Ericsson unveils new 5G software designed for low complexity devices

Swedish kit vendor Ericsson has announced some new RAN software that it claims will make 5G SA networks better suited to a wider range of uses.

It’s called RedCap, which is short for Reduced Capability. While you could be forgiven for wondering why you would want to reduce the capability of a network, this software is designed to accommodate devices that require minimal bandwidth. It looks like RedCap will help those devices use as little energy as possible and thus extend their battery life.

“Ericsson Reduced Capability will open up a new world of possibilities for new types of devices that do not require the full range of 5G’s capabilities,” said David Hammarwall, Head of Product Area Networks at Ericsson. “The RedCap software will enhance 5G connectivity for everything from consumer wearables to industrial sensors in a way that is both cost- and energy-efficient, unlocking a whole range of new use cases.”

The nature of the RAN these days is such that capabilities can be augmented by a simple software update and this one is expected to be commercially available in November of this year. It will potentially be of interest to any operator with IoT-ish commercial ambitions.

“5G is designed fundamentally as a highly customizable service,” said Bill Stone, VP of Technology Planning at Verizon. “The evolution of NR RedCap from Ericsson, coupled with the advanced technologies deployed throughout our 5G network, will serve to bring that customization to life for a variety of devices, allowing us to efficiently allocate network resources while giving customers the best possible experience on our network.”

It looks like the device chipset needs to explicitly support this tech too, so its success will be determined by the growth of that ecosystem. “MediaTek’s upcoming solutions supporting 5G RedCap will certainly benefit from Ericsson’s infrastructure readiness, ensuring that operators, consumers and businesses can immediately benefit from the next generation of innovative 5G products and services,” said HC Hwang, General Manager of Wireless Communication Systems & Partnerships at MediaTek.


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