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Sensors (Basel). 2019 Aug 16;19(16). pii: E3575. doi: 10.3390/s19163575.

On the Capacity of 5G NR Grant-Free Scheduling with Shared Radio Resources to Support Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications.

Author information

1
Department of Communications Engineering, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (UMH), Avda. de la Universidad s/n, 03202 Elche, Spain. m.lucas@umh.es.
2
Department of Communications Engineering, Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (UMH), Avda. de la Universidad s/n, 03202 Elche, Spain.

Abstract

5G and beyond networks are being designed to support the future digital society, where numerous sensors, machinery, vehicles and humans will be connected in the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). The support of time-critical verticals such as Industry 4.0 will be especially challenging, due to the demanding communication requirements of manufacturing applications such as motion control, control-to-control applications and factory automation, which will require the exchange of critical sensing and control information among the factory nodes. To this aim, important changes have been introduced in 5G for Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications (URLLC). One of these changes is the introduction of grant-free scheduling for uplink transmissions. The objective is to reduce latency by eliminating the need for User Equipments (UEs-sensors, devices or machinery) to request resources and wait until the network grants them. Grant-free scheduling can reserve radio resources for dedicated UEs or for groups of UEs. The latter option is particularly relevant to support applications with aperiodic or sporadic traffic and deterministic low latency requirements. In this case, when a UE has information to transmit, it must contend for the usage of radio resources. This can lead to potential packet collisions between UEs. 5G introduces the possibility of transmitting K replicas of the same packet to combat such collisions. Previous studies have shown that grant-free scheduling with K replicas and shared resources increases the packet delivery. However, relying upon the transmission of K replicas to achieve a target reliability level can result in additional delays, and it is yet unknown whether grant-free scheduling with K replicas and shared resources can guarantee very high reliability levels with very low latency. This is the objective of this study, that identifies the reliability and latency levels that can be achieved by 5G grant-free scheduling with K replicas and shared resources in the presence of aperiodic traffic, and as a function of the number of UEs, reserved radio resources and replicas K. The study demonstrates that current Fifth Generation New Radio (5G NR) grant-free scheduling has limitations to sustain stringent reliability and latency levels for aperiodic traffic.

KEYWORDS:

5G; Industry 4.0; URLLC; aperiodic traffic; deterministic; grant-free; latency; reliability; scheduling; time-critical; ultra-reliable and low-latency communications

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