Accelerating the advancement of what could be a hugely important technology ecosystem in the internet of things (IoT) industry, as many as 10 of the leading telecoms operators from around the world have announced they are working with Qualcomm Technologies to develop use cases based on the 5G RedCap low-power, low complexity wireless standard using devices with the Snapdragon X35 5G Modem-RF System.
Over the course of the past few years, low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies that were specifically developed for IoT applications have gained maturity and scale. To date, LoRa and NB-IoT technologies have seen widespread deployment in remote or wide areas that did not have high requirements for data speed or latency. LoRa has been well-suited for private networks with customised deployments, enabling enterprises to operate infrastructure and have high flexibility. NB-IoT has been backed by major mobile operators, offering standardised connectivity with global reach.
Depending on the scope of the IoT deployments, the most suitable technology options for applications requiring a high data rate will likely be based on 5G. Industry experts believe 5G RedCap is the candidate technology best-suited for the needs of the medium-speed use cases.
The RedCap standard has been developed to enable the production of smaller and more cost-efficient 5G devices and provide longer battery life, thanks to their reduced complexity. “5G RedCap is one of the primary pillars of 5G Advanced and is key to the evolution of 5G,” said Gautam Sheoran, vice-president and general manager of wireless and broadband communications at Qualcomm Technologies. “It bridges the capability and complexity gap between the extremes in 5G today and can enable a broader set of devices and services as well as enhance system performance and efficiency.”
Saying it has recognised strong customer interest in its Snapdragon X35 5G Modem-RF System for 5G RedCap devices, Qualcomm said it’s extending its ability in wireless development – spanning modem, RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna modules – into a fast-growing opportunity for 5G mobile operators.
The Snapdragon X35 is designed to bridge the complexity gap between high-speed mobile broadband devices and extremely low-bandwidth IoT devices. Commercial mobile devices powered by Snapdragon X35 are expected to launch by the first half of 2024.
The organisations that have now committed to the technology are AT&T, China Broadnet Mobile Communications, China Mobile Research Institute, China Telecom Tianyi IoT, China Unicom Research, DISH Wireless, Surge, Swisscom and TIM Brazil.
Commenting on what his company believes is the potential of RedCap, Swisscom executive vice-president for mobile networks and service Mark Düsener said: “RedCap plays a pivotal role in the 5G ecosystem as it will be serving as a future-proof enabler for a multitude of IoT applications. We are enthusiastic about the emergence of RedCap as it is set to fortify our capabilities in meeting our customers’ IoT connectivity requirements in the imminent future.”
“We’re pleased to deepen our collaboration with global mobile operators and OEMs to advance the 5G ecosystem, enabling a new and wide range of premium- and entry-level use cases,” added Sheoran.