On the design details of SS/PBCH, Signal Generation and PRACH in 5G-NR
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specification of the fifth generation (5G) New Radio (NR) allows for a highly scalable and flexible radio access technology to cater to network operators with different requirements. Such scalability and flexibilities in network configurations inevitably translate to complications in the design and implementation of 5G-NR systems. Radio access in 5G-NR is much more complex and involved than its predecessor, 4G long term evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced technology. Therefore, the 5G-NR specifications turn out to be quite dense. Specifically, the specifications are concise, design motivations rarely explained, and the information can be convoluted or distributed across several documents. Moreover, there are several key design details associated with the access layer procedures for any given physical layer channel, which are often omitted in the specifications. For example, design motivation aspects of initial access channels or signal generation can be quite difficult to follow or understand in 5G-NR. In this paper, all the design details associated with initial access channels and signal generation in 5G-NR specifications are laid out. The contributions of the paper are three folds. First, the design details and justifications associated with both downlink and uplink access channels are presented along with signal generation details. Secondly, receiver design aspects of NR PRACH short formats are discussed. Lastly, PRACH receiver implementation aspects and performance reports from different network operators are presented and compared with 3GPP specified Radio Performance and Protocol aspect requirements for millimeter wave (mmW) access. The work in this paper is of significant value to researchers and system engineers looking to design and build initial access algorithms as part of 5G NR systems.
 Radio Performance and Protocol aspect requirements are specified by the 3GPP Radio Access Network working group 4, also known as RAN4.