5G Frequency Bands, Channels for FR1 & FR2

5G wireless technology utilises a variety of frequency bands within ranges known as FR1 below 7.125 GHz and FR2 above 24.250 GHz for the 5G New Radio, 5G NR

5G Cellular Technology Tutorial Includes:
5G Technology     5G Requirements     5G NR, New Radio     5G NG NextGen Network     5G waveforms & modulation     5G multiple access scheme     5G mmWave     Massive MIMO & beam-forming     Frequency bands & channels     Data channels: physical, transport & logical     Voice over New Radio, VoNR    

The 5G new radio, 5G NR utilises a variety of different frequency bands. Like the other mobile communications systems, the frequency allocations are located in a variety of areas of the radio spectrum.

The allocation of the 5G mobile communications frequency bands is typically undertaken by international agreement, although the numbering is undertaken by 3GPP. This reduces the levels of interference and and enables roaming to be undertaken more easily - the more bands there are the more difficult it is to make radios that can roam universally.

5G Mobile Technology

With the increasing usage of mobile communications, additional frequencies and bands aree needed to accommodate the 5G technology. Not only are many of the existing bands to be re-used for 5G wireless technology, but new ones are being allocation.

In a new feature for 5G mobile communications, frequencies in the millimetre wave region of the spectrum will be used. The much greater bandwidth available in these regions is very much higher allowing for greater data speeds to be achieved, but the range of the signals is shorter, although this will give better frequency re-usage.

Frequency ranges, FR1 & FR2

Two different frequency ranges are available for the 5G technology and the different ranges have been designated FR1 - frequency range 1 and FR2 - frequency range 2.

The bands in frequency range 1, FR1 are envisaged to carry much of the traditional cellular mobile communications traffic.

The higher frequency bands in range FR2 are aimed at providing short range very high data rate capability for the 5G radio. With 5G wireless technology anticipated to carry much higher speed data, the additional bandwidth of these higher frequency bands will be needed.

Originally the FR1 band was intended to define bands below 6 GHz, but with anticipated additional spectrum allocations, the FR1 range was extended to 7.125 GHz after the WRC19, World Radio Conference in 2019 where global spectrum allocations were agreed.

Frequency Ranges, FR1 & FR2 for 5G NR
Frequency range designation Frequency Range (MHz)
FR1 410 - 7 125
FR2 24 250 - 52 600

FR1 5G frequency bands

The frequency bands in FR1 utilise many of the same frequency bands as those used for 4G and other mobile communications cellular services. It is envisaged that over time, the channels and also the bands used for carrying 5G data will take over more of the bands already allocated to mobile or cellular telecommunications. In this way, 5G wireless technology will be able to carry the required traffic levels.

Bands have been set aside for frequency division duplex, FDD usage, or time division duplex, TDD usage. For FDD usage, frequency bands are required for the uplink and downlink, and therefore two bands are allocated. For TDD usage, only a single channel is used for the link: time slots are allocated for the uplink and downlink rather than different frequencies. As a result, for TDD only one band is needed.

5G FR1 Frequency Bands
5G NR Frequency Band Uplink band (MHz) Downlink Band (MHz) Duplex Mode
n1 1920 - 1980 2110 - 2170 FDD
n2 1850 - 1910 1930 - 1990 FDD
n3 1710 - 1785 1805 - 1880 FDD
n5 824 - 849 869 - 894 FDD
n7 2500 - 2570 2620 - 2690 FDD
n8 880 - 915 925 - 960 FDD
n12 699 - 716 729 - 746 FDD
n20 832 - 862 791 - 821 FDD
n25 1850 - 1915 1930 - 1995 FDD
n28 703 - 748 758 - 803 FDD
n34 2010 - 20225 TDD
n38 2570 - 2620 TDD
n39 1880 - 1920 TDD
n40 2300 - 2400 TDD
n41 2496 - 2690 TDD
n50 1432 - 1517 TDD
n51 1427 - 1432 TDD
n66 1710 - 1780 TDD
n70 1695 - 1710 TDD
n71 663 - 698 TDD
n74 1427 - 1470 TDD
n75 -- 1432 - 1517 SDL
n76 -- 1427 - 1432 SDL
n77 3300 - 4200 TDD
n78 3300 - 3800 TDD
n79 4400 - 5000 TDD
n80 1710 - 1785 -- SUL
n81 8800 - 915 -- SUL
n82 832 - 862 -- SUL
n83 703 - 748 -- SUL
n84 1920 - 1980 -- SUL
n86 1710 - 1780 -- SUL

In addition to the FDD and TDD bands, other bands have been allocated to provide supplementary uplink and downlink capacity. The bands marked SDL are for supplementary downlinks and SUL are for supplementary uplinks.

FR2 5G frequency bands

The frequency range 2, FR2 5G bands are now starting to gain momentum with new development to make the microwave links viable for the large scale deployment that will be needed.

Allocations are being made in many areas of the spectrum above 20 GHz as it is relatively lightly used at the moment.

5G FR2 Frequency Bands
5G NR Frequency Band Uplink band (MHz) Downlink Band (MHz) Duplex Mode
n257 26 500 - 29500 26500 - 29500 TDD
n258 24 250 - 27 500 24 250 - 27 500 TDD
n260 37 000 - 40 000 37 000 - 40 000 TDD
n261 27 500 - 28 350 27 500 - 28 350 TDD

5G NR supports carrier aggregation to enable the system to provide the required bandwidth for the very high speed data transfers. The specification allows for up to 16 component carriers to be aggregated using various combinations of inter-band and intra-band carrier aggregation.

The feature can be used in a smart fashion to overcome some of the issues that may occur not only with increased bandwidth, but also to overcome the issues of increased path loss at higher frequencies.

In terms of the allocations above it will be seen that supplementary uplinks, SUL and supplementary downlinks, SDL can be used.

5G NR frequency band parameters summary

There are several different parameters that are specified for the 5G NR physical layer. Sometimes these are specified differently according to the frequency of the 5G NR signal. Aspects like the number of carriers, subcarrier spacing, modulation scheme and a number of other parameters.

The table below summarises the signal characteristics and differentiates them according to their use on frequency band 1, FR1 and frequency band 2, FR2.

5G NR Parameters for Different Frequency Bands
5G NR Parameter FR1 FR2
Bandwidth options per carrier 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 MHz 50, 100, 200, 400 MHz
Subcarrier spacing 15, 30, 60 kHz 60, 120, 240 kHz
Maximum number of subcarriers 3300 (FFT 4096)
Carrier Aggregation Up to 16 carriers
Moodulation schemes QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256QAM, uplink also allows π/2-BPSK (only for DFT-s-OFDM).
Radio frame length 10ms
Subframe duration 1ms
Duplex mode FDD, TDD TDD
Multiple access scheme Downlink: CP-OFDM
MIMO scheme maximum of 2 codewords mapped to maximum of 8 layers in downlink and to a maximum of 4 in uplink.

It is necessary to consult the 3GPP specifications to ascertain the exact details regarding the combinations of transmission bandwidths, for a given frequency band a subcarrier spacing for both FR1 and FR2.

The frequency band allocations for 5G NR are frequently updated as new bands are made available in different countries. Many of the existing 3G and 4G mobile communications allocations will be re-purposed for 5G wireless technology, but this will occur over time as the usage of 5G increases.

Although it is anticipated that more frequency spectrum will be made available for 5G wireless technology over the coming years. It is anticipated that 3G services will be retired first, often before the 3G services, allowing 2G to be used for some signallong applications and 4G as the fallback from 5G.

Wireless & Wired Connectivity Topics:
Mobile Communications basics     2G GSM     3G UMTS     4G LTE     5G     Wi-Fi     Bluetooth     IEEE 802.15.4     DECT cordless phones     Networking fundamentals     What is the Cloud     Ethernet     Serial data     USB     LoRa     VoIP     SDN     NFV     SD-WAN
    Return to Wireless & Wired Connectivity