In order to utilise radio resources efficiently, MAC in gNB includes dynamic resource schedulers that allocate physical layer resources for the downlink and the uplink. In this clause, an overview of the scheduler is given in terms of scheduler operation, signalling of scheduler decisions, and measurements.
Taking into account the UE buffer status and the QoS requirements of each UE and associated radio bearers, schedulers assign resources between UEs;
Schedulers may assign resources taking account the radio conditions at the UE identified through measurements made at the gNB and/or reported by the UE;
Resource assignment consists of radio resources (resource blocks).
Signalling of Scheduler Decisions:
UEs identify the resources by receiving a scheduling (resource assignment) channel.
Measurements to Support Scheduler Operation:
Uplink buffer status reports (measuring the data that is buffered in the logical channel queues in the UE) are used to provide support for QoS-aware packet scheduling;
Power headroom reports (measuring the difference between the nominal UE maximum transmit power and the estimated power for uplink transmission) are used to provide support for power aware packet scheduling.
In the downlink, the gNB can dynamically allocate resources to UEs via the C-RNTI on PDCCH(s). A UE always monitors the PDCCH(s) in order to find possible assignments when its downlink reception is enabled (activity governed by DRX when configured). When CA is configured, the same C-RNTI applies to all serving cells.
The gNB may pre-empt an ongoing PDSCH transmission to one UE with a latency-critical transmission to another UE. The gNB can configure UEs to monitor interrupted transmission indications using INT-RNTI on a PDCCH. If a UE receives the interrupted transmission indication, the UE may assume that no useful information to that UE was carried by the resource elements included in the indication, even if some of those resource elements were already scheduled to this UE.
In addition, with Semi-Persistent Scheduling (SPS), the gNB can allocate downlink resources for the initial HARQ transmissions to UEs: RRC defines the periodicity of the configured downlink assignments while PDCCH addressed to CS-RNTI can either signal and activate the configured downlink assignment, or deactivate it; i.e. a PDCCH addressed to CS-RNTI indicates that the downlink assignment can be implicitly reused according to the periodicity defined by RRC, until deactivated.
The dynamically allocated downlink reception overrides the configured downlink assignment in the same serving cell, if they overlap in time. Otherwise a downlink reception according to the configured downlink assignment is assumed, if activated.
The UE may be configured with up to 8 active configured downlink assignments for a given BWP of a serving cell. When more than one is configured:
The network decides which of these configured downlink assignments are active at a time (including all of them); and
Each configured downlink assignment is activated separately using a DCI command and deactivation of configured downlink assignments is done using a DCI command, which can either deactivate a single configured downlink assignment or multiple configured downlink assignments jointly.
In the uplink, the gNB can dynamically allocate resources to UEs via the C-RNTI on PDCCH(s). A UE always monitors the PDCCH(s) in order to find possible grants for uplink transmission when its downlink reception is enabled (activity governed by DRX when configured). When CA is configured, the same C-RNTI applies to all serving cells.
The gNB may cancel a PUSCH transmission, or a repetition of a PUSCH transmission, or an SRS transmission of a UE for another UE with a latency-critical transmission. The gNB can configure UEs to monitor cancelled transmission indications using CI-RNTI on a PDCCH. If a UE receives the cancelled transmission indication, the UE shall cancel the PUSCH transmission from the earliest symbol overlapped with the resource or the SRS transmission overlapped with the resource indicated by cancellation (see clause 11.2A of TS 38.213).
In addition, with Configured Grants, the gNB can allocate uplink resources for the initial HARQ transmissions and HARQ retransmissions to UEs. Two types of configured uplink grants are defined:
With Type 1, RRC directly provides the configured uplink grant (including the periodicity).
With Type 2, RRC defines the periodicity of the configured uplink grant while PDCCH addressed to CS-RNTI can either signal and activate the configured uplink grant, or deactivate it; i.e. a PDCCH addressed to CS-RNTI indicates that the uplink grant can be implicitly reused according to the periodicity defined by RRC, until deactivated.
If the UE is not configured with enhanced intra-UE overlapping resources prioritization, the dynamically allocated uplink transmission overrides the configured uplink grant in the same serving cell, if they overlap in time. Otherwise an uplink transmission according to the configured uplink grant is assumed, if activated.
If the UE is configured with enhanced intra-UE overlapping resources prioritization, in case a configured uplink grant transmission overlaps in time with dynamically allocated uplink transmission or with another configured uplink grant transmission in the same serving cell, the UE prioritizes the transmission based on the comparison between the highest priority of the logical channels that have data to be transmitted and which are multiplexed or can be multiplexed in MAC PDUs associated with the overlapping resources. Similarly, in case a configured uplink grant transmissions or a dynamically allocated uplink transmission overlaps in time with a scheduling request transmission, the UE prioritizes the transmission based on the comparison between the priority of the logical channel which triggered the scheduling request and the highest priority of the logical channels that have data to be transmitted and which are multiplexed or can be multiplexed in MAC PDU associated with the overlapping resource. In case the MAC PDU associated with a deprioritized transmission has already been generated, the UE keeps it stored to allow the gNB to schedule a retransmission. The UE may also be configured by the gNB to transmit the stored MAC PDU as a new transmission using a subsequent resource of the same configured uplink grant configuration when an explicit retransmission grant is not provided by the gNB.
Retransmissions other than repetitions are explicitly allocated via PDCCH(s) or via configuration of a retransmission timer.
The UE may be configured with up to 12 active configured uplink grants for a given BWP of a serving cell. When more than one is configured, the network decides which of these configured uplink grants are active at a time (including all of them). Each configured uplink grant can either be of Type 1 or Type 2. For Type 2, activation and deactivation of configured uplink grants are independent among the serving cells. When more than one Type 2 configured grant is configured, each configured grant is activated separately using a DCI command and deactivation of Type 2 configured grants is done using a DCI command, which can either deactivate a single configured grant configuration or multiple configured grant configurations jointly.
When SUL is configured, the network should ensure that an active configured uplink grant on SUL does not overlap in time with another active configured uplink grant on the other UL configuration.
For both dynamic grant and configured grant, for a transport block, two or more repetitions can be in one slot, or across slot boundary in consecutive available slots with each repetition in one slot. For both dynamic grant and configured grant Type 2, the number of repetitions can be also dynamically indicated in the L1 signalling. The dynamically indicated number of repetitions shall override the RRC configured number of repetitions, if both are present.
Measurement reports are required to enable the scheduler to operate in both uplink and downlink. These include transport volume and measurements of a UEs radio environment.
Uplink buffer status reports (BSR) are needed to provide support for QoS-aware packet scheduling. In NR, uplink buffer status reports refer to the data that is buffered in for a group of logical channels (LCG) in the UE. Four formats are used for reporting in uplink:
A short format to report only one BSR (of one LCG);
A flexible long format to report several BSRs (up to all eight LCGs);
An extended short format to report one BSR (of one LCG);
An extended long format to report several BSRs (up to all 256 LCGs).
Uplink buffer status reports are transmitted using MAC signalling. When a BSR is triggered (e.g. when new data arrives in the transmission buffers of the UE), a Scheduling Request (SR) can be transmitted by the UE (e.g. when no resources are available to transmit the BSR).
For IAB, the Pre-emptive BSR can be configured on the backhaul links. The Pre-emptive BSR is sent based on expected data rather than buffered data, as described in clause 188.8.131.52.
Power headroom reports (PHR) are needed to provide support for power-aware packet scheduling. In NR, three types of reporting are supported: a first one for PUSCH transmission, a second one for PUSCH and PUCCH transmission in an LTE Cell Group in EN-DC (see TS 37.340) and a third one for SRS transmission on SCells configured with SRS only. In case of CA, when no transmission takes place on an activated SCell, a reference power is used to provide a virtual report. To allow network to detect UL power reduction, the PHR reports may also contain Power Management Maximum Power Reduction (P-MPR, see TS 38.101-2) information that UE uses to ensure UE compliance with the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) exposure regulation for FR2, which is set for limiting RF exposure on human body. Power headroom reports are transmitted using MAC signalling.
In downlink, for GBR flows, the gNB guarantees the GFBR and ensures that the MFBR is not exceeded while for non-GBR flows, it ensures that the UE-AMBR is not exceeded (see clause 12). When configured for a GBR flow, the gNB also ensures that the MDBV is not exceeded. When received and supported, the gNB in addition ensures that the UE-Slice-MBR is not exceeded as specified in TS 23.501.
The UE has an uplink rate control function which manages the sharing of uplink resources between logical channels. RRC controls the uplink rate control function by giving each logical channel a priority, a prioritised bit rate (PBR), and a buffer size duration (BSD). The values signalled need not be related to the ones signalled via NG to the gNB. In addition, mapping restrictions can be configured (see clause 16.1.2).
The uplink rate control function ensures that the UE serves the logical channel(s) in the following sequence:
All relevant logical channels in decreasing priority order up to their PBR;
All relevant logical channels in decreasing priority order for the remaining resources assigned by the grant.
If more than one logical channel have the same priority, the UE shall serve them equally.
To enable reasonable UE battery consumption when CA is configured, an activation/deactivation mechanism of Cells is supported. When an SCell is deactivated, the UE does not need to receive the corresponding PDCCH or PDSCH, cannot transmit in the corresponding uplink, nor is it required to perform CQI measurements. Conversely, when an SCell is active, the UE shall receive PDSCH and PDCCH (if the UE is configured to monitor PDCCH from this SCell) and is expected to be able to perform CQI measurements. NG-RAN ensures that while PUCCH SCell (a Secondary Cell configured with PUCCH) is deactivated, SCells of secondary PUCCH group (a group of SCells whose PUCCH signalling is associated with the PUCCH on the PUCCH SCell) should not be activated. NG-RAN ensures that SCells mapped to PUCCH SCell are deactivated before the PUCCH SCell is changed or removed.
When reconfiguring the set of serving cells:
SCells added to the set are initially activated or deactivated;
SCells which remain in the set (either unchanged or reconfigured) do not change their activation status (activated or deactivated).
At handover or connection resume from RRC_INACTIVE:
SCells are activated or deactivated.
To enable reasonable UE battery consumption when BA is configured, only one UL BWP for each uplink carrier and one DL BWP or only one DL/UL BWP pair can be active at a time in an active serving cell, all other BWPs that the UE is configured with being deactivated. On deactivated BWPs, the UE does not monitor the PDCCH, does not transmit on PUCCH, PRACH and UL-SCH.
To enable fast SCell activation when CA is configured, one dormant BWP can be configured for an SCell. If the active BWP of the activated SCell is a dormant BWP, the UE stops monitoring PDCCH and transmitting SRS/PUSCH/PUCCH on the SCell but continues performing CSI measurements, AGC and beam management, if configured. A DCI is used to control entering/leaving the dormant BWP for one or more SCell(s) or one or more SCell group(s).
The dormant BWP is one of the UE's dedicated BWPs configured by network via dedicated RRC signalling. The SpCell and PUCCH SCell cannot be configured with a dormant BWP.
To enable fast SCell activation when CA is configured, aperiodic CSI-RS for tracking for fast SCell activation can be configured for an SCell to assist AGC and time/frequency synchronization. A MAC CE is used to trigger activation of one or more SCell(s) and trigger the aperiodic CSI-RS for tracking for fast SCell activation for a (set of) deactivated SCell(s).
An NR cell may use spectrum that overlaps or is adjacent to spectrum in use for E-UTRA cells. In this case network signalling enables coordination of TDM and FDM cell resources between MAC in the gNB and the corresponding entity in the ng-eNB. Both the gNB and the ng-eNB can trigger the E-UTRA - NR Cell Resource Coordination procedure over Xn to its peer node.
If the IAB-DU and the IAB-MT of an IAB-node are subject to a half-duplex constraint, correct transmission / reception by one cannot be guaranteed during transmission/reception by the other and vice versa, e.g., when collocated and operating in the same frequency. If an IAB-node supports enhanced frequency or spatial multiplexing capabilities, additional multiplexing modes can be supported, i.e., simultaneous operation of IAB-MT Rx / IAB-DU Rx, IAB-MT Tx / IAB-DU Tx, IAB-MT Rx / IAB-DU Tx, IAB-MT Tx / IAB-DU Rx. An IAB-node can report its duplexing constraints between the IAB-MT and the collocated IAB-DU via F1AP. An IAB-node can indicate via F1AP whether or not FDM is required for an enhanced multiplexing operation.
The scheduler on an IAB-DU or IAB-donor-DU complies with the gNB-DU resource configuration received via F1AP, which defines the usage of scheduling resources to account for the aforementioned duplexing constraint.
The resource configuration assigns an attribute of hard, soft or unavailable to each symbol of each DU cell. Transmission/reception can occur for symbols configured as hard, whereas scheduling cannot occur, except for some special cases, for symbols configures as unavailable. For symbols configured as soft, scheduling can occur conditionally on an explicit indication of availability by the parent node via DCI format 2_5, or on an implicit determination of availability by the IAB-node. The implicit determination of availability is determined by the IAB-node depending on whether or not the operation of the IAB-DU would have an impact on the collocated IAB-MT.
The resource configuration can be shared among neighbouring IAB-nodes and IAB-donors to facilitate interference management, dual connectivity, and enhanced multiplexing.
To facilitate transitioning from IAB-MT to IAB-DU operation and vice versa, guard symbols can be used to overcome potentially misaligned symbol boundaries between the IAB-MT operation and the IAB-DU operation (e.g., IAB-MT Rx boundaries are not aligned with the IAB-DU Tx boundaries). Specifically, an IAB-node can indicate to a parent node a number of desired guard symbols, while the parent node can indicate to the IAB-node the number of actually provided guard symbols for specific transitions.
An IAB-node supporting enhanced multiplexing capabilities, i.e., IAB-MT Rx / IAB-DU Rx, IAB-MT Tx / IAB-DU Tx, IAB-MT Rx / IAB-DU Tx, IAB-MT Tx / IAB-DU Rx, can provide via MAC-CE to a parent node information to facilitate scheduling for enhanced multiplexing operation by the IAB-node, specifically: