7-11 December 2020, Taipei, Taiwan
Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) is one of the main services in 5G New Radio (NR) to serve the applications with the strict requirements of latency and reliability. Increase of mobile traffic and bandwidth requirements for new applications have resulted in a shortage of licensed spectrum so that even URLLC services are deemed to be running over the unlicensed spectrum. This may require a significant re-design of channel access, transmission and reception procedures over the unlicensed spectrum and is currently being investigated in The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 17. This paper focuses on the channel access mechanism for URLLC services over the unlicensed spectrum. It provides an analytical analysis of current channel access procedures, listen before talk (LBT). LBT states in random duration channel access are modeled through Markov chains which help characterize the closed form expressions for average channel access time. These expressions are evaluated using the parameters from currently standardized channel access priority classes. The evaluation shows the total inability of several current channel access classes to support URLLC services over the unlicensed spectrum even under low load conditions. The insights gained from this analysis lead the proposal of new channel access priority classes where new special classes are introduced for URLLC services. The results are provided demonstrating the improved performance of URLLC services in the unlicensed spectrum with the proposed changes in the channel access procedures.