5G NR Introduction
5G is the fifth generation of wireless communications and NR is the new radio interface which is designed for the fifth generation. It is a new radio interface that has new radio access technologies for faster data transmission and meets all the requirements of the new generation. 5G NR (New Radio) is a unified and more capable air interface with several diversified services, different spectrum, and deployment methods. This new Air interface is designed in such a way that it would be able to meet all the requirements of 5G technology which demands 10 times decrease in end-to-end latency, ten times increase in experienced throughput, three times increase in spectral efficiency, hundred times increase in traffic capacity and network efficiency and 10-time increase in connection density of the networks. The Air interface of 4G technology is not able to comply with the above-stated requirements, so for 5G there is a requirement to design a new air interface and it is named New Radio (NR). NR is unified in nature and it is more capable than the previous generations. Diversified services supported by NR include eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband), URLLC (ultra-reliable low latency communications ), and mMTC (massive Machine type communications).
5G NR Frequency bands
New Radio supports a spectrum that has a varied frequency range and the spectrum is categorized as a low band (below 1 GHz), mid-band ( 1-6 GHz), and high band (Above 24 GHz). The high band is also named as mmWave band. It uses two frequency ranges FR1 and FR2. FR1 includes 6 GHz frequency bands and below. FR2 supports bands in the mm-wave range which includes 24.25 - 52.6 GHz. The mmWave bands are helpful to enable 5G UWB (Ultra-wideband).5G NR supports five types of sub-carrier spacing of 15 kHz, 30 kHz, 60 kHz, 120 kHz, and 240 kHz in the FR 1 (Frequency range 1) and FR2 (Frequency range 2).
5G NR supported technologies
Different technologies that make it possible to have NR are Scalable OFDM numerology, which has a flexible slot-based framework, advanced channel coding techniques, multi-edge LDPC and CRC aided polar, massive MIMO Reciprocity based MU-MIMO ( Multi-user multiple inputs multiple outputs), beamforming and beam tracking techniques. The scalable OFDM-based 5G NR air interface has scalable numerology, frequency localization, lower power consumption, and asynchronous multiple access.
- Optimized OFDM: The specific version of OFDM used in the 5G NR downlink is cyclic prefix OFDM and DFT-S OFDM. CP-OFDM is used as the access technology for 5G NR, it is similar to the access technology used in LTE however CP-OFDM features variable subcarrier spacing termed numerology. It can utilize 15 kHz, 30 kHz, 60 kHz, and 120 kHz, etc subcarrier separation. When the SC spacing is changed, the cyclic prefix duration per symbol also changes. DFT-S OFDM is a discrete Fourier transform spread OFDM is a single carrier-like transmission scheme that is combined with OFDM. It is commonly known as SC-OFDM ( Single carrier OFDM). The transmission scheme of SC-FDMA is very similar to OFDMA. For each user, the sequence of bits transmitted is mapped to a complex constellation of symbols. Then different transmitters are assigned different Fourier coefficients.
- 5G MU-MIMO: MU-MIMO is a multi-user multiple inputs multiple outputs. In MU-MIMO, the base station sends multiple data streams, one per UE, using the same time-frequency resources. Hence, it increases the total cell throughput i.e the cell capacity. It enables the UEs to operate without the need for knowledge of the channel or additional processing to obtain the data streams. MU-MIMO in the downlink significantly improves the capacity of the gNB antennas. It can scale with the minimum of the gNB antennas which can achieve higher capacity gains.
- Spectrum sharing techniques: 5G spectrum sharing is a critical benefit for 5G technology. It is valuable for a wide range of deployments like licensed spectrum aggregation, enhanced local broadband, and 5G private networks.
- Small cells: A Small cell network is a group of low-power transmitting base stations that use mmWaves to increase the overall network capacity. The 5G small cell network operates by coordinating a group of different small cells to share the load and increase the capacity of the system.
5G NR deployment
Deployment modes of 5G NR are of two types: NSA (Non-Standalone) and SA (standalone). Initial 5G NR launches depend on the existing 4G infrastructure and this mode is called NSA where the new network has to depend upon the existing infrastructure. SA is a fully deployed mode with no dependence on the previous generation, it has its core network as 5GC. In the Non-Standalone mode of 5G NR that refers to an option of 5G NR deployment that depends on the control plane of an existing LTE network for all the control plane functions, while the 5G NR is completely focused on the data plane. The deployment’s standalone mode refers to using 5G cells for both the signaling and the data transfer. It includes the new 5G core instead of relying on the LTE infrastructure. DSS (Dynamic spectrum sharing) is a technique where carriers may dynamically share between 4G LTE and 5G NR. The terminals need to be compatible with DSS.
5G NR benefits
5G NR has the benefit that it will enable the network to support adaptive bandwidth which will include more capacity for wireless users and also improved links among users. By utilizing different techniques, 5G NR will improve the performance, flexibility, scalability, and efficiency of mobile wireless networks. 5G NR massive MIMO technology increases coverage and capacity which is faster and provides more uniform data rates throughout the cell. Spectrum aggregation is very essential for 5G NR deployments because CA and dual connectivity enable deployments with tightly and loosely coordinated cells. There should be dual connectivity across LTE and NR, Carrier aggregation should be required across spectrum bands, CA should be across FDD and TDD bands, and also CA should be across different spectrum types e.g licensed and unlicensed bands. 5G NR CA also supports mid-band deployments required to have better utilization of the spectrum and have better spectrum efficiency. 5G NR could help in the 5G expansion and all applications would be better, the applications are Industrial IoT with uRLLC, 5G NR C-V2X, smart transportation, future verticals, services and devices, new device classes with boundless XR, 5G massive IoT, 5G broadcast, etc.
5G NR Applications
- Enhanced Mobile Broadband for intensive applications like HD streaming video, gaming, and other streaming uses.
- Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications for critical applications like command and control functions in autonomous vehicles and remote control in healthcare and manufacturing services.
- Massive machine-type communications supporting massive IoTA reference, connecting millions of new, low-powered devices at a huge scale.
The 5G New radio, 5G NR will be able to significantly improve the performance, flexibility, scalability, and efficiency of the mobile networks. 5G will be able to ensure the optimal use of the available spectrum, whether it is licensed, shared, and unlicensed, and achieve this across a wide variety of spectrum bands.
5G NR timeline
A new era started in the history of Wireless Cellular communications in 2019, with the launch of 5G NR. This marked the beginning of the much awaited super fast 5G networks which were launched in the first half of the year.
In 2020, mobile operators raced to launch and expand 5G in their respective countries. Mobile operators have leaped to launch5G enabled handsets in order to get dominance in the market.
2021 will see continued global expansion of 5G networks and 5G devices. With 5g still evolving, the year 2021 will be marked for advancing 5G with new system capabilities as well as expansion into new vertical industries .
There will be advances in sub-7 GHz massive MIMO and mobile mmWave, sidelink technology applied in 5G V2X and Industrial IoT, multi-user immersive XR applications, and so on.