How does 5G NR differ from LTE?
LTE radio access (or, in 3GPP terms, eUTRAN) is an OFMD based technology with a fixed subcarrier spacing of 15 kHz that supports carrier bandwidths from 1.4 MHz up to 20 MHz. LTE has a packet-switched architecture that supports a wide range of data applications. Voice is also supported as voice over LTE (VoLTE) or using fallback mechanisms to 3G and circuit-switched technologies.
The 5G NR specification embraces flexibility. It aims to include different use case families – from enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and massive machine type communications (MIoT) to ultra-reliable, low latency communications (URLLC) – that span across industries.
These different use cases require a wide variety of air interface characteristics in terms of frequency range, subcarrier spacing, carrier bandwidths, symbol durations, etc.; the network architecture needs to offer many options. Table 1 shows the flexibility of frequency-specific parameters.