5G/NR - MiniSlot                                           Home : www.sharetechnote.com

 

 

 

 

You may heard of MiniSlot in various 5G/NR related white papers and presentations even before 5G/NR 3GPP technical specification roll out. However, I still don't find any formal term 'MiniSlot' in 3GPP TS spec as of now (Jan 2019). It implies that 'MiniSlot' would not be the formal term even if it is possible to implement it.

Based on the white papers and presentations that I saw (Ref [1] for example), they define 'MiniSlot' as a slot that carries PDSCH or PUSCH with only a few symbol length(e.g, 2 symbols, 4 symbols etc) as illustrated below.

 

 

 

How to implement MiniSlot ?

 

As of now(Jan 2019), I don't see any explicit description on MiniSlot implemenations in 3GPP spec. Probably we may see some when eMTC or URLLC related specification is fully specified even if they would not use the term 'MiniSlot'.

 

I think we can think of roughly two different ways to implement mini-slot as described below. But as of now (Mar 2020), I haven't found any explicit description on how to implement mini-slot in 3GPP (I might have missed the spec, it will be appreciated if any readers let me know if they managed to find the specification). ==> Recently (Mar 2021) one of the reader kindly let me know that there is some descriptions on the minislot in TR 38.912-8.1. I realized that this description was there since Rel 15 but I just didn't know about it.

 

 

Case 1 :  Using Regular scheduling (i.e, using DCI 1_x, DCI 0_x and SLIV)

 

Transmit a DCI that schedule PDSCH with 2 or 4 symbols (using SLIV). In most of white papers, they show that DCI(PDSCH) symbol is directly followed by PDSCH. Also most of white paper illustrates that the DCI and PDSCH is located in the same slot (i.e, K0 = 0). But I think it is possible to schedule PDSCH in such way that DCI and PDSCH is not in the same slot(i.e, K0 is not Zero).

 

Like DL Minislot (PDSCH MiniSlot), we can transmit UL minislot(PUSCH minislot) in similar way as shown below.

Transmit a DCI that schedule PUSCH with 2 or 4 symbols (using SLIV). In most of white papers, they show that DCI(PUSCH) symbol is directly followed by PUSCH, but in practice it is likely to put one or more symbol gaps between DCI and PUSCH because switching between DL(DCI/PDCCH) and UL(PUSCH) without any guard period would be very challenging.

Also most of white paper illustrates that the DCI and PUSCH is located in the same slot (i.e, K2 = 0). But I think it is possible to schedule PDSCH in such way that DCI and PUSCH is not in the same slot(i.e, K2 is not Zero).

 

 

Case 2 :  Using SlotformatCombination and DCI 2_0

 

Another way I can think of is to pick a short symbol slots from SlotformatCombination (e.g, Slotformat 9, 17 etc) and schedule the slot using DCI 2_0.

 

 

 

Length of Minislot

 

How short the minislot can be ? The length of minislot is described in TR 38.912 as follows.

  • At least above 6 GHz, mini-slot with length 1 symbol supported. ==> According to SLIV table defined in 3GPP specification, 1 symbol mini-slot is supported only for Uplink. For downlink, the shortest slot is 2 symbol length.
    • Lengths from 2 to slot length - 1
    • For URLLC, at least 2 is supported

 

 

 

Why Minislot ?

 

Why we need a special slot called mini-slot ? That is, what is the motivation for the mini-slot ? The motivation (use-case) for the mini-slot is described in TR 38.912-8.1 as follows.

  • Support of very low latency including URLLC for certain slot lengths ==> I think this is the biggest motivation
  • Target slot lengths are at least 1ms, 0.5ms.
  • Support of finer TDM granularity of scheduling for the same/different UEs within a slot, especially if TRxP uses beam-sweeping (e.g., above 6GHz).
  • NR-LTE co-existence, Note that this use case also exists for slot-based scheduling  ==> See DSS page
  • Forward compatibility towards unlicensed spectrum operation

 

 

 

Design Consideration for Minislot

 

The base line consideration for the designing mini-slot is also described in TR 38.912 as follows. To me, it sound as if mini-slot is just a form of regular slot. That is, it is just a regular slot with very short symbol lengh. For all other aspect (e.g, DMRS, HARQ, DL control, UCI feedback etc) there is no difference between minislot and regular slot.

  • Possible occurrence of mini-slot/slot transmission(s) occupying resources scheduled for ongoing slot transmission(s) of a given carrier for the same/different UEs
  • DM-RS for mini-slot-level data channel is just a re-use of that for slot-level data channel
  • DL control channel for mini-slot-level data scheduling is just a re-use of that for slot-level data scheduling
  • UL control channel for mini-slot-level UCI feedback is just a re-use of that for slot-level UCI feedback
  • Scheduling/HARQ timelines for a mini-slot can be based on scheduling/HARQ timelines for a slot
  • Scheduling/HARQ timelines for a mini-slot can be based on scheduling/HARQ timelines shorter than those for a slot

 

 

 

Reference

 

[1] Designing 5G NR (Qualcomm)

[2] 3GPP TR 38.912 5G;Study on New Radio (NR) access technology - 8.1 Numerologies and frame structure