The traditional role of a communication engineer is to address the technical problem of transporting bits reliably over a noisy channel. With the emergence of 5G, and the availability of a variety of competing and coexisting wireless systems, wireless connectivity is becoming a commodity. This article argues that communication engineers in the post-5G era should extend the scope of their activity in terms of design objectives and constraints beyond connectivity to encompass the semantics of the transferred bits within the given applications and use cases. To provide a platform for semantic-aware connectivity solutions, this paper introduces the concept of a semantic-effectiveness (SE) plane as a core part of future communication architectures. The SE plane augments the protocol stack by providing standardized interfaces that enable information filtering and direct control of functionalities at all layers of the protocol stack. The advantages of the SE plane are described in the perspective of recent developments in 5G, and illustrated through a number of example applications. The introduction of a SE plane may help replacing the current “next-G paradigm” in wireless evolution with a framework based on continuous improvements and extensions of the systems and standards.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes