Vodafone, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies have successfully tested a new radio and chipset technology which will in future allow customers to connect many more low cost, energy efficient devices to fast 5G networks.
Called RAN Reduced Capability (RedCap), the performance is anything but reduced. It is a new software enhancement that optimises the network for low powered devices like smart watches, credit card readers and portable routers, without draining their battery life.
European First Test
In a European first test, the companies demonstrated how it will pave the way for a multitude of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, consumer wearables and other connected devices to transmit data more simply and efficiently over 5G.
The successful demonstration took place in September in the Spanish city of Ciudad Real, running on Ericsson's RedCap RAN software using Vodafone’s live, multi-vendor testing 5G network named ‘CREATE’ (Ciudad Real España Advanced Testing Environment).
Vodafone, Ericsson, and Qualcomm anticipate that this technology will spur the development of many new consumer wearables and IoT devices. In addition to saving on battery consumption, the technology means the ‘New Radio Light’ devices can be built smaller and more cost-efficiently thanks to their reduced complexity, suitable computer chips and efficient 5G radio technology.
Validate New Technology
Franciso Martin, Head of Open RAN at Vodafone, explained: “Vodafone is continually looking to improve its network for customers whilst reducing energy consumption.
“Using our unique multi-vendor 5G network, we were able to host and validate this new technology with Ericsson and Qualcomm which in the future will support the proliferation of low-powered devices like lighter virtual reality glasses, smoke alarms or handheld retail inventory machines.”
The joint demonstration in Spain used the Qualcomm Snapdragon® X35 platform, the first New Radio Light modem radio frequency system, which is ideally suited for low-bandwidth, low-power devices that are expected to arrive in 2024.
Battery Savings APIs
This technology will also complement Vodafone’s work on Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs) that can prolong the battery life of customer smartphones and devices by changing the parameters of the network.
Vodafone aims to conduct further tests on RedCap as more vendors develop simpler and more energy efficient devices that can plug into and use the low-latency benefits, speed, and scale of Vodafone’s pan-European 5G network.
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