5G New Radio Unlicensed: Challenges and Evaluation

Mohammed Hirzallah, Marwan Krunz, Balkan Kecicioglu, Belal Hamzeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To meet the high demand for mobile data, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) established a set of standards known as 5G New Radio (5G NR). The architecture of 5G NR includes a flexible radio access network and a core network. 3GPP has also been working on a new radio access technology, called 5G NR Unlicensed (5G NR-U), which aims at extending 5G NR to unlicensed bands. In this article, we give an overview of the most recent 5G NR-U design elements and discuss potential concerns, including fair coexistence with other unlicensed technologies such as Wi-Fi. We use simulations to study coexistence between Wi-Fi and 5G NR-U systems. Our evaluation indicates that NR-U often achieves higher throughput and lower delay than Wi-Fi (802.11ac). The two systems experience different buffer occupancies and spectrum utilization statistics. We also discuss the improvements that NR-U offers over LTE Licensed Assisted Access (LTE-LAA).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-701
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • 5G mobile networks
  • 5G new radio unlicensed
  • IEEE 802.11
  • Next generation networks
  • UNII bands
  • Wi-Fi
  • licensed assisted access
  • wireless LAN
  • wireless communications
  • wireless networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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