Non-Standalone 5G-NR vs Standalone 5G NR

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What is Non-Standalone 5G NR and Standalone 5G NR? How are they different from each other?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

May 5, 2019

5G New Radio (NR) is an OFDM-based global wireless standard for future 5G mobile networks. It has two versions: Non-Standalone 5G NR and Standalone 5G NR.

Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G NR

NSA 5G-NR is the early version of Standalone 5G NR mode, in which 5G networks are supported by existing 4G infrastructure. Non-Standalone 5G NR primarily focuses on enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), where the 5G supported mobiles will use mm-Wave frequencies for increased data capacity but will use existing 4G infrastructure for voice communications.

Non-Standalone 5G NR will provide increased data-bandwidth by using two new radio frequency ranges:

  • Frequency Range 1 (450 MHz to 6000 MHz) - This band overlaps with 4G LTE frequencies and is called as sub-6 GHz. Bands are numbered from 1 to 255.
  • Frequency Range 2 (24 GHz to 52 GHz) - This is the mm-Wave frequency band. The bands are numbered from 257 to 511.

Standalone (SA) 5G NR

3GPP finalized the standalone 5G NR standard in 2018, which will work alongside the Non-Standalone 5G NR standard. Standalone 5G NR will have a new end-to-end architecture that will use mm-Waves and sub-GHz frequencies. This mode will not use existing 4G/LTE infrastructure.

Standalone 5G NR will use enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), Ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC) and Massive machine type communications (mMTC) to provide multi-gigabit data rates with improved efficiency and lower costs.

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