Long Term Evolution and New Radio

Hey there, today we are going to learn a major topic about the differences between LTE and NR. We have come across the term LTE very often. We even see a sign as VoLTE near our signal indicator on our smartphones. So, it is very important to know about the comparison of LTE with the new generation, NR. We basically will be discussing 5G vs 4G technically.

Before carrying on to read this blog, I would highly advise reading this.

Long Term Evolution (LTE)

According to the 3GPP standards, LTE is generally related to the 4th Generation Internet connection. The term “long-term evolution,” or “LTE,” refers to the specific form of 4G that provides the fastest mobile internet experience. Along with Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) and WiMax, 4G LTE is one of several competing 4G protocols (IEEE 802.16)

New Radio (NR)

According to the 3GPP standards, NR is related to the 5th Generation Internet Connection. 5G NR is a continuous mobile broadband evolution process to meet the criteria of 5G. Its goal is to make wireless broadband as good as wireline, with a fiber-like performance at a far cheaper cost-per-bit. 5G NR will grow to effectively link the huge Internet of Things (IoT). It will deliver new sorts of mission-critical services, with unprecedented levels of latency, dependability, and security.

A technical level comparison

Parameter level comparison: 5G vs 4G


  1. Frequency Range: Less than 6GHz
  2. Maximum carrier BandWidth: 20MHz
  3. Service capability: Voice, MBB, IoT


  1. Frequency Range: Up to 52.6GHz
  2. Maximum Carrier BandWidth: 400MHz
  3. Service capability: Voice, eMBB, Low Latency Applications, Massive IoT

Another element of NR is that it is forward compatible rather than backward-compatible, enhancing the amount of time and frequency resources left open for future new forms of transmission. To provide low latency transmission, NR supports a variable OFDM numerology. However, NR also offers a “mini-slot,” which allows data to be sent in a fraction of a slot for URLLC. This “mini-slot” is especially useful in an unlicensed spectrum. The transmitter must verify that the radio channel is not taken by another transmission since the transmission can begin without waiting for a slot to begin.

Low-latency support in NR is also enabled by reworking the MAC (Medium Access Control) and RLC (Radio Link Control) protocols to allow processing without knowing how much data to send. NR RLC does not offer in-sequence delivery to decrease latency.

LTE and NR both use OFDM. Unlike LTE, which only utilizes DFT-precoded OFDM in the uplink to construct single-carrier signals and so consumes less power, the NR employs non-DFT-precoded OFDM in both the uplink and downlink to enable the same transmission methods.

NR also offers receiver-bandwidth adaptation, which allows you to use a modest bandwidth to monitor control channels and receive data while only using a wideband receiver to handle extremely high data rates.

Cons of NR

However, NR has a radio structure that makes it compatible with LTE while also preparing it for future technological solutions and use cases including increased spectral efficiency, traffic capacity, and lower user plane latency.

NR, unlike LTE, is band-agnostic, supporting mm-wave frequencies up to 52,6 GHz in R15, allowing for large traffic throughput and eMBB. High-frequency bands, on the other hand, have more radio channel attenuation and hence less coverage. Though multi-antenna transmission and beamforming can somewhat compensate for this, lower frequency transmission for coverage will still be necessary for 5G.

To know more about their implementations, click here.