Can 5G RedCap technology help operators regain confidence?


Can 5G RedCap technology help operators regain confidence?

As my country has built the world's largest 5G network, the scale of 5G applications in various industries has also continued to expand. In the process of realizing massive Internet of Things, the high cost of terminals has become one of the "bottlenecks" restricting the large-scale development of 5G. .

As my country has built the world's largest 5G network, the scale of 5G applications in various industries has also continued to expand. In the process of realizing massive Internet of Things, the high cost of terminals has become one of the "bottlenecks" restricting the large-scale development of 5G. .

The emergence of RedCap has a profound impact on the development of 5G, effectively reducing the cost and power consumption of 5G, and further close to the actual needs of users, enabling a large number of applications to be realized. In order to achieve the goal of commercialization by the end of 2023 and large-scale development in 2025, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Radio and Television are actively promoting the maturity of the RedCap industry in order to form a new 5G large-scale application market in the Internet of Things field.

RedCap is expected to really activate the 5G market

Although my country has achieved "Superman", the development of the 5G module industry is not ideal, with annual shipments only reaching one million. This is mainly because the combination of 5G and the mobile Internet of Things still has technical shortcomings. The terminal has the problems of high power consumption and high cost. 40% to 50% of 5G medium-rate scenarios lack suitable products, which hinders the application of 5G in the Internet of Things market. development of.

RedCap can cover the demand scenarios of LTE Cat.4, and at the same time find a balance between "technical performance and deployment cost", bringing new opportunities and injecting new vitality for the large-scale development of 5G. China Mobile IoT 5G module product expert Zheng Kangwei told reporters that from the perspective of industry development trends, RedCap chips and modules are expected to reach the cost level of LTE Cat.4 within one or two years.

Wang Zhicheng, director of China Telecom's 5G Internet of Things Joint Open Laboratory, said that RedCap has already triggered obvious demand in scenarios such as power, video transmission, and data collection. In the future, great development will be achieved in the fields of vehicle communication, remote control, and wearable devices. More importantly, since IoT devices in more scenarios can be stably connected to the network, this will further promote the evolution and implementation of AI technology.

Zhou Jing, director of the Pan-Terminal Technology Research Center of China Unicom Research Institute, believes that according to RedCap's technical characteristics and industrial needs, its applicable scenarios can be divided into three categories, namely, experience guarantee scenarios, traffic growth scenarios, and traditional evolution scenarios. In these areas, RedCap is expected to truly activate the 5G industry market. For experience-guaranteed scenarios, such as fully connected factories, power distribution/consumption, etc., RedCap can superimpose enhanced features such as 5G network slicing, uRLLC, and high-precision timing while meeting the network speed requirements of data collection services to help enterprises Realize 5G digital intelligence transformation at a lower cost.

For traffic growth scenarios, such as "AI + video surveillance", RedCap can meet the connection requirements in most scenarios and promote the large-scale development of wireless cameras. Traditional evolution scenarios (such as Internet of Vehicles, smart wearables, etc.) often require upgrading from 4G to 5G, and 5G eMBB and RedCap can better replace 4G. In the future, RedCap will have a bright market prospect. For example, in the field of video surveillance, it is expected that tens of millions of camera terminals will be upgraded to RedCap technology.

RedCap will push the network to achieve new breakthroughs

Regarding whether the deployment of RedCap will bring pressure to operators' network construction, Lu Songhe, a senior researcher at the Institute of Wireless and Terminal Technology of China Mobile Research Institute, said in an interview with reporters that the deployment of RedCap is mainly to upgrade the software of base stations under construction and existing base stations. No retrofit or introduction of new network architecture is involved.

However, the introduction of RedCap technology still has an impact on access management, resource management, signaling overhead, network coverage, etc., including early identification and access control of RedCap terminals, access control when RedCap terminals and non-RedCap terminals coexist in the network Incoming congestion, fragmentation of resources caused by differences in maximum operating bandwidth, changes in business assurance strategies, and how to reduce network signaling overhead.

Therefore, ensuring that the network adopts a matching management strategy and avoiding negative impacts on non-RedCap terminals will become the focus of operators' network operation, maintenance and optimization in the next step.

"The network deployment of 5G RedCap is closely related to the deployment of the overall 5G network. From a network point of view, RedCap is not equivalent to a 4G enhanced version network with higher speed, lower power consumption, and lower latency. Instead, it combines 5G features, Look for new breakthroughs and explore new possibilities." Song Yu, an expert in network communication technology of China Mobile IoT, told reporters.

China Telecom: Relying on the 5G inside plan to realize the transformation of RedCap

China Telecom has been exploring the application scenarios of RedCap since 2021. At the beginning of 2022, China Telecom launched RedCap network verification of industry application scenarios in Jiangsu Zhenjiang Port, Zhejiang State Grid Electric Power, Hebei Ausen Iron and Steel, Inner Mongolia Zhuneng Coal Mine, Jiangxi Xinghuo Chemical Industry and other enterprises. In 2023, in order to further verify the expansion and collaboration of RedCap's wide-area industrial applications, China Telecom will conduct a "RedCap City" pilot in Shenzhen, and at the same time launch 15 industry pilot units across the country to conduct scenario verification. At present, China Telecom has connected more than 50 RedCap industry terminals and verified more than 20 industry application scenarios.

Modules are also one of the keys to the commercial success of RedCap. Benefiting from the 5G inside plan, China Telecom's self-developed RedCap module has a series of exclusive functions such as terminal management, direct traffic allocation, and self-inspection and troubleshooting. E-surfing IoT will rely on China Telecom's 18 branch laboratory nodes distributed in 8 provinces, and continue to promote the docking of RedCap terminal modules around industry application scenarios; and introduce industry capabilities through the 5G inside plan to cooperate with the RedCap transformation of industry terminals. The laboratory system continuously explores, verifies, and optimizes the performance of RedCap modules and terminals.

China Mobile: bravely assume the responsibility of "chain leader" and start special research

China Mobile has defined the Internet of Things technology system of low-speed NB-IoT, medium-speed LTE Cat.1, high-speed LTE Cat.4 and 5G RedCap, and ultra-high-speed 5G NR multi-network collaboration, connecting all aspects of the industry, and cooperating with industry partners Jointly carry out multi-dimensional industrial promotion work such as technical research and test verification.

In order to actively implement the national "new infrastructure" development strategy and strive to commercialize RedCap by the end of 2023, China Mobile and industry partners launched the "RedCap Special Research" to accelerate the commercialization of RedCap, inviting manufacturers including networks, chips, modules, and terminals All parties in the industry chain will jointly carry out RedCap commercial research, accelerate the maturity and application of RedCap products, and promote the integration and application of RedCap technology and vertical industries.

China Mobile bravely assumes the important task of "chain leader" of the modern mobile information industry chain, and will establish 6 RedCap teams in the first half of 2023 to jointly carry out commercial research on RedCap. By connecting all links of the end-to-end industry chain, the cycle from product development to application landing is shortened, and the maturity of the chip industry is accelerated. China Mobile IoT also launched the RedCap module - MR880A series, which is aimed at various industrial applications such as smart factories, video surveillance, smart power, smart wearables, and vehicle communications.

In terms of testing and verification, China Mobile has worked closely with mainstream network equipment manufacturers and chip manufacturers to lead the end-to-end testing and verification of 5G RedCap for commercial use. At present, 5 major equipment manufacturers have completed 5G RedCap networking tests, and further development of terminal chips and Technical testing of mods.

China Unicom: The first general-purpose 5G RedCap commercial module

China Unicom has carried out a series of work around RedCap technology research, test verification and other aspects. In terms of testing and certification, China Unicom has established a four-in-one testing and certification system of "instrument + simulated network + real network + scene test field".

In terms of network, China Unicom launched the industry's first 100-station contiguous test network. At the same time, it launched network tests in several provincial and municipal branches, and carried out technologies covering its own frequency bands, RedCap functions, performance, network optimization, and end-network collaboration of related manufacturers. verify.

In terms of terminal modules, during MWC2023, China Unicom released the world's first general-purpose 5G RedCap commercial module - Yanfei NX307, and then released three RedCap industry terminals again in May.

In terms of commercial promotion, China Unicom has carried out a number of commercial verifications based on real networks, real terminals, and real users in multiple provinces for industries such as industry, electric power, and Internet of Vehicles. At the "MWC Shanghai" held in June, China Unicom officially released the RedCap product integrating terminal, network and industry collaboration.

In July 2023, China Radio and Television will also join hands with industrial partners to carry out end-to-end testing of key commercial functions and performance of RedCap in the 700MHz and 4.9GHz frequency bands of Radio and Television based on the configuration of the radio and television 5G network, and jointly carry out RedCap technical discussions, deployment plan optimization, and business scenarios. Construction analysis, etc., to further gather industry consensus.

All in all, with the joint efforts of all parties, the RedCap industry chain will gradually mature in 2023. It is expected that by the end of the year, commercial chips will be released one after another, the system will have commercial capabilities, and the network upgrade will be launched and the first commercial case will be realized. It is expected that RedCap will form a new 5G scale application market in the field of Internet of Things in the future.