5G New Radio Unlicensed: Challenges and Evaluation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking, 2021, 7, (3), pp. 689-701
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To meet the high demand for mobile data, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) established a set of standards known as 5G New Radio (5G NR). The architecture of 5G NR includes a flexible radio access network and a core network. 3GPP has also been working on a new radio access technology, called 5G NR Unlicensed (5G NR-U), which aims at extending 5G NR to unlicensed bands. In this article, we give an overview of the most recent 5G NR-U design elements and discuss potential concerns, including fair coexistence with other unlicensed technologies such as Wi-Fi. We use simulations to study coexistence between Wi-Fi and 5G NR-U systems. Our evaluation indicates that NR-U often achieves higher throughput and lower delay than Wi-Fi (802.11ac). The two systems experience different buffer occupancies and spectrum utilization statistics. We also discuss the improvements that NR-U offers over LTE Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA).
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