The Golden Medium: A Deeper Look into Release 17’s NR-Light

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4Q 2020 | IN-5951


Latest Developments on Release 17


Release 17 was scheduled to be completed in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has impeded the progress and has caused delays on key dates. The “freeze” or finalization date for Release 17 Stage 3 was set for September 2021, but a decision on a delayed date will be considered in December 2020, according to a September 21 post by 3GPP. That’s when they will decide if Release 17 will be delayed by 3, 6, or more months.

Release 17 is extending enterprise-related 5G features such as introducing positioning and sidelink enhancements, Integrated Access Backhaul (IAB), more support for Non-Public Networks (NPN), and further specifications on New Radio (NR) operation in higher millimeter wave frequencies, including operating in unlicensed spectrum (NR-U). A key specification is the introduction of the NR-Light device class that aims to cater to use cases that need higher throughput/low latency requirements while preserving device simplicity and maintaining lightweight form factors.

The Middle Ground: How NR-Light Fits In


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