5G REDCAP Will Pave the Way for Mass IoT Deployment

Global cellular IoT module shipments are expected to surpass 1.2 billion units by 2030. This will mainly be driven by 5G REDCAP, NB-IoT and 4G Cat-1 technologies which includes Machine-to-Machine (M2M) IoT applications. As a result, this will provide much needed cost effective support for lower-power industrial, commercial and consumer-facing IoT projects. 

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IoT suites are becoming increasingly complex as more services and processes come online
Momentum of 5G

Accordingly to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, growth in services and subscriptions of 5G-capable devices is exceeding that of 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE), easily outpacing the transition between 2G to 3G. 

Since Q2 of 2022, this translated to 70 million new 5G subscriptions added globally. Basically, this brought the total number of 5G subscriptions globally to 690 million, with an expected 4.4 billion 5G subscriptions by 2027. 

5G New Radio Reduced Capacity (NR REDCAP) – Bridging the Gap 
Illustration of technology positioning of RedCap in relation to eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC.
Source credit: ericsson.com

Generally, as enterprises start to see and reap the benefits of IoT, more large scale deployments will follow suit. However, many IoT use cases do not require high-performance features that smartphones do.

Instead, this is where a light version of the 5G standard, 5G NR REDCAP, comes into play. 5G NR REDCAP technology effectively bridges the gap between efficient LPWA Networks and critical IoT features.

Consequently, this makes it ideal for broader adoption of 5G in use cases including pressure sensors, humidity and temperature sensors, actuators, and more.

These need higher bandwidths what NB-IoT or 4G Cat-1 technology can provide, but require lower data rates and latency.

Prior to 5G NR REDCAP, the easy solution would be to connect directly to an existing LTE network and use data at LTE speeds as needed. But for a deployment that requires connecting and powering tens of thousands of devices, costs quickly become inhibitive.  

Moreover, compared to enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and ultra-reliable and low latency (URLLC), 5G NR REDCAP has reduced features. It is essentially an optimized design for mid-tier IoT use cases. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of its key characteristics.

5G NR REDCAP Features

All 5G NR REDCAP devices can efficiently support 150 Mbps and 50 Mbps in the downlink and uplink. Consequently, this means that devices connected to the NR REDCAP channels could enjoy similar bandwidth as a standard 4G LTE connection, without adding a significant load to the network.  

Additional features include: 

  • narrower bandwidths – 20 MHz in sub-7 GHz or 100 MHz in millimeter wave (mmWave) frequency bands; 
  • a single transmit antenna; 
  • a single receive antenna (2 antennas being optional); 
  • support for half-duplex TDD (instead of FDD); 
  • lower-order modulation (256-QAM being optional); and 
  • support for lower transmit power

With access to a much higher bandwidth and ultra-low latency, NR REDCAP offers a new wave of possible IoT applications, allowing devices to operate on batteries for years without charging. Meaning you stand to benefit from richer insights, without incurring cost, power requirements, and complexity of high-end 5G devices.

Use Cases & Applications
Industry 4.0 is expected to be a significant adopter of 5G REDCAP technology

5G NR REDCAP will see the widespread adoption of 5G across intelligent IoT applications. For example, in industrial, logistics and supply chain, retail (PoS), and telematics use cases. 

The flexibility and scalability of 5G NR REDCAP makes it possible to introduce timely enhancements. Which means you stand to benefit from increased efficiency, while reducing operational costs (e.g. maintenance).

This will pave the way for new use cases not currently served by current NR specifications. Catalyzing the next wave of IoT transformation.

If you’d like to know more about 5G NR REDCAP and how it can benefit your current and future IoT deployments, talk to one of our industry experts today. Alternatively, read more about it on our blog and resources page. 

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