What is URLLC?

It’s a big aspect of 5G but what is URLLC?

Ultra-reliable low-latency communication, or URLLC, is one of several different types of use cases supported by the 5G New Radio (NR) standard, as stipulated by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) Release 15. URLLC will cater to multiple advanced services for latency0-sensitive connected devices, such as factory automation, autonomous driving, the industrial internet and smart grid or robotic surgeries.

But, in order to understand URLLC, you must understand 5G NR. This is the global standard for a much stronger and more capable cellular network. With it we will deliver faster, more reliable mobile services, and a much smoother user experience from everyday cellphone users to the internet of things (IoT) to smart technologies on a massive scale.

Other services that 5G will support include eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband) that will supply high bandwidth internet access for wireless connectivity, large-scale video streaming, and virtual reality. And mMTC (Massive Machine Type Communication) which supports internet access for sensing, metering, and monitoring devices.

But we’ll focus on URLLC for now. One of the key features of URLLC is the LL, or low latency. Low latency is important for gadgets that, say, drive themselves, or perform prostate surgeries. Low latency allows a network to be optimized for processing incredibly large amounts of data with minimal delay (or, latency). The networks need to adapt to a broad amount of changing data in real time. 5G will enable this service to function. URLLC is, arguably, the most promising addition to upcoming 5G capabilities, but it will also be the hardest to secure; URLLC requires a quality of service (QoS) totally different from mobile broadband services. It will provide networks with instantaneous and intelligent systems, though it will require transitioning out of the core network.

This new URLLC wireless connectivity will guarantee latency to be 1ms or less. In order for this interface to achieve low latency, all the devices have to synchronize to the same time-base. Time-sensitive networking is another component of the 5G URLLC capabilities. This will allow the shapers used for managing traffic to be time aware.

The design of a low-latency and high-reliability service involves several components: Integrated frame structure, incredibly fast turnaround, efficient control and data resource sharing, grant-free based uplink transmission, and advanced channel coding schemes. Uplink grant-free structures guarantee a reduction in user equipment (UE) latency transmission through avoiding the middle-man process of acquiring a dedicated scheduling grant.

Ultra-reliable low-latency communication represents a complete game-changer for communications technology in the modern age. With it, we can conduct remote surgeries, have our cars drive for us, and increase machine productivity by large-scale factors. But URLLC simply isn’t possible without the development and implementation of 5G NR; the non-standalone version of 5G NR is slated to be released later this year. The standalone version should be released sometime in 2020.



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