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5G New Radio based Access to Unlicensed Spectrum

September 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm

3:00 pm

207 DeBartolo Hall

Dr. Ralf Bendlin

Principal Member of Technical Staff

AT&T Labs


Existing and future radio spectrum that is exclusively licensed by regulatory authorities to mobile network operators has been and continues to be the backbone of mobile communications systems. It uniquely provides the best coverage with unparalleled spectral efficiency, reliability, and quality of service. Nevertheless, unlicensed spectrum has successfully provided additional data connectivity in fourth-generation cellular networks such as LTE and is expected to continue doing so in fifth-generation (5G) networks. 3GPP, the standards developing organization behind the 5G New Radio (NR) wireless communications standard, has been working on NR based access to unlicensed spectrum (“NR-U”) since 2018 and the corresponding work item is nearing completion.

This seminar provides an overview of the radio access procedures of NR based access to unlicensed spectrum in the 5 and 6 GHz bands. Deployment scenarios supported by 3GPP Release 16 are briefly presented, before discussing the channel access procedures of NR-U in much detail. The second part of the seminar will then focus on the physical layer design of the air interface with special emphasis on how it meets the regulatory requirements put forward by various regulations for the bands of interest. Unlike licensed radio spectrum, unlicensed spectrum is a shared medium. Hence, the third and last part of the seminar will focus on enhancements that make 5G NR more efficient and robust when deployed in unlicensed spectrum.


Ralf Bendlin is a Principal Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Labs in Austin, Texas. Before joining AT&T Labs, he was a Senior Wireless Systems Architect with Intel Corporation in Portland, Oregon and a Systems Engineer with Texas Instruments Inc. in Dallas, Texas. He has worked on algorithm development, performance prediction, optimization, systems architecture, and technology strategy for current and next-generation wireless networks and has actively participated in the definition of several global communications standards for which he holds several patents.

Dr. Bendlin earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from the Munich University of Technology in Munich, Germany as well as a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. All degrees are in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. He is a member of the Industry Advisory Council of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame and the Technical Program Chair of the IEEE GLOBECOM 2019 Workshop on High-Dimensional, Low-Resolution Architectures for Power-Efficient Wireless Communications. He has previously served as the Technical Program Chair of the 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks, as Guest Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking (TCCN), and as a member of the Advisory Council of the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.

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