Why 100MHz in 5G is more efficient than 100MHz in LTE?

5G standards define the use of wide radio channels.

Whereas 4G LTE is limited to a maximum radio channel size of 20 MHz, 5G standards specify the use of radio channels up to 100 MHz in frequency bands below 7 GHz and up to 400 MHz in mmWave radio channels at 24 GHz and higher

:green_book: Currently, most 5G deployments across the globe are taking place in the mid-spectrum bands; the only exception is perhaps the US, where some MNOs have begun deployment in high-spectrum bands.

:green_book: It’s expected, however, for all bands to eventually be used for 5G, either through dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) or spectrum re-farming.

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  • Advanced Modulation Schemes: 5G supports more advanced modulation schemes like 256-QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), which allows for higher data rates over the same amount of spectrum compared to LTE’s 64-QAM. This means that with 100MHz of spectrum, 5G can transmit more data at a higher rate, making better use of the available bandwidth.

  • Wider Channel Aggregation: 5G allows for wider channel aggregation, meaning it can combine multiple frequency bands more efficiently. This is especially beneficial in scenarios where multiple frequency bands are available, allowing 5G to aggregate them and achieve higher data rates compared to LTE.

  • Enhanced Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO): 5G systems typically support advanced MIMO configurations, such as Massive MIMO and beamforming. These technologies improve spectral efficiency by allowing the system to focus energy in specific directions and serve multiple users simultaneously. This results in higher data rates and better overall network performance.

  • Improved Spectrum Allocation: 5G is designed to work with a wider range of spectrum bands, including higher-frequency mmWave bands. These higher-frequency bands offer larger bandwidths, which can be aggregated with lower-frequency bands to provide higher data rates. LTE, on the other hand, primarily operates in lower frequency bands, limiting the amount of spectrum that can be aggregated.

  • Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: 5G incorporates dynamic spectrum sharing techniques, allowing it to efficiently allocate spectrum resources based on demand. This means that 5G can adapt and allocate more spectrum to users or applications that require it, ensuring optimal efficiency in spectrum utilization.

  • Reduced Latency: 5G is designed to have significantly lower latency compared to LTE. This low latency enables applications like real-time gaming and augmented reality, which benefit from a more responsive network. While not directly related to spectral efficiency, it enhances the overall user experience, making better use of the available spectrum.

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