5G UE Data Rate

5G NR theoretical maximum data rates per layer. Source: Rohde & Schwarz 2019.
5G NR theoretical maximum data rates per layer. Source: Rohde & Schwarz 2019.

IMT-2020 specifies the maximum data rate that 5G is required to offer. This is 20Gbps (downlink) and 10Gbps (uplink). This is significant increase compared to IMT-Advanced (4G/LTE Release 14) that offers 1Gbps (downlink) and 50Mbps (uplink).

3GPP gives us a formula to calculate the theoretical peak data rates at Layer 1. Knowing that real-world deployments are unlikely to achieve this, IMT-2020 specifies that "user experienced" data rate should be at least 100Mbps (downlink) and 50Mbps (uplink). This value is 5th percentile value of user throughput that's based on bits correctly delivered to Layer 3.

We should also make a distinction between peak rate, average rate and median rate. Speed tests reporting only peak data rates can be misleading. Often real-world tests will quote average or median rates as well.

Discussion

  • How can I calculate the theoretical data rate in 5G NR for uplink and downlink?
    Formula for calculating UE DL/UL maximum data rate over 5G NR. Source: Clarke 2019, 3:30.
    Formula for calculating UE DL/UL maximum data rate over 5G NR. Source: Clarke 2019, 3:30.

    3GPP specifications TS 38.306 shares a formula for calculating the maximum data rate that a UE can support in downlink and uplink. The formula takes into account Carrier Aggregation (CA). The calculation is per component carrier (CC) and then added up over \(J\) carriers.

    Among the constants, \(10^{-6}\) gives the final value in Mbps. \(R_{max}\) is 948/1024. This is the maximum LDPC coding rate. The number 12 refers to the number of sub-carriers in a Resource Block (RB). This is multiplied with \(N^{BW}_{PRB}\), which is the maximum number of RBs that can be allocated to the UE for a given sub-carrier spacing (SCS) and bandwidth. The formula assumes normal cyclic prefix.

    Number of layers relates to MIMO layers. Modulation order \(Q_m\) translates symbols to bits. It takes values 1/2/4/6/8 for BPSK/QPSK/16QAM/64QAM/256QAM.

    We divide bits by symbol time \({T_s}\). There are 14 OFDM symbols per slot, with 1ms slot time at 15kHz SCS. At higher SCS, the slot duration proportionally decreases, translating to higher data rates.

  • Could you explain the scaling factor and overheads in the UE data rate formula?
    Scaling factor examples. Source: Adapted from 3GPP TSG RAN 2018.
    Scaling factor examples. Source: Adapted from 3GPP TSG RAN 2018.

    Scaling factor \(f\) can take values 1, 0.8, 0.75 and 0.4. It relates to MIMO layers and modulation order that are considered per band combination in the formula.

    Consider for example a UE whose Baseband Processing Capability (BPC) is 100MHz, 4 layers and 256QAM. Suppose this UE is configured for two component carriers. Due to BPC, the UE can support only two layers for each CC, resulting in a scaling factor is 0.5. Alternatively, the UE may be configured to use four layers for each CC but a lower modulation order 64QAM is used instead, resulting in a scaling factor is 0.75. Scaling factor is configured via RRC signalling.

    Overhead \(OH\) ranges from 8% (FR1 UL) to 18% (FR2 DL). This is due to PHY signalling, typically including SSB, TRS, PDCCH, DM-RS, PT-RS, CSI-RS, PUCCH and SRS. We note that downlink mmWave transmissions have the highest overhead.

  • How do I calculate the data rate for the multi-RAT case?

    For a UE using both E-UTRA and 5G NR, called Multi-RAT Dual Connectivity (MR-DC), rates are calculated separately for each Radio Access Technology (RAT) and then added up. E-UTRA rate that can be computed using E-UTRA's Transport Block Size (TBS). Data rate in Mbps is given by,

    $$ 10^{-3}\cdot\sum_{j=1}^J TBS_j$$

    This considers \(J\) E-UTRA component carriers in MR-DC band combination. \(TBS_j\) is the maximum number of transport block bits in either DL-SCH or UL-SCH channels transmitted over a 1ms Transmission Time Interval (TTI) for the j-th CC. This factors in the number of MIMO layers used for that CC.

  • Could you show some sample calculations of 5G UE data rates?
    Maximum 5G NR data rates per component carrier. Source: Devopedia 2021.
    Maximum 5G NR data rates per component carrier. Source: Devopedia 2021.

    Consider FR1 data rate for a single CC. Parameters to use are 8 layers, 256QAM (value 8), scaling factor 1 and overhead of 0.14. Given 60kHz SCS, the equivalent numerology µ is 2. At 100MHz bandwidth, the number of RBs is 135. The calculated data rate is 4623Mbps. Instead, if we use 30kHz, at 100MHz we get 273 RBs. This gives us a slightly higher rate of 4674Mbps.

    In FR2, we limit to 2 layers but move up to 120kHz SCS at a bandwidth of 400MHz. Numerology µ is 3. We get 264 RBs. Overhead rises to 0.18. The calculated data rate is 4310Mbps. By trading off MIMO layers against bandwidth, we obtain about the same data rate. FR2 gives lower latency but suffers from lower transmission range.

    Uplink calculations are similar except for the overhead that differs from downlink.

    These calculations are only for a single CC. 5G NR allows aggregation of up to 16 CCs. However, maximum aggregated spectrum is 1GHz. Moreover, the total rate that a UE can handle would depend on supported UE categories.

  • For 5G NR sidelink channels, how can I calculate the theoretical data rate?
    Formula for calculating UE maximum data rate over 5G NR sidelink. Source: ETSI 2021a, sec. 4.1.5.
    Formula for calculating UE maximum data rate over 5G NR sidelink. Source: ETSI 2021a, sec. 4.1.5.

    For 5G NR sidelink channels, the above formula gives the maximum data rate. The parameters are almost similar to the case of downlink/uplink data rate calculation but there are a few differences.

    In Release 16, sidelink channel is limited to 2 layers of MIMO. Overhead is 0.23 (FR1) and 0.25 (FR2).

  • What online resources are available to calculate 5G UE data rates?

    5G Tools for RF Wireless has a useful tool for 5G NR data rate calculation. Users can select downlink or uplink, FDD or TDD, number of component carriers, layers, modulation order, LDPC coding rate, scaling factor, SCS and bandwidth. There's also a selection of TDD slot format. The tool computes and displays all values derived from the above inputs.

    An alternative is Clarke's calculator.

Milestones

Jun
2017
Data rates in LTE evolution. Source: Sierra Wireless 2017.
Data rates in LTE evolution. Source: Sierra Wireless 2017.

LTE-Advanced Pro Release 14 is finalized. LTE-Advanced Pro is specified in Release 13 and 14. This improves on LTE Release 8 and Release 9 with 10x faster downloads and 3x faster uploads. With LTE-Advanced Pro offering 1Gbps downlink data rate, it's also called Gigabit LTE. LTE-Advanced Pro is seen as a suitable migration path to full 5G deployments.

Nov
2017
IMT-2020 minimum requirements for data rate and spectral efficiency. Source: Adapted from ITU-R 2017.
IMT-2020 minimum requirements for data rate and spectral efficiency. Source: Adapted from ITU-R 2017.

A report published by ITU-R specifies the minimum requirements for IMT-2020. This specifies data rate, spectral efficiency, user plane and control plane latencies, connection density, energy efficiency, reliability and mobility metrics. For data rate and spectral efficiency, peak and 5th percentile numbers are noted.

Mar
2018

In RAN WG1 meeting, scaling factor is introduced into the UE downlink/uplink data rate formula. This clarifies that the formula is for per band combination.

Mar
2020
User experienced data rates for downlink and uplink meet IMT-2020 requirements. Source: Henry et al. 2020, table 22.
User experienced data rates for downlink and uplink meet IMT-2020 requirements. Source: Henry et al. 2020, table 22.

Researchers at the University of Toronto publish their findings on how well 5G NR satisfies IMT-2020 requirements. Based on simulations, they find that user experienced data rates meet IMT-2020 requirements.

Dec
2020
Top ten 5G speeds worldwide. Source: Fogg 2021.
Top ten 5G speeds worldwide. Source: Fogg 2021.

Real-world measurements by Opensignal for the period Oct-Dec 2020 show that 5G networks are delivering average speeds better than 150Mbps (downlink) and 20Mbps (uplink). User rating is excellent for video, voice and gaming experience. Philippines and Thailand have benefited the most for video apps compared to their existing 4G networks. It's expected that as networks deploy 5G Core, latency will improve, thus leading to even better experience. However, 5G availability experienced by users is still poor, at 30% in Kuwait, 25% in South Korea and 20% in the USA.

References

  1. 3GPP. 2017. "Release 14." 3GPP. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  2. 3GPP TSG RAN. 2018. "Discussion on NR UE peak data rate." R1-1801352, 3GPP TSG RAN WG1 Meeting #92, February 26 - March 2. Accessed 2021-01-16.
  3. 5G Americas. 2019. "Global 5G: Implications of a Transformational Technology." 5G Americas, September. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  4. 5G Tools for RF Wireless. 2021. "5G NR Throughput calculator." 5G Tools for RF Wireless. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  5. Clarke, Peter. 2019. "5G NR FDD Theoretical Throughput Calculation Explained Step by Step." YouTube, February 7. Accessed 2021-01-15.
  6. Donegan, Michelle. 2020. "5G Network Tests Show Impressive Speeds." 5G.co.uk, February 4. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  7. ETSI. 2021a. "TS 138 306: 5G; NR; User Equipment (UE) radio access capabilities." V16.3.0, January. Accessed 2021-02-02.
  8. ETSI. 2021b. "TS 138 212: 5G; NR; Multiplexing and channel coding." V16.4.0, January. Accessed 2021-02-02.
  9. Fogg, Ian. 2021. "Benchmarking the global 5G experience." Opensignal, February 3. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  10. Henry, Samer, Ahmed Alsohaily, and Elvino S. Sousa. 2020. "5G is Real: Evaluating the Compliance of the 3GPP 5G New Radio System With the ITU IMT-2020 Requirements." IEEE Access, March 2. Updated 2020-03-12. doi: 0.1109/ACCESS.2020.2977406. Accessed 2021-02-16.
  11. ITU-R. 2017. "Minimum requirements related to technical performancefor IMT-2020 radiointerface(s)." Report ITU-R M.2410-0, M Series, ITU-R, November. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  12. Lien, Shao-Yu, Der-Jiunn Deng, Chun-Cheng Lin, Hua-Lung Tsai, Tao Chen, Chao Guo, and Shin-Ming Cheng. 2020. "3GPP NR Sidelink Transmissions Toward 5G V2X." IEEE Access, vol. 8, February 13. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  13. Oh, Seong-Jun. 2019. "IMT-2020 Evaluation Report." TTA SPG33, ITU, December. Accessed 2021-01-15.
  14. RF Wireless World. 2021. "5G NR Carrier Aggregation (CA) basics." RF Wireless World. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  15. Rohde & Schwarz. 2019. "3GPP categories and data rates up to Release 15." Poster, PD 5216.2976.82 V01.01, Rohde & Schwarz, March. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  16. Sierra Wireless. 2017. "LTE-Advanced Pro: The last 4G technology jump before 5G." Infographic, Sierra Wireless, August 16. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  17. Takeda, Kazuki, Hiroki Harada, Ryosuke Osawa, Yuichi Kakishima, Lihui Wang, and Runxin Wang. 2019. "NR Physical Layer Specifications in 5G." NTT DOCOMO Technical Journal, vol. 20, no. 3, January. Accessed 2021-02-02.
  18. Techplayon. 2018. "3GPP Release-15 UE Cat Types, Throughput, Modulation and DL / UL Combinations." Techplayon, July 7. Accessed 2021-02-03.

Further Reading

  1. Clarke, Peter. 2019. "5G NR FDD Theoretical Throughput Calculation Explained Step by Step." YouTube, February 7. Accessed 2021-01-15.
  2. ETSI. 2021a. "TS 138 306: 5G; NR; User Equipment (UE) radio access capabilities." V16.3.0, January. Accessed 2021-02-02.
  3. 5G Tools for RF Wireless. 2021. "5G NR Throughput calculator." 5G Tools for RF Wireless. Accessed 2021-02-03.
  4. Khanifar, Sina and Sarvesh Mathi. 2020. "5G and Shannon’s Law." Blog, Waveform, March 12. Accessed 2021-01-15.

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Devopedia. 2021. "5G UE Data Rate." Version 4, March 24. Accessed 2021-03-28. https://devopedia.org/5g-ue-data-rate
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Last updated on
2021-03-24 03:14:07