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5G NR (new radio)

Contributor(s): Laura Fitzgibbons

5G NR (new radio) is a set of standards that replace the LTE network 4G wireless communications standard. An important goal of 5G NR is to support the growth of wireless communication by enhancing electromagnetic radiation spectrum efficiency. 5G NR is designed to support high bandwidth transmissions required for streaming video, as well as low bandwidth transmissions used in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. 5G NR will also support transmissions with low latency requirements -- an important consideration in vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communications.

The standards necessary for a connection to qualify as 5G NR include several performance and connectivity requirements. Some of these updated standards include:

  • The connection must support wireless mobile connections.
  • It must provide connectivity for the internet of things (IoT), a concept that includes all of the various devices and wired or wireless connections that make up a user's digital experience.
  • Various aspects of industrial process and productivity control must be available to companies.
  • It must implement a lean signaling design. This means signals are only switched on when needed, lowering overall processing power.
  • Must use adaptive bandwidth, which allows devices to switch to a low-bandwidth and lower power whenever possible, saving energy for when higher bandwidths are necessary.
  • Enforces strict data transmission requirements. By forcing all users and connections to respect specific rules, the entire network is faster and more efficient.
  • Improved beamforming that allows signals to be propagated to a larger set of end points.

Similar to its predecessors, the 5G NR standard is created by a group called the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a coalition of telecommunications organizations that create technical standards for wireless technology. The first iteration of 5G NR appeared in 3GPP Release 15.  Currently, there are a number of low, mid and high frequency bands that are specified for and supported by the 5G NR standard. They are broken into frequency range 1 (FR1), which includes frequency bands that are less than 6GHz, frequency range 2 (FR2), which includes bands with a low range combined with a high bandwidth, and MMwave. The bands supported by 5G NR also include licensed spectrum and unlicensed spectrum 5G NR-U, which include bands than can be accessed by anyone.

Benefits of 5G NR

The benefits of 5G New Radio are expected to include:

  • Larger wireless area capacity.
  • Increased energy savings.
  • Lower period of time between updates, or average service creation time cycle.
  • Improved links connecting larger number of users.
  • Improved technology for maintaining the quality of a connection over a broad geographical area.
  • Enhanced speed and data rates, meaning more bits are processed over a unit of time.
  • Improved efficiency in data sharing.
  • Easier use for wireless provider services.
This was last updated in February 2019

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