3GPP Release 16 Feature List

3GPP Release 16 Introduction

The initial specifications of 5G, Release 15 also called the “5G Phase 1” introduced the 5G NR technology, provided  the fundamental architecture of 5G and addressed the use cases that include enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), and massive machine-type communications (MTC).

Further 3GPP release 16, called the “5G Phase 2” targets enhancements to the foundational aspects of the 5G system, in terms of coverage, capacity, latency, power, mobility, reliability, ease of deployment, and more. 3GPP Release description is available in TR 21.916 Document

3GPP Release-16 LTE Enhancements

  • LTE-based 5G terrestrial broadcast
  • Support for NavIC Navigation Satellite System for LTE
  • DL MIMO efficiency enhancements for LTE
  • Performance enhancement for LTE in high speed scenario

LTE-based 5G terrestrial broadcast

LTE-based 5G Terrestrial Broadcast is a broadcast system defined by 3GPP that can be deployed in unpaired downlink-only spectrum (i.e. without the need for an uplink), with dedicated broadcast carriers.

The provision of Terrestrial Broadcast services using 3GPP technologies was enabled for the first time in LTE Advanced Pro Release (Rel-) 14, in which the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) technology was enhanced to fulfill a wide set of requirements input by the broadcast industry. During the Enhancements for Television (EnTV) work item in Rel-14 several modifications were realized affecting system architecture, core and radio access.

In Rel-16 3GPP carried out a study item to evaluate EnTV Rel-14 against the terrestrial broadcast requirements for 5G defined in 3GPP TR 38.913. Two requirements were detected as not met: the ability to support SFN with cell coverage range of up to 100 km, and mobile reception with speeds up to 250 km/h. The following enhancements have been made as

Introduction of a new numerology for PMCH with 100us cyclic prefix and 2.5kHz subcarrier spacing for support of high mobility scenarios (up to 250km/h).

  • Introduction of a new numerology for PMCH with 300us cyclic prefix and approximately 0.37kHz subcarrier spacing for support of rooftop reception.
  • Enhancements to PBCH and PDCCH to increase robustness in low SINR scenarios.

NavIC Navigation Satellite System for LTE

The LCS_NAVIC feature introduces NavIC satellite system specific assistance data support used by the location server to enable UE-based and UE-assisted A-GNSS positioning methods in E-UTRAN. This is applicable to both Control plane and User plane positioning. Before this work item EUTRAN A-GNSS methods supported assistance data for only for GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BDS, SBAS & QZSS constellations.

Introduction of NavIC satellite system assistance data speeds up positioning performance, improves receiver sensitivity and helps to conserve battery power.in UEs supporting NavIC RNSS for positioning.

The LCS_NAVIC feature is applicable only to LTE UEs using L5 band GNSS reception for positioning and has been standardized starting from Rel-16.

Also, In Rel-13 and 14, the mobility and throughput performance were enhanced to cover high speeds (up to 350 km/h) by specifying the requirements for UE RRM, UE demodulation and base station demodulation using the Single Frequency Network (SFN) but only on one LTE carrier. In Rel-16, considered Carrier Aggregation and speeds up to 500km/h.

3GPP Release 16 NR Enhancements 

  • Enhancement to NR URLLC
  • 2-step RACH for NR
  • Integrated access and backhaul for NR
  • NR location and positioning support
  • Optimisations on UE radio capability signalling
  • Enhancement to Narrow Band IoT
  • Remote Interference Management (RIM) and Cross-Link Interference (CLI) Management

Physical Layer Enhancements for NR-URLLC

3GPP Release 16 focusses on the enhancement in the 5G core and the RAN to support ultra-high reliability and low-latency communications (URLLC). The main functionalities introduced here are the support of redundant transmission, QoS monitoring, dynamic division of the Packet Delay Budget, and enhancements of the session continuity mechanism.

DCI format 0_2/1_2 with configurable sizes for most of the DCI fields are introduced, which provides the possibility to improve the reliability by decreasing the DCI size (e.g. ~24 bits) with appropriate RRC configuration of the DCI fields.

Cellular IOT Features in 5GC

Cellular IoT support introduces Control Plane CIoT 5GS Optimisation and User Plane CIoT 5GS Optimisation functionality in the 5G Core

2-Step RACH

A simplified 2-step random access procedure was developed. This reduces the number of interactions between the UE and network during the connection setup and connection resume, thereby enabling a lower control plane latency. In case of connected mode, a small amount of data can be sent via 2-step RACH procedure thus also enabling a lower latency for UL UP data for connected mode UEs.

Integrated Access and Backhaul

Further, Integrated access and backhaul (IAB) was introduced IAB introduces the IAB-node and IAB-donor to 5G RAN. The IAB-node is the relaying node and supports access and backhauling via NR. The IAB-donor is the terminating node of NR backhauling on network side. It represents a gNB with additional functionality to support IAB. Backhauling can occur via a single hop or via multiple hops.

EN-DC enhancements

In Release 15, the operating bands are specified for these eligible operations with EN-DC configured. The EN-DC band combinations include at least one E-UTRA operating band and a NR operation band. In moving forward to Release 16, the configuration of EN-DC operation are expanded for more simultaneous uplink and downlink configurations, including band combination of LTE, FR1 and FR2 bands

Remote Interference Management (RIM) and Cross-Link Interference (CLI) Management

Introduces techniques for managing interference from distant cells in Time Division Duplex (TDD) networks in the presence of tropospheric scattering, as well as managing inter-operator interference.

Optimization on UE radio capability signaling

Optimization in the size of the information sent by the UE to the network to signal its capabilities in the EPS and the 5G System. Optimizes the size of the information stored in the network to identify UE capabilities. Optimizes the size of UE radio capability information in the UE context transferred in the network-function-to-network-function signaling messages.

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Savita Chopra
Savita is a radio product specialist active in the industry roles including device testing, functional testing and pre sales.
you may reach out her at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/savita-chopra-0a234396/

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