5G Frequency Bands, Channels for FR1 & FR2

5G Frequency Bands, Channels for FR1 & FR2

The 5G new radio, 5G NR utilises a variety of different frequency bands. Like the other mobile communications systems, the frequency allocations are located in a variety of areas of the radio spectrum.

The allocation of the 5G mobile communications frequency bands is typically undertaken by international agreement, although the numbering is undertaken by 3GPP. This reduces the levels of interference and and enables roaming to be undertaken more easily - the more bands there are the more difficult it is to make radios that can roam universally.

With the increasing usage of mobile communications, additional frequencies and bands aree needed to accommodate the 5G technology. Not only are many of the existing bands to be re-used for 5G wireless technology, but new ones are being allocation.

In a new feature for 5G mobile communications, frequencies in the millimetre wave region of the spectrum will be used. The much greater bandwidth available in these regions is very much higher allowing for greater data speeds to be achieved, but the range of the signals is shorter, although this will give better frequency re-usage.

Frequency ranges, FR1 & FR2

Two different frequency ranges are available for the 5G technology and the different ranges have been designated FR1 - frequency range 1 and FR2 - frequency range 2.

The bands in frequency range 1, FR1 are envisaged to carry much of the traditional cellular mobile communications traffic.

The higher frequency bands in range FR2 are aimed at providing short range very high data rate capability for the 5G radio. With 5G wireless technology anticipated to carry much higher speed data, the additional bandwidth of these higher frequency bands will be needed.

Originally the FR1 band was intended to define bands below 6 GHz, but with anticipated additional spectrum allocations, the FR1 range has now been extended to 7.125 GHz.

Frequency Ranges, FR1 & FR2 for 5G NR
Frequency range designationFrequency Range (MHz)
FR1410 - 7 125
FR224 250 - 52 600

FR1 5G frequency bands

The frequency bands in FR1 utilise many of the same frequency bands as those used for 4G and other mobile communications cellular services. It is envisaged that over time, the channels and also the bands used for carrying 5G data will take over more of the bands already allocated to mobile or cellular telecommunications. In this way, 5G wireless technology will be able to carry the required traffic levels.

Bands have been set aside for frequency division duplex, FDD usage, or time division duplex, TDD usage. For FDD usage, frequency bands are required for the uplink and downlink, and therefore two bands are allocated. For TDD usage, only a single channel is used for the link: time slots are allocated for the uplink and downlink rather than different frequencies. As a result, for TDD only one band is needed.

5G FR1 Frequency Bands
5G NR Frequency BandUplink band (MHz)Downlink Band (MHz)Duplex Mode
n11920 - 19802110 - 2170FDD
n21850 - 19101930 - 1990FDD
n31710 - 17851805 - 1880FDD
n5824 - 849869 - 894FDD
n72500 - 25702620 - 2690FDD
n8880 - 915925 - 960FDD
n12699 - 716729 - 746FDD
n20832 - 862791 - 821FDD
n251850 - 19151930 - 1995FDD
n28703 - 748758 - 803FDD
n342010 - 20225TDD
n382570 - 2620TDD
n391880 - 1920TDD
n402300 - 2400TDD
n412496 - 2690TDD
n501432 - 1517TDD
n511427 - 1432TDD
n661710 - 1780TDD
n701695 - 1710TDD
n71663 - 698TDD
n741427 - 1470TDD
n75--1432 - 1517SDL
n76--1427 - 1432SDL
n773300 - 4200TDD
n783300 - 3800TDD
n794400 - 5000TDD
n801710 - 1785--SUL
n818800 - 915--SUL
n82832 - 862--SUL
n83703 - 748--SUL
n841920 - 1980--SUL
n861710 - 1780--SUL

In addition to the FDD and TDD bands, other bands have been allocated to provide supplementary uplink and downlink capacity. The bands marked SDL are for supplementary downlinks and SUL are for supplementary uplinks.

FR2 5G frequency bands

The frequency range 2, FR2 5G bands are now starting to gain momentum with new development to make the microwave links viable for the large scale deployment that will be needed.

Allocations are being made in many areas of the spectrum above 20 GHz as it is relatively lightly used at the moment.

5G FR2 Frequency Bands
5G NR Frequency BandUplink band (MHz)Downlink Band (MHz)Duplex Mode
n25726 500 - 2950026500 - 29500TDD
n25824 250 - 27 50024 250 - 27 500TDD
n26037 000 - 40 00037 000 - 40 000TDD
n26127 500 - 28 35027 500 - 28 350TDD

5G NR supports carrier aggregation to enable the system to provide the required bandwidth for the very high speed data transfers. The specification allows for up to 16 component carriers to be aggregated using various combinations of inter-band and intra-band carrier aggregation.

The feature can be used in a smart fashion to overcome some of the issues that may occur not only with increased bandwidth, but also to overcome the issues of increased path loss at higher frequencies.

In terms of the allocations above it will be seen that supplementary uplinks, SUL and supplementary downlinks, SDL can be used.

5G NR frequency band parameters summary

There are several different parameters that are specified for the 5G NR physical layer. Sometimes these are specified differently according to the frequency of the 5G NR signal. Aspects like the number of carriers, subcarrier spacing, modulation scheme and a number of other parameters.

The table below summarises the signal characteristics and differentiates them according to their use on frequency band 1, FR1 and frequency band 2, FR2.

5G NR Parameters for Different Frequency Bands
5G NR ParameterFR1FR2
Bandwidth options per carrier5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 MHz50, 100, 200, 400 MHz
Subcarrier spacing15, 30, 60 kHz60, 120, 240 kHz
Maximum number of subcarriers3300 (FFT 4096)
Carrier AggregationUp to 16 carriers
Moodulation schemesQPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256QAM, uplink also allows π/2-BPSK (only for DFT-s-OFDM).
Radio frame length10ms
Subframe duration1ms
Duplex modeFDD, TDDTDD
Multiple access schemeDownlink: CP-OFDM
MIMO schememaximum of 2 codewords mapped to maximum of 8 layers in downlink and to a maximum of 4 in uplink.

It is necessary to consult the 3GPP specifications to ascertain the exact details regarding the combinations of transmission bandwidths, for a given frequency band a subcarrier spacing for both FR1 and FR2.

The frequency band allocations for 5G NR are frequently updated as new bands are made available in different countries. Many of the existing 3G and 4G mobile communications allocations will be re-purposed for 5G wireless technology, but this will occur over time as the usage of 5G increases.

Although it is anticipated that more frequency spectrum will be made available for 5G wireless technology over the coming years. It is anticipated that 3G services will be retired first, often before the 3G services, allowing 2G to be used for some signallong applications and 4G as the fallback from 5G.

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Watch the video: Demystifying 5G How are slot formats defined in 5G NR? (March 2021).