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What Is URLLC? How Does It Work & What Are the Use Cases?

URLLC is an important subset of the 5G network architecture. We discuss what URLLC is, how it works, why it matters, and the use cases it supports.

What Is URLLC?

Ultra-reliable low-latency communications is a part of the 5G network architecture.  Because of its extremely low latency and high reliability, it supports important use cases such as the following:

  • Remote healthcare
  • Connected vehicles
  • Industrial automation

Why URLLC Matters

To put URLLC into perspective, imagine a remote controlled or autonomous vehicle speeding down the highway. The vehicle requires a continuous stream of data in order to process live requests, respond to emergency vehicles, and react to real-world events such as weather changes, oncoming vehicles, and traffic jams. Even on the fastest 4G networks, this wouldn’t be viable for long due to the autonomous vehicle’s need for continuous live data.

URLLC provides roughly one-millisecond latency for data transmissions and over 5-9s network reliability. This opens up a whole new realm of technology that was once impossible to implement. Much like how 4G paved the way for smartphones and video streaming, 5G enables URLLC technology such as remote healthcare, augmented reality, and more.

How URLLC Works

URLLC is made possible through multiple advancements across the 5G standard and network architecture. This new design allows for more efficient data transfers, shorter transmission through larger subcarriers, and improved scheduling through overlapping transmissions.

URLLC Spectrum

URLLC typically takes place across the 5G NR frequency ranges FR1 and FR2. FR1 (also referred to as Sub-6) ranges from 410MHz to 7125MHz, while FR2 spans 24.45GHz to 52.6GHz. These higher frequency ranges offer the best performance and data rates possible.

URLLC Transmission

URLLC also relies on network slicing to allocate network resources and optimize traffic. Network slicing leverages virtualization to create multiple networks on the same physical infrastructure, enabling each “slice” to have its own security, latency, and throughput requirements.

5G NR also enables multiplexing across the same frequency, which in turn allows devices to access the spectrum without queuing behind slower transmissions. When combined with technology like beamforming and packet retransmission, you begin to lower latency and increase reliability to create a network capable of URLLC.

URLLC Use Cases

URLLC has laid the groundwork for a number of different applications and use cases. While many of these industries use multiple bands of 5G, below we’ll focus on how they specifically use URLLC to achieve their goals.


Healthcare facilities utilize URLLC to monitor critical patients in real time, track assets across campus, perform patient visits, and train new staff through augmented reality. Administrators can take full advantage of network slicing to create quality of service rules that reliably schedule and allocate cellular resources across campus.

Many hospitals consider to deploy public 5G over their existing Wi-Fi networks as a high-performance overlay to improve the reliability of their critical applications, at far less the operational cost due to savings in the number of access points required. This overlay network monitors wearable health sensors and live security feeds while also collecting information from ventilators, dialysis machines, and other life-saving devices.

Autonomous Vehicles

While ubiquitous autonomous vehicles are still years away, many enterprises and transport companies are leveraging driverless vehicles to improve staff safety, reduce operational costs, and automate their logistics.

As mentioned earlier, URLLC plays a vital role in keeping vehicles on track and people safe. Administrators often use a combination of indoor and outdoor access points to create blanket private 5G coverage for vehicles as they move throughout the property. Through the use of small cells and repeaters, network operators can eliminate dead zones caused by dense foliage, glass windows, and concrete walls.

Industrial IoT

In recent years, industrial plants have begun to adopt 5G to support their URLLC needs. Industrial processes require precise predictive monitoring and continuous data collection in order to maintain safety and improve their performance over time.

In the past, the level of performance required was only possible through wired networks, which were time-consuming and expensive to implement. Today, URLLC provides wired-like reliability and performance across the enterprise to serve industrial IoT sensors, safety systems, and robotics.

URLLC On Private 5G Networks

Private 5G networks allow enterprises to untether themselves from commercial carriers and take complete control of their network infrastructure and cellular resources. In many cases, commercial carriers offer little in terms of control or transparency when it comes to how your data is segmented and transported. 

Until recently, designing, building, and implementing a private mobile network was costly and complex, often requiring enterprises to hire cellular experts to build and maintain the network. Today, 5G LAN architecture simplifies this process making URLLC possible for any enterprise with an IT department.

Deploy URLLC With Celona 5G LANs

Celona provides enterprise organizations with their own private 5G network as a seamless turnkey solution. Through the simple yet powerful 5G LAN architecture, organizations can easily deploy plug-and-play cellular access point hardware throughout their environment to get started in days, not weeks.

Celona 5G LAN solution integrates directly with your existing architecture allowing administrators to easily synchronize network access and QoS policies across the enterprise from a cloud-based dashboard. Behind the scenes, the Celona Edge acts the private mobile network core and provides proactive monitoring to ensure network service level objectives, such as throughput and latency requirements, are consistently being met.

Celona uses cloud networking principles to make implementing 5G LANs an out-of-box experience. Onboarding can be done alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, tightly integrated with existing enterprise L2/3 network configuration, without having to build a separate IP network to support cellular users or without having to interrupt business operations.

If you’re looking to make private cellular a part of your business, Celona can help. Check out our network planner to estimate the size of your 5G LAN on private cellular spectrum, such as CBRS in the United States, or test-drive Celona’s unique solution for yourself with a free trial.

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