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5G NR (New Radio) is a new radio access technology (RAT) developed by 3GPP for the 5G (fifth generation) mobile network.[1] It was designed to be the global standard for the air interface of 5G networks.[2]

The 3GPP specification 38 series[3] provides the technical details behind NR, the RAT beyond LTE.

The study on NR within 3GPP started in 2015, and the first specification release was made available by the end of 2017. While the 3GPP standardization process was ongoing, industry had already begun efforts to implement infrastructure compliant with the draft standard, with the expectation that the first large scale commercial launch of 5G NR would occur in 2019.


Frequency bandsEdit

The Frequency bands for 5G NR are being separated into two frequency ranges:[4]

  1. Frequency Range 1 (FR1), including sub-6 GHz frequency bands
  2. Frequency Range 2 (FR2), including frequency bands in the mmWave range (20-60GHz)

Network deploymentsEdit

Ooredoo was the first carrier to launch a commercial 5G NR network in May 2018 in Qatar. Other carriers around the world have been following suit.


In 2018, 3GPP published Release 15, which include what is described as "Phase 1" standardization for the 5G NR standard. 3GPP is expected to publish Release 16, which include the "Phase 2" of 5G NR, by the end of year 2019.[5]

Deployment modesEdit

Initial 5G NR launches will depend on existing LTE 4G infrastructure in non-standalone (NSA) mode, before maturation of the standalone (SA) mode with the 5G core network.

Non-Standalone modeEdit

Non-Standalone (NSA) mode of 5G NR refers to an option of 5G NR deployment that depends on the control plane of existing LTE network for control functions, while 5G NR exclusively focused on user plane.[6][7] The advantage of doing so is reported to speed up 5G adoption, however some operators and vendors have criticized prioritizing the introduction of 5G NR NSA on the grounds that it could hinder the implementation of the standalone mode of the network.[8][9]

Standalone modeEdit

Standalone (SA) mode of 5G NR refers to using 5G cells for both signalling and information transfer.[6] It includes the new 5G Packet Core architecture instead of relying on the 4G Evolved Packet Core.[10][11] It would allow the deployment of 5G without the LTE network.[12] It is expected to have lower cost, better efficiency, and assist development of new use cases.[8][13]

Numerology (sub-carrier spacing) for New RadioEdit

NR supports 5 different sub-carrier spacing:

Sub-Carrier Spacing Slot Duration Comment Frequency Bands
15 kHz 1 millisecond same as LTE Available in FR1
30 kHz 0.5 millisecond Available in FR1
60 kHz 0.25 millisecond Both normal Cyclic Prefix (CP) and extended CP may be used with 60 kHz sub-carrier spacing Available in both FR1 and FR2
120 kHz 0.125 millisecond This is the highest sub-carrier spacing for data path Available in FR2
240 kHz 0.0625 millisecond This is only possible for search and measurement purpose using the Synchronization Signal Block (SSB) Available in FR2

The length of CP is inversely proportional to the sub-carrier spacing. It is 4.7 micro-second with 15 kHz, and 4.7 / 16 = 0.29 micro-second for 240 kHz sub-carrier spacing.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "What is 5G New Radio (5G NR)".
  2. ^ "Making 5G New Radio (NR) a Reality – The Global 5G Standard - IEEE Communications Society".
  3. ^ "3GPP specification series: 38series". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  4. ^ 5G/NR - FR/Operating Bandwidth
  5. ^ Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 855 mobile chip as it readies for 5G
  6. ^ a b "5G NR Deployment Scenarios or modes-NSA,SA,Homogeneous,Heterogeneous".
  7. ^ Junko Yoshida. "What's Behind 'Non-Standalone' 5G?". Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  8. ^ a b Teral, Stephane (2019-01-30). "5G best choice architecture" (PDF). ZTE. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  9. ^ "3GPP Approves Plans to Fast Track 5G NR - Light Reading".
  10. ^ "Standalone or Non-Standalone? 5G Trials Will Help Orange Decide - Light Reading".
  11. ^ "5G Non Standalone Solution Overview" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Defining NG Core for 5G Networks - Light Reading".
  13. ^ "5G: What is Standalone (SA) vs Non-Standalone (NSA) Networks?". MediaTek. 12 November 2018.