5G NR: The Next Generation Wireless Access Technology

By: , Posted on: August 22, 2018

We sit down with the authors of 5G NR: The Next Generation Wireless Access Technology, to find out more about their upcoming publication.

  1. There is naturally considerable interest in the new 5G NR standard and associated technology. What in essence does it provide that is different to 4G?

5G NR enhance the performance and capabilities of mobile communication, as well as address a wide range of new use cases for which earlier technologies like 4G can only provide limited support. It provides enhanced system performance and user experience for mobile broadband services by means of much higher data rates and the possibility to support many more simultaneously connected users. Furthermore, 5G NR extends the scope of wireless communication to many more use cases, especially in the area of critical Machine Type Communication (MTC) by enabling significantly more reliable communication while simultaneously ensuring extremely low latency.

  1. What are the new technologies that underpin 5G NR and what do they offer?

There are several new technology components in 5G NR, for example:

  • Operation in significantly higher frequency bands, where 5G NR supports not only operation in the frequency range supported by 4G but also extends the frequency range up to 50 GHz already in the first release. In contrast, 4G is currently limited to licensed frequency bands below 3.5 GHz (and unlicensed operation in the 5 GHz band),
  • Ultra-lean transmission, where always-on signals are kept to an absolute minimum, is unique to 5G NR. It enables reduced network power consumption and improves data rates through a reduced interference level in the network. It is also an important tool to enable forward compatibility and ease introduction of additional features in future 5G NR releases. The introduction of ultra-lean design called for changes in several of the access procedures compared to 4G.
  • Advanced multi-antenna transmission/reception, especially the extended and integrated support for beam-forming, plays an important role in 5G NR. Not only is it vital for operation at the higher frequency bands. It also enables very high data rates, a high system capacity, and extends coverage. Unlike the multi-antenna support in 4G, where beamforming is possible only after connecting to the network, multi-antenna support in 5G NR is an integral part of the connection establishment procedures as well as for data transfer.
  • Very low latency is enabled by a range of enhancements and improvements compared to 4G. For example, the slot structure enabling pipelined receiver implementation, the revised protocol header structure, and in general tighter requirements all contribute to the very low latency possible in 5G NR.
  • Tight integration with already deployed 4G LTE networks is another key property of 5G NR. Although every new generation of mobile communication has been able to some degree of interworking with earlier generations, for example, in form of smooth handover between the technologies, NR takes this even further. As an example, NR supports dual-connectivity with LTE, implying that a device can be in simultaneous connectivity with both LTE and NR. NR can also be deployed on top of LTE within the same spectrum (NR/LTE spectrum co-existence), allowing for NR deployment in spectrum already used by LTE.
  1. What does your new book on 5G offer the reader who wants a good understanding of the standards and its associated technologies?

The book provides both a high-level overview and a detailed technical description of the 5G NR radio-access technology. However, a key aim of ours, when writing the book, has been to not only provide the technical details but also to provide the background and explanation to why the different technical solutions look like they do and why decisions were taken in a certain way. We can do this due to our involvement, at the deepest level, in the actual 3GPP development of the NR standard.

  1. What were the reasons for the approach you took in the book?

We strongly believe that to fully understand technology, one does not only need to know the technology as such but also needs to understand the background to the technology choices.

  1. When reading your book, what advice do you have to someone who wants to get to the heart of 5G NR as quickly as possible?

The book includes an initial technology-overview chapter that provides an overview of NR and its key technology components. The remaining chapters then cover these technologies in more detail. To a large extent, these chapters can be read independently of each other. A reader that needs a quick understanding of some specific technology components can read the overview and then dive directly into the chapters of interest.

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About the book:

5G NR: The Next Generation Wireless Access Technology follows the authors’ highly celebrated books on 3G and 4G by providing a new level of insight into 5G NR. After an initial discussion of the background to 5G, including requirements, spectrum aspects and the standardization timeline, all technology features of the first phase of NR are described in detail.

Key Features:

  • Offers a concise and accessible explanation of the underlying technology and standards for 5G NR radio-access technology
  • Provides detailed description of the NR physical-layer structure and higher-layer protocols, RF and spectrum aspects and co-existence and interworking with LTE
  • Gives insight not only into the details of the NR specification but also an understanding of why certain solutions look like they do


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