Ericsson has announced a new reduced capability RAN software for commercial launch this coming November. Ericsson Reduced Capability (RedCap) is a software addition to 5G standalone (5G SA) networks that supports leaner procedures for optimising device energy consumption and enable wearables that are currently only available with LTE devices, the vendor said.

RedCap offers a mix of capabilities in throughput, battery life, complexity and device density for uses that do not always need the high performance capability of current 5G technology. David Hammarwall, head of the Networks product area, said the RedCap software will enhance 5G connectivity for anything from consumer wearables to industrial sensors in a manner that is both cost and energy-efficient, paving the way to new applications

The new software will enable communications service providers to offer more connectivity options for diverse consumer and enterprise use cases and in industrial settings on the FDD (frequency division duplex) and TDD (time division duplex) spectrums. New Radio (NR) RedCap bridges the capability and complexity gap between Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) and ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) uses in existing 5G settings, with an optimised design for mid-tier use cases.

Ericsson RedCap will support devices with reduced complexity such as low-end augmented reality (AR) wearables, video surveillance equipment, industrial sensors, and smart grids. It is more energy-efficient than existing LTE low categories and Ericsson said it has already caught the attention of the wearable OEM (original equipment manufacturer) industry.

Bill Stone, VP for technology planning at Verizon, said the evolution of NR RedCap from Ericsson will support customisation for a variety of devices, allowing efficient allocation of network resources and improving network service to customers.

Ericsson said it is working with chipset vendors to bring various types of 5G device to the market. HC Hwang, general manager of wireless communication systems & partnerships at MediaTek, said the company will benefit from Ericsson’s infrastructure readiness as MediaTek prepares products supporting 5G RedCap.

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