3GPP Approves List of Release 17 5G New Radio Features and Functions

3GPP Release 17 Timeline

Earlier this week 3GPP held RAN#86 to discuss and finalize further technology evolution of 5G NR radio. 3GPP has now approved a list of features and detailed functionality that will be part of Release-17.

3GPP Release 16 is already progressing towards completion with the expected freeze in March 2020. Rel 16, often termed as 5G Phase 2 brings mainly support of 5G V2X (targeting advanced use cases beyond LTE V2X), Industrial IoT and URLLC enhancements, 5G NR operation in unlicensed bands and other System improvements and enhancements namely in Positioning, MIMO enhancements and Power Consumption.

Rel-17 work will be carried out in initially three parts RAN1, RAN2, and RAN3 - physical layer, radio protocol, and radio architecture enhancements respectively. 3GPP plans to decide about RAN4 work for Release 17 in June next year.

An overall RAN development timeline (source: 3GPP) of R16 and R17 is shown below.

Physical layer work (RAN1) is expected to start beginning of next year and will wrap up in 2021Q1 whereas radio protocol and architecture work (RAN2 and RAN3) will start in 2020 Q2 and will be complete by 2021Q2.

A brief list of planned features is as follows.

Physical Layer Enhancements

  • MIMO  
  • Dynamic Spectrum Sharing enhancements
  • Sidelink enhancements to address automotive industry and critical communication needs
  • Positioning enhancements to address high accuracy and latency requirements for indoor industrial cases. 
  • Enhancements for NB-IoT and LTE-MTC motivated by current commercial deployments
  • Support lower capable NR devices
  • Support of frequency bands beyond 52.6GHz to 71 GHz
  • Multi SIM operation
  • NR Coverage enhancements
  • NR Industrial IoT and URLLC enhancements

Radio Protocol Enhancements

  • NR multicast 
  • Multiradio DC/CA enhancements
  • Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) enhancements
  • Small data transfer optimization 
  • UE Power Saving enhancements
  • SON/MDT enhancements
  • RAN Slicing
  • NR Sidelink Relay
  • NR for Non Terrestrial Networks

Radio Architecture Enhancements

  • NR QoE Study
  • NR SON and MDT enhancements
  • NR Multicast
  • NR for Non Terrestrial Networks
  • NR Non-Public Network Enhancements
  • Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) Enhancements
  • Support for CP-UP split to LTE

 

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