What is 5G NR?

Written by Alejandra Jasso
22nd Sep 2023

Is 5G NR the Same as 5G?

By now, you’ve likely heard about 5G as well as 5G NR. While most are familiar with 5G, not everyone is familiar with 5G NR. Even though the name includes “5G”, it is not the same. Keep reading to learn more about 5G NR and its significance.

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What is 5G NR?

5G is the fifth generation of wireless mobile networks. It’s meant to deliver faster speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity than 4G. 5G NR, short for 5G New Radio, is the radio access technology standard developed by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) that drives 5G data transmission.

How Does 5G NR Work?

5G NR defines how 5G devices and 5G radio stations transmit over-the-air radio frequency waves. With previous mobile networks, the frequency spectrum allocated for mobile wireless communication was extremely limited. 5G NR enabled the use of a wider spectrum to achieve all the great things 5G has to offer.

It makes use of sub-6 frequencies, aka Frequency Range 1 (FR1), and millimeter-wave (mmWave), aka Frequency Range 2 (FR2).

Sub-6 Frequencies

The sub-6 spectrum is composed of frequencies below 6 GHz. This is where 5G connectivity performs moderately better than 4G. 4G also operates in the sub-6 spectrum. Having multiple networks using the same frequencies would normally cause issues. To prevent interference, 5G NR uses DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) technology. DSS allows 4G and 5G to coexist while dynamically allocating bandwidth based on user demand. It also allowed 5G to reach more users faster without forcing mobile network operators to upgrade infrastructure.

mmWave Frequencies

New to mobile networking is the mmWave spectrum, ranging from 24 GHz to 40 GHz. Allocating these frequencies for 5G expanded the available spectrum. Because of the bandwidth of these frequencies, more users can connect to the network and transfer more data at faster speeds with very low latency. New infrastructure, such as small cells, is required for the deployment of mmWave radio frequency waves.

Since 5G NR uses frequencies that are much higher than those used by 4G, they are more susceptible to interference. The higher the frequency, the shorter its range and the more difficult it is to penetrate obstacles. To minimize propagation challenges and improve efficiency, 5G NR uses large-scale MIMO, beamforming, scalable subcarrier spacing, and other technologies.

How is 5G NR Deployed?

The 3GPP has defined two main ways to deploy 5G NR:

  • Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G NR deployment depends on existing 4G LTE infrastructure. This method allows operators to quickly enhance their 4G network with 5G capabilities. Users will experience increased speeds and bandwidth. However, they will not get the full 5G experience.
  • Standalone (SA) 5G NR deployment only depends on 5G infrastructure. It does not need 4G support. This method delivers the full 5G experience. SA 5G NR is vital to those industries that need blazing fast speeds and low latency, such as gaming, automation, augmented reality, edge computing, and the like.

T-Mobile states that both NSA and SA 5G NR must work together seamlessly to provide excellent service and a positive user experience. Operators will deploy NSA 5G NR and SA 5G NR as they see fit. For example, T-Mobile has the largest standalone 5G network while AT&T and Verizon use a mix of both methods.

What are the Applications of 5G NR?

Many people think of 5G NR as the technology that facilitates improved connectivity for cellular devices like smartphones and cellular routers. However, 5G NR goes beyond just mobile connectivity. It enables wireless connectivity between anyone and anything. Use cases consist of:

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) - Designed to deliver more reliable internet for the end user. It guarantees gigabit speeds (up to 10 Gbps) of mobile broadband and higher data bandwidth. This is the application most people are familiar with. It’s meant to improve the user experience for streaming video, gaming, VR, and the like.
  • Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) - Provides high levels of reliability and very low latency simultaneously for mission-critical applications. It’s meant to deliver 99.999% reliability and latency of 1 ms or less. The main fields demanding such requirements are autonomous driving, Machine-Type Communication (MTC, IoT), and factory automation.
  • Massive Machine-Type Communication (mMTC) - Focuses on massive connectivity for IoT devices that have low data rate requirements and low energy consumption, enabling near real-time management and monitoring for optimized results. It can connect up to 1 million devices per square kilometer. Use cases for mMTC 5G NR include intelligent agricultural systems, smart homes, smart cities, traffic management, and patient monitoring systems.

What are the 5G NR Requirements?

Several requirements must be met for a connection to be classified as 5G NR. Some of those requirements are:

  • Must support wireless mobile connectivity.
  • Must support the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Must support adaptive bandwidth to allow the use of lower bandwidth and power consumption when possible.
  • Must use a lean carrier design to lower power consumption and interference.
  • Must apply strict transmission rules to make the network more efficient and faster.

What are the Benefits of 5G NR?

5G NR benefits include:

  • Adaptive bandwidth
  • More RF spectrum for greater capacity
  • Ultra-low lag
  • Enhanced speeds and data rates
  • Increase reliability
  • Greater network efficiency
  • More connectivity options for consumer and machine applications

Contact Us

Because of 5G NR, we’re able to enjoy reliable, fast, low lag connectivity. However, sometimes those signals have a hard time reaching mobile devices because of building materials and other obstructions.

Wilson Amplifiers can help get you the cellular signal you need to keep your cellular devices and IoT machines connected. We are a leading provider of FCC-certified cell phone signal boosters. Our home, office, vehicle, and enterprise units work with all North American carriers and devices. Once installed, poor connectivity will be a thing of the past. If you have any questions, please call us (1-800-568-2723), email us (sales@wilsonamplifiers.com), or chat with us. We’re happy to help!

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