5G NR (New Radio) is a new radio access technology (RAT) developed by 3GPP for the 5G (fifth generation) mobile network. It was designed to be the global standard for the air interface of 5G networks.
The 3GPP specification 38 series provides the technical details behind NR, the RAT beyond LTE.
The study on NR within 3GPP started in 2015, and the first specification release was made available by the end of 2017. While the 3GPP standardization process was ongoing, industry had already begun efforts to implement infrastructure compliant with the draft standard, with the expectation that the first large scale commercial launch of 5G NR would occur in 2019.
Frequency band for 5G NR are being separated into two different frequency ranges. First there is Frequency Range 1 (FR1) that includes sub-6 GHz frequency bands. The other is Frequency Range 2 (FR2) that includes frequency bands in the mmWave range.
In 2018, 3GPP published Release 15, which include what is described as "Phase 1" standardization for the 5G NR standard. 3GPP is expected to publish Release 16, which include the "Phase 2" of 5G NR, by the end of year 2019.
Initial 5G NR launches will depend on existing LTE 4G infrastructure in non-standalone (NSA) mode, before maturation of the standalone (SA) mode with the 5G core network.
Non-Standalone (NSA) mode of 5G NR refers to an option of 5G NR deployment that depends on the control plane of existing LTE network for control functions, while 5G NR exclusively focused on user plane. The advantage of doing so is reported to speed up 5G adoption, however some operators and vendors have criticized prioritizing the introduction of 5G NR NSA on the grounds that it could hinder the implementation of the standalone mode of the network.
Standalone (SA) mode of 5G NR refers to using 5G cells for both signalling and information transfer. It includes the new 5G Packet Core architecture instead of relying on the 4G Evolved Packet Core. It mean it would allow the deployment of 5G without LTE network. It is expected to have lower cost, better efficiency, and assist development of new use cases.
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Numerology (sub-carrier spacing) for New Radio
NR supports 5 different sub-carrier spacing:
- 15 kHz: same as LTE, correspond to slot duration of 1 millisecond. Available in FR1.
- 30 kHz: slot duration 0.5 millisecond. Available in FR2.
- 60 kHz: slot duration 0.25 millisecond. Both normal Cyclic Prefix (CP) and extended CP may be used with 60 kHz sub-carrier spacing. Available in both FR1 and FR2.
- 120 kHz: slot duration 0.125 millisecond. This is the highest sub-carrier spacing for data path. Available in FR2.
- 240 kHz: slot duration 0.0625 millisecond. This is only possible for search and measurement purpose using the Synchronization Signal Block (SSB). Available in FR2.
The length of CP is inversely proportional to the sub-carrier spacing. It is 4.7 micro-second with 15 kHz, and 4.7 / 16 = 0.29 micro-second for 240 kHz sub-carrier spacing.
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- 5G/NR - FR/Operating Bandwidth
- Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 855 mobile chip as it readies for 5G
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