The Interpretation of 5G Related Terms


Since the end of last year, the heat of the word “5G” has remained high. As a cutting-edge communications technology, 5G has many terms. Due to the oversimplification and nastiness of the names of standards, specifications, and technologies adopted by various institutions and the complexity of 5G technology itself, there are many similar and confusing phenomena in these terms. This article will help you sort out and explain common 5G terms.

5G: IMT-2020

IMT-2020 is a term developed by the ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector in 2012 to develop the vision of “IMT for 2020 and beyond.” The ITU has set a timeline that calls for the standard to be finished in 2020. Additionally, the name IMT-2020 follows the same naming structure as IMT-2000 (3G) and IMT-Advanced (4G). In early 2017, ITU representatives partnered with academia and research institutions to complete a series of studies focused on the key 5G tech and performance requirements for IMT-2020.

5G: 3GPP R15/R16

3GPP, short for 3rd Generation Partnership Project, is an international communications organization. There are four types of members: organization members, market representatives, observers, and special guests. Organization members include ARIB (Association of Radio Industries and Businesses), ATIS (Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions), CCSA (China Communications Standards Association), ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), TSDSI (Telecommunication Standards Development Society of India), and TTA (Telecommunications Technology Association) and TTC (Telecommunication Technology Committee). Market representatives include 18 members such as 4G Americas, 5GAA and GSM Association. Observers include 3 members such as ISACC. Special guests include 27 members such as CITC and Netgear.

The 3GPP will regularly publish new wireless communication technology standards. Release 15 (R15) is the first version that includes the 5G standard. According to the plan, the second stage of the 5G, that is, the R16 will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

5G: NR

NR is short for New Radio. The technical topics involved are complex, but in simple terms, NR is a new standard for data communication between wireless devices and base stations.

The communication between the device and the base station is wireless, and the communication medium is a radio that propagates in the air. The NR is a new type of interface for wirelessly transmitting data in the air.

5G: mmWave

The mmWave, millimeter wave, is an electromagnetic wave with a frequency of 30GHz to 300GHz, and the frequency band is between a microwave and an infrared wave. Millimeter waves applied to 5G technology range from 24GHz to 100GHz. With extremely high frequency, the mmWave supports a very fast transmission rate. At the same time, its higher bandwidth also allows operators to choose a wider range of frequency bands. You need to know that there are fewer and fewer bands that are idle now.

However, the mmWave is not perfect, and its ultra-short wavelength (1mm to 10mm) makes it weak to penetrate objects, which leads to signal attenuation. These objects include air, fog, clouds, and thick objects.

Fortunately, the development of communication technologies in recent years has led people to find a way to overcome the short transmission distance of mmWave. One way is to increase the number of base stations directly. Another method is to send electromagnetic waves to the same line through a large number of small antennas to form a focused beam that is powerful enough to extend the effective transmission distance.

Short wavelengths also have advantages. For example, short wavelengths allow the transceiver antenna to be made small enough to be easily plugged into the handset. Low-volume antennas also make it easier to build multi-antenna combo systems in confined spaces.


LDPC is short for Low-Density Parity Check Code. It is a linear error correction code. It can effectively, accurately and reliably detect whether the data transmitted between devices is correct or not. This capability allows LDPC to be gradually applied to wireless data transmission in complex interference environments.

5G: Polar Code

Polar Code is a kind of linear block error correction code. Its role is the same as LDPC. It guarantees the correctness and completeness of data transmission. Polar Code and LDPC each have their own advantages, and they are applicable to different scenarios.

5G: eMBB

The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) divides 5G networks into three major types. The first is eMBB, which stands for enhanced Mobile Broadband. As the name implies, eMMB is a 5G network that is specially designed for mobile devices such as mobile phones.

The eMBB will be the first of three to be commercially available. After all, the technology maturity of modern smartphones is much higher than that of the latter two types.


The second is URLLC, short for Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications. This type of 5G network will be mainly used in industrial applications and self-driving vehicles.


The third is MMTC which stands for Massive Machine Type Communications. MMTC is the type of 5G network that will be used in the IoT (Internet of Things) and IoE (Internet of Everything) scenarios. The strength of MMTC is to allow a large number of neighboring devices to enjoy a smooth communication connection at the same time.


5G is the current technology focus of the industry, so there are many related terms that circulate online. Although it is not necessary for users to understand the underlying principles, it is still necessary to understand the basic meaning of common terms.

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