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5G Terminology

Acronym Full Name Description
3GPP 3rd Generation Partnership Project The 3rd Generation Partnership Project is a collaboration between different groups of telecom standards associations. It was originally set up to set the standards of 3G. It has since evolved to 4G and is now working on 5G standards.
5G 5th Generation 5th-generation of cellular network technology, providing a single network that can offer high speed, low latency communication and support a massive number of devices.
Beamforming   Beamforming uses an increased number of antennas to aim signals directly toward a specific device, group of devices or location. That means no more sending them out broadly into the ether (saving energy), and it also helps to avoid unintended signals being received (less interference). It’s the most intelligent way yet to deal with demand from millions of devices. The result: every device gets what it needs, when it needs it.
CA Carrier Aggregation Cellular data is sent using radio frequencies. The wider the channel bandwidth, the more data can be sent. Carrier aggregation combines multiple channels of spectrum together to create one super channel, meaning greater capacity and faster speeds. This is an important concept, as spectrum is often fragmented and a single channel may not able to deliver high speed data.
eMBB Enhanced Mobile Broadband One of the three subsets of 5G use cases, focusing on faster data speeds and better coverage. It’ll be perfect for data-hungry functions while on the go, like virtual or augmented reality. And a huge opportunity for businesses with new use cases built for 5G’s ten-times-faster data speeds.
eNB / eNodeB Evolved Node B E-UTRAN Node B is the base station. It connects the phone or cell modem to the LTE network.
FR1 Frequency Range 1 Frequencies below 6 GHz. Sometimes also called Sub-6.
FR2 Frequency Range 2 Frequencies above 24 GHz. Sometimes also called mmWave.
gNB / gNodeB   Is the next generation base station for 5G networks
High-band   The 5G high-band, also called mmWave, describes the highest frequencies used in 5G, ranging from 24 GHz up to 100 GHz. The benefit of 5G mmWave is that it offers a massive amount of bandwidth, which in turn can provide multi-Gigabit peak rates. The downside is that coverage is very limited, because these high frequencies cannot readily move through walls, windows, or foliage and therefore are short range in nature. They do require significantly more cellular infrastructure to provide coverage. You will typically find 5G mmWave in dense urban environment or public venues, like sport stadiums or shopping malls.
Low band   The 5G low-band is existing spectrum below 2 GHz, that is used today for 4G LTE. It provides a nation-wide coverage layer, and multiple carriers have announced availability of low-band 5G networks. However, since the spectrum is used for 4G LTE today and the available spectrum is very limited, the performance will be similar to 4G LTE, and initially it may actually be lower.
LTE Long Term Evolution LTE (or Long Term Evolution) describes the concept of ongoing cellular technology evolution towards a shared vision, such as 4G communication. Rather than waiting several years until the standards, technology and devices are perfect, 3GPP and the cellular industry have decided to take an incremental approach to make standards, technology and devices available as early as possible, and then do incremental improvements with new Releases - like software releases, but at a much larger scale.
Mid-band   The 5G mid-band is new spectrum in the 2-6 GHz range that was more recently opened up for 5G communication. The mid-band provides a capacity layer for urban and suburban areas, which peak rates in the 100's of Mbps.
MIMO (MU-MIMO) Multiple-input, Multiple-output MIMO stands for multiple input - multiple output. In wireless communication, this refers to using multiple independent data streams, which requires multiple antennas both at the transmitter and at the receiver. These data streams can be shared by multiple users (MU). Today, 4x4 MIMO is common, meaning that each side of the communication is using 4 antennas to send data in parallel. Massive MIMO will scale this concept to 16, 64 or even 256 antennas. This is how we’ll get the dramatic increases in network speed and capacity.
MME Mobility Management Entity Checks authorization and determines if and where the eNB can send data from the UE.
mMTC Massive Machine-Type Communication One of the three subsets of 5G use cases. This deals with the greater number of sensors collecting data to be turned into actionable information. This’ll be important for the rise of the Internet of Things, with applications like smart homes and even smart cities.
mmW / mmWave Millimeter-wave Frequencies above 24 GHz. Sometimes also called FR2.
NR New Radio (5G) New Radio is the new set of standards the industry has agreed on to make 5G possible. The standards relate to things like using different kinds of spectrum frequencies, enhancing coverage by using Massive MIMO and advanced beamforming, reducing latency, and improving how capacity is allocated across devices.
NSA Non-standalone One of two major 5G network architectures. In Non-standalone mode, 5G devices connect to the 4G LTE infrastructure for voice and data communication, and then use the 5G-NR infrastructure for additional data bandwidth. This architecture is predominant today, as it allows devices to use 4G and 5G seamlessly while carriers are building out their 5G networks.
QAM Quadrature Amplitude Modulation Quadrature Amplitude Modulation is the means by which a carrier signal, such as an LTE waveform, transmits data and information. Two carriers (two sinusoidal waves) are shifted in phase by 90 degrees (a quarter out of phase) are modulated and the resultant output consists of both amplitude and phase variations. These variations form the basis for the transmitted binary bits. 16-QAM, 64-QAM, and 256-QAM stand for the number of bits that can be differentiated. The higher this number, the more data can be sent. But it is more difficult to decode the transmission, so higher QAM only works under near-perfect signal conditions.
RAN Radio Access Network A radio access network (RAN) is part of a mobile telecommunication system. It provides the radio access that wirelessly connects the User Equipment (UE) like a phone or a router to the carrier's network core.
SA Stand-alone One of two major 5G network architectures. In Stand-alone mode, 5G devices connect directly to the 5G-NR infrastructure for voice and data communication.
Sub-6   Frequencies below 6 GHz. Sometimes also called FR1.
UE User Equipment Cellular device (phone, modem, router) that connects the an LTE/5G NR network.
uRLLC Ultra-reliable, Low-latency Communication One of the three subsets of 5G use cases. This is for applications that need immediate responsiveness, and almost no latency. It might not be a lot of data, but often it needs to be sent in as close to real time as possible. Imagine self-driving cars or robots in a factory – they need instant feedback from their environment (and vice versa) to make split-second decisions.