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The initial specifications enabled non-standalone 5G radio systems integrated with previous generation i.e LTE networks. This scope of Release-15 expands to cover standalone 5G with the development of a new radio system i.e 5G NR(New Radio). Rel-15 and Rel-16 constitute the basis of 5G technology. The ultra-lean design of NR enhances the network energy performance and reduces interference. The most important enhancement of NR in Rel-16 are in the areas of multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) and beamforming enhancements, dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), dual connectivity (DC), carrier aggregation (CA), and user equipment (UE) power savings.
Multiple-input Multiple-output (MIMO) and beamforming enhancements
Rel-16 introduces enhanced beam handling and channel state information (CSI) feedback, as well as support for transmission to a single UE from multiple transmission points (multi-TRP) and full-power transmission from multiple UE antennas in the uplink (UL). These enhancements increase throughput, reduce overhead, and provide additional robustness.
Dynamic Spectrum Sharing
DSS provides a very cost-effective and cost-efficient solution for enabling a smooth transition from 4G to 5G by allowing LTE(Long term Evolution) and NR (New Radio) to share the same carrier. The number of rate matching patterns that are available in NR has been increased to allow spectrum sharing when the CA (carrier aggregation) is used for the LTE technology.
Dual connectivity and Carrier Aggregation
3GPP Rel-16 reduces latency for setup and activation of Carrier Aggregation(CA)/Dual Connectivity(DC), which leads to improved system capacity and the ability to achieve higher data rates. Rel-16 introduces aperiodic triggering of CSI reference signal transmissions in case of the aggregation of carriers with different numerology.
User equipment power savings
To reduce UE power consumption which includes a wake-up signal along with enhancements to control signaling and scheduling mechanisms.
New verticals and deployment scenarios addressed in the Rel-16 are in the areas of:
- Integrated Access and Backhaul
- NR in unlicensed spectrum
- Features related to the industrial internet of things and URLLC (Ultra-reliable low latency communications)
- Intelligent transport system and vehicle to anything 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).