Skip to main content

URLLC Use Cases in Healthcare and Beyond

Key Takeaways

  • Ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC) enables short transmissions, efficient data transfers, and low latency.

  • The URLLC service in 5G supports use cases requiring extremely low latency in the range of 1 millisecond and 99.999% reliability.

  • Augmented reality-assisted surgery is an important URLLC use case supported by 5G network architecture. 

Healthcare is one URLLC use case

Remote diagnosis and surgery is one example of a 5G URLLC use case

5G network subscription is increasing rapidly, especially in the industry sector, to support ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC) use cases. 5G network communication is well-known for its reliability and low latency. It is the best mobile network generation available today. 5G network communication enables fast and efficient communication in use cases requiring energy efficiency, massive device density, high reliability, and low latency. It is the 5G URLLC service that makes industrial automation, smart grid utility supply, intelligent transport systems, and remote diagnosis and surgery a reality.

Let’s learn more about URLLC use cases.

What Is URLLC?

In the 5G network, URLLC enables short transmission, efficient data transfer, and low latency. URLLC service ensures short transmissions either through larger subcarrier spacing or by overlapping the transmissions. URLLC service is significant when employing 5G communication technology in remote surgery and self-driving cars. The URLLC service makes the 5G network a trusted platform for mission-critical applications requiring low latency and reliable connectivity.

A Note on Reliability and Latency

When we talk about reliability and latency in communication networks, what do we mean? Let’s define these terms.

Reliability - The capability of a network to transmit a given amount of data within a predetermined time duration with the highest success rate.

Latency - Latency deals with delays such as transmission delays, queueing delays, computing or processing delays, and retransmissions. The capability of a network to reduce the time lag between data transmission and reception is referred to as low latency.

Mini-Slot Scheduling Ensures High Reliability and Low Latency

URLLC service in 5G supports use cases requiring extremely low latency in the range of 1 millisecond and reliability of the order 99.999%. The features of low latency and high reliability are achieved through mini-slot-based scheduling.

Usually, in mobile networks, shorter transmission is realized through larger subcarrier spacing. However, URLLC service achieves efficient scheduling by introducing mini-slot scheduling. In mini-slot scheduling, the scheduling unit is smaller than the regular slots and aids in enhancing the latency requirements needed in URLLC use cases.

Supporting Low Latency

URLLC use case data requires very low latency and utilizes mini-slot scheduling. The mini-slot transmission preempts the current data transmission for quick transmission of URLLC use case data requiring extremely low latency. Mini-slot transmission can overlap URLLC data transmission with data from other service areas – for example, enhanced mobile broadband.

Supporting High Latency

The 5G network adopts codes and protocols to achieve high reliability. URLLC data transmission includes repetition using pre-configured periodic grants. The pre-configured periodic grants are not in need of dynamic uplink grants. Logical channel prioritization restrictions are used when isolating the resources of a pre-configured grant for URLLC services. The Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP) packet duplication and Low-Density Parity Check Codes (LDPC) are two other protocols and codes used in 5G architecture to enhance the reliability of URLLC data.

In the upcoming section, we will discuss one of the most significant URLLC use cases: healthcare. 

URLLC Use Case: Healthcare

URLLC use cases are mission-critical applications that require end-to-end security, definite time bounded data delivery, and 99.999% reliability. Healthcare is one of the major URLLC use cases; let’s explore a few ways URLCC is used in the industry.  

Remote Diagnosis and Surgery

Remote diagnosis and surgery is the emerging application of 5G URLLC service in the healthcare sector. Medical machines, patient sensors, and monitoring devices for disease diagnosis and surgical procedures must be secure and accessible. Data needs to be available for the right medical personnel, yet confidentiality must be maintained as well. 5G URLLC supports these applications.

Medical IoT Sensors

The use of IoT sensors is supported by 5G URLLC. These sensors track the location and performance of medical hardware such as ventilators, insulin pumps, ECG machines, etc. The inventory management of all these machines, supplies, drugs, and medical waste is also handled with the support of IoT sensors. Timely maintenance and repairs can be also ensured with tracking using IoT sensors.

Augmented Reality-Assisted Surgery

Augmented reality-assisted surgery is an important URLLC use case supported by 5G network architecture. Robotic arms and sensors can perform diagnosis and surgery. There is a dependency on augmented reality-assisted surgery to target surgical resection to enhance accuracy and minimize relapse risk.

Virtual Reality Headsets

The use of virtual reality (VR) headsets is a common URLLC use case in medical practice. VR headsets help doctors view the internal parts of the human body. Surgeons use VR headsets for surgery as well as surgical plan discussions. URLLC data transmission is extremely important while using VR headsets, as it helps overcome the latency issue between the action and response, thereby expanding the VR experience in the medical world.

Deploying URLLC use cases helps improve the workflow, outcomes, and profit in a variety of industries. Healthcare is just one example of the variety of fields benefiting from 5G URLLC services. Cadence can assist you in developing URLLC use case systems. Cadence offers highly efficient design tools and analysis that support the smooth and fast development of various URLLC use cases.

Leading electronics providers rely on Cadence products to optimize power, space, and energy needs for a wide variety of market applications. If you’re looking to learn more about our innovative solutions, talk to our team of experts or subscribe to our YouTube channel.