Enabling Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications through Unlicensed Spectrum

Publication Type:
Journal Article
IEEE Network, 2018, 32 (2), pp. 70 - 77
Issue Date:
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© 2018 IEEE. In this article, we aim to address the question of how to exploit the unlicensed spectrum to achieve URLLC. Potential URLLC PHY mechanisms are reviewed and then compared via simulations to demonstrate their potential benefits to URLLC. Although a number of important PHY techniques help with URLLC, the PHY layer exhibits an intrinsic trade-off between latency and reliability, posed by limited and unstable wireless channels. We then explore MAC mechanisms and discuss multi-channel strategies for achieving low-latency LTE unlicensed band access. We demonstrate, via simulations, that the periods without access to the unlicensed band can be substantially reduced by maintaining channel access processes on multiple unlicensed channels, choosing the channels intelligently, and implementing RTS/CTS.
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