5G New Radio: Physical Downlink Control Channel(NR-PDCCH)

Qs. Why we go for PDCCH?

Ans: PDCCH is used to decode DCI(Downlink Control Information ) which is of minimum 12bits coming from the upper layer. Decoding of which give scheduling allocation to the UE on the PDSCH or PUSCH. For example, if the UE has the data in the PDSCH it needs to know where the data is located. If the UE is unable to decode PDCCH then the UE can’t read the PDSCH in that sub-frame and consistent decoding failure leads to RLF(Radio Link Failure). Hence the decoding of PDCCH is extremely important.

RLF(Radio Link Failure): It’s a total connection failure between UE and gNB(Base Station).

one “Out of Sync Indication” in this diagram means “20 subframes of consecutive PDCCH decoding failure. one “In Sync Indication” in this diagram means “10 subframes of consecutive PDCCH decoding success.

Let’s go for Understanding of NR-PDCCH briefly:

First We will go for the technical terms used in the PDCCH-

1.CCE: Control Channel Element, PDCCH consists of numbers of CCEs defined by aggregation level(maximum=16) which is of power of two. It’s a group of bundles of REGs

2. Aggregation Level: Which denotes how many CCEs have used for data transmission. Based on user location we go for different aggregation levels. If the user is near to the gNB(Base Station) we go for a lower aggregation level and vice-versa.

3. Bandwidth Part: There was no flexibility in LTE in terms of bandwidth usage. We have to use the whole bandwidth for data transmission. But in the case of NR, we divide the whole bandwidth maximum of 4 as per the usage. And each part we say BandWidthPart(BWP).

Note: In one BWP we have 273 PRBs.

4CORESET: Control Resource Set is a set of time-frequency resources. it is the same as the control region in LTE whole system bandwidth is used for the DCI transmission and PCFICH is used to determine how many time-domain region{1,2,3} is used. But in NR, CORESET is not defined for whole bandwidth for some set of PRBs we are using in NR CORESET and the time-domain region is defined by RRC (Radio Resource Control is the protocol used for signaling between 5G radio network and UE) signaling.

Note: We can have a maximum of 3 CORESET per BWP.

NR-CORESET Structure

5.Search Space: It’s the place where UE goes for Blind Decoding. CORESET and Search Space are related to each other. The following equation is used to calculate CCE indices in the search space

CCEs indices calculation

Note: In one BWP maximum 10 search space exists.

CORESET to Search Space(SSP)mapping is done by Base Station. Let’s say in one DLBWP 3 SSP, to coreset0, 3ssp to coreset1 and rest in coreset2 (total 10 SSP). TS 38.331 we find inside SearchSpaceId, ControlResourceSetId exists which tell about in that search space which time domain symbol and frequency domain resource blocks we have to look for to decode DCI.

6.RNTI(Radio Network Temporary Identifier): There are different types of RNTI is used. RNTIs are used to differentiate/identify a connected UE in the cell.

Flow Chart for the PDCCH Tx

Transmitter Chain of PDCCH

Flow chart for PDCCH Receiver

Receiver Chain of PDCCH

Resource Mapping to the frame of PDCCH

Qs. Why we are going for rate matching?

Ans: In simple words to fit the data into the number of resources available for PDCCH transmission we do rate matching but for in-depth we have also heard about the Shannon Channel Capacity Theorem. Shannon showed that it is, in fact, possible to communicate at a positive rate and at the same time maintain a low error probability as desired. However, the rate is limited by a maximum rate called the channel capacity. If one attempts to send data at rates above the channel capacity i.e R>C, it will be impossible to recover it from errors. This is called Shannon’s noisy channel coding theorem and it can be summarized as follows:

● A given communication system has a maximum rate of information — C, known as the channel capacity.

● If the transmission information rate R is less than C, then the data transmission in the presence of noise can be made to happen with arbitrarily small error probabilities by using intelligent coding techniques.

● To get lower error probabilities, the encoder has to work on longer blocks of signal data. This entails longer delays and higher computational requirements.

That’s one of the reasons for Rate Matching (R≤C).

Qs. Why we go for CCE to REG interleaving?

Ans: To achieve Diversity without placing more antenna is one of the reasons we go for time and frequency diversity and CCE to REG interleaving function does the same job. It interleaves the sequence in a first-time manner then frequency. We allow data to get interleaved beyond coherence time and coherence bandwidth to achieve diversity.

Qs. Why we go for Scrambling with Pn sequence?

Ans: The scrambling process encodes every bit within every code-word depending on the scrambling sequence. The purpose of scrambling is to reject the inter-cell interference. Interference from other cells is de-scrambled as noise when the received data is de-scrambled with a known cell-specific scrambling sequence at the receiver. The scrambling process is to use input bit sequence to carry out a bit-wise XOR operation with a cell specified pseudo-random sequence generated by length-31 Gold sequence generator. The input bit sequence is the block of bits within the code-word and the output bit sequence is the scrambled sequence with the same length as the input sequence.

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This Article contributed by Anil Kr Shaw.

Anil Kr Shaw post graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad with specialization in Communication & Signal Processing..

You may reach him on Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/anil-kr-shaw-wildmelophile/

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