n78: Introducing 5G NR Frequency Band
n78 is a frequency band designated by the 5G NR standard. Note that in 5G, the NR bands are defined with prefix of “n”. When the NR band is overlapping with the 4G LTE band, they share the same band number.
5G Band Name
Operating Band (MHz)
3300 to 3800 MHz
620000 to 653333
Supported Channel Bandwidths
10 15 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 MHz
In many countries, n78 (3500 MHz), or commonly referred to as the 3.5 GHz 5G band, or C-band 5G, is the most commonly tested and deployed 5G frequency. The n78 band’s popularity is due to its relatively common availability, compared to lower cellular spectrum (below 2700MHz) already widely in use by 3G and 4G networks.
Key performance objectives of the 5G NR standard require large blocks of contiguous spectrum to operate large channel widths and hence offer users high capacity throughput. With spectrum a valuable resource, operators have to implement 5G NR on higher cellular bands. The 3.5 GHz band has been historically used in small, adhoc WiMAX and proprietary format point-to-multipoint (P2MP) wireless networks. Many countries therefore have to ask ISP operators to vacate spectrum from 3300 to 3800 MHz ahead of national auctions to reallocate the band for 5G services.
n78 coverage is naturally limited in range and building penetration by the propagation characteristics of the higher frequencies used, however the effect has in some ways been mitigated by advanced processing techniques such as massive MIMO, beam-forming, and beam-tracking. Measured propagation has been reported to be similar to early B3 (1800 MHz) 4G networks. The shorter wavelength does have the advantage of making the complex antenna technologies used in 5G (such as Massive MIMO 128T128R) more compact and hence more feasible to deploy.
Some early n78 networks such as those deployed prior to spectrum auctions use smaller channel widths. The most popular channel width for fully deployed n78 5G networks is the maximum 100 MHz.
5G gNodeB Base Station Products supporting n78
CableFree Emerald 5G NR Base Stations are available in versions supporting n78. These base stations are available in various versions:
- Macro Cell configuration with 3 or 6 sectors per base site
- Small Cell configuration with 1 or 2 sectors per Small Cell unit
- Choice of 2×2 or 4×4 MIMO
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