5G Toolbox and the 5G NR Protocol Layers

The 5G NR radio access network is comprised of these protocol entities:

  • Service data adaptation protocol (SDAP)

  • Packet data convergence protocol (PDCP)

  • Radio link control (RLC)

  • Medium access control (MAC)

  • Physical layer (PHY)

The SDAP protocol is new in 5G NR compared to the LTE protocol stack. SDAP handles the new QoS framework of the 5G System (in the 5G Core). SDAP applies also to LTE when connected to the 5G Core. The introduction of SDAP enables end-to-end QoS framework that works in both directions.

To meet the desired key capabilities of 5G NR, the other layers of the stack provide various enhancements over their LTE counterparts. The PDCP, RLC, and MAC protocols handle tasks such as header compression, ciphering, segmentation and concatenation, and multiplexing and demultiplexing. PHY handles coding and decoding, modulation and demodulation, and antenna mapping.

This figure shows the 5G NR user plane protocol stack for user equipment (UE) and the NR radio access network node (gNB). 5G Toolbox™ supports the 5G NR physical layer, including physical channels and signals. The toolbox also supports interfacing with portions of the RLC and MAC layers, including transport channels and logical channels.

Downlink Channel Mapping

5G NR system downlink data follows the mapping between logical channels, transport channels, and physical channels, as indicated in the diagram. 5G Toolbox provides the red-highlighted downlink functionality for physical channels, transport channels, and control information.

For more details, see Downlink Channels or the specific downlink channel:

Uplink Channel Mapping

5G NR system uplink data follows the mapping between logical channels, transport channels, and physical channels, as indicated in the diagram. 5G Toolbox provides the red-highlighted uplink functionality for physical channels, transport channels, and control information.

For more details, see Uplink Channels or the specific uplink channel:

References

[1] 3GPP TS 38.212. “NR; Multiplexing and channel coding.” 3rd Generation Partnership Project; Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network.

[2] 3GPP TS 38.300. “NR; NR and NG-RAN Overall Description.” 3rd Generation Partnership Project; Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network.

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