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Apple Invents Systems and Devices to Perform Cellular Communication in Unlicensed Spectrum such as 5G NR

1 X cover 5G NR - new radio


Earlier today Patently Apple discovered a patent filing by Apple in Europe that relates to wireless communications, and more particularly to systems, apparatuses, and methods for performing cellular communication in unlicensed spectrum, including 5G NR (New Radio), using a flexible slot structure. This is one of Apple's first patents regarding future iPhones that could implement both LTE and 5G NR standards.


Apple notes in their patent application that "To increase coverage and better serve the increasing demand and range of envisioned uses of wireless communication, in addition to the communication standards mentioned above, there are further wireless communication technologies under development, including fifth generation (5G) new radio (NR) communication. For both existing and developing wireless communication technologies, an increasingly interesting area includes communication performed in unlicensed spectrum. However, the potential coexistence of multiple wireless communication technologies in unlicensed spectrum, among various other factors, requires special consideration to ensure effective operation in such spectrum. Accordingly, improvements in the field are desired.


In many instances, unlicensed spectrum may be used for multiple types of wireless communication. Accordingly, various coexistence techniques may be used to help avoid collisions and other inefficient uses of a wireless medium that could arise from different types of wireless communication occurring on the wireless medium at the same time. In view of such coexistence, it may be beneficial for wireless communication techniques that can operate in unlicensed spectrum to be able to flexibly and dynamically adapt to different amounts of wireless medium avail ability.


Apple's invention describes some of the techniques that may include providing for the possibility of dynamically selecting the slot structure(s) used between a base station and its served wireless device(s) from among a variety of possible slot types.


Such techniques could be used by a wireless device performing 5G NR communication m an unlicensed band on a supplementary downlink only carrier, a supplementary downlink/uplink carrier, and/or in a standalone mode, among various possibilities.


Apple's patent FIG. 7 below illustrates a possible dual connectivity deployment in which the 5G NR unlicensed carrier is deployed alongside an LTE licensed carrier, e.g., as a secondary carrier for supplemental connectivity.



For those wanting to dig further into Apple's patent application titled "Flexible Slot Structure for Cellular Communication in Unlicensed Spectrum," review the full Scribd document of Apple's EU patent application courtesy of Patently Apple.  


Apple EU Patent Application - "Flexible Slot Structure for Cellular Communication in Unlicensed Spectrum." by Jack Purcher on Scribd


Apple's international patent application filing was made on February 02, 2018 and published in Europe on August 16, 2018.


For general information on 5G NR you could review the articles below:


01: (Qualcomm) 3GPP agrees on plan to accelerate 5G NR – the global 5G standard – for 2019 deployments


02: What is 5G NR (new radio) and how it works


03: What is 5G New Radio (5G NR)


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