurement tools. Vector Network Analyzers allow in-depth design and test of millimeter wave components such as the antenna array elements needed for beam-steering and MIMO. SystemVue is a system-level design automation environment that accelerates design and verification of communications systems at the physical layer, where advanced digital signal processing meets RF. Keysight has just introduced the first 5G exploration library for SystemVue. It combines with Keysight measurement products to create an expandable environment for modeling, implementing, and validating next-generation communications systems. It enables a virtual system to be verified from the first day of a project, beginning with simulation models, and gradually incorporating more measurements as the design is translated into working hardware. It can be used in conjunction with Keysight signal sources to create complex arbitrary waveforms to test theoretical channel models in the real world. SystemVue can also be used in conjunction with Keysight 89600 VSA software, a comprehensive set of tools that works with a range of signal analysis products for demodulation and vector signal analysis. Together these measurement, simulation, and signal generation and analysis tools enable the exploration of virtually every facet of the components and signals that will become part of the advanced designs needed for next-generation communications systems.

Visit Keysight’s websites at keysight.com/find/5G to see the latest solutions that can be used for 5G.