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How 5G RedCap Can Help Accelerate and Simplify 5G Private Network Adoption

Delivering medium to high-speed reliable 5G connectivity for private 5G network devices, 5G Reduced Capability (RedCap) is a streamlined version of 5G New Radio (NR) that supports crucial features while reducing design complexity and cost. This article discusses the evolution of RedCap and explores major barriers to its adoption, from lower LTE price points to the availability of 5G RedCap Radio Access Networks (RAN). The article also highlights key use cases enabled by Moso Connect 5G, the industry’s first RedCap mobile adapter for private networks.

Bridging the LTE & 5G IoT Connectivity Gap
Many communication service providers (CSPs) use Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) or LTE-M (eMTC) technology to connect massive, low-cost, low-data-rate IoT devices.
Although Category 4 (Cat-4) and Category 1 (Cat-1) enable mid- to high-speed device connections, these legacy LTE standards can’t support key 5G features such as network slicing, precise positioning, and accurate timing and synchronization. Designing 5G New Radio (NR) IoT devices, however, is challenging because of costly and complex antenna and transmitter requirements.

To bridge the LTE-5G connectivity gap, 3GPP Release 17 introduced RedCap for mid- to high-speed devices. The pared-down standard efficiently supports a wide range of applications, such as Industry 4.0, asset tracking, and video surveillance. Unlike traditional 5G NR, RedCap delivers medium to high data rates (220 Mbps downlink and 100 Mbps uplink) and simplifies multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) configurations.

Analysis Mason chart of 5G technologies

Figure 1. A detailed chart comparing the performance and tradeoffs of various 5G technologies, including RedCap, eMBB, URLLC, LTE-M, and NB-IoT, highlighting parameters such as low latency, reliability, peak data rate, coverage, low cost, and battery life. (Source: Analysys Mason)

This streamlined approach allows 5G device designers to integrate fewer, more compact antennas while reducing transmitter and receiver count. Moreover, RedCap devices feature smaller printed circuit boards (PCB), typically don’t require high-end CPUs, and are also less expensive to manufacture compared to 5G NR, enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), and ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC).

Cost and Compatibility: Barriers to RedCap Adoption
Although RedCap addresses a specific and pressing industry need, cost concerns are slowing the standard’s adoption. According to Omdia Senior Principal Analyst Guang Yang, mid-tier LTE technologies, such as LTE Cat-1 or Cat-4, currently dominate the IoT market due to lower price points. 5G NR modules, for example, are approximately nine times more expensive than their LTE Cat-4 counterparts. Notably, 5G RedCap modules reduce complexity and cost by 60%. Until production ramps up, however, they are likely to cost three times more than LTE Cat-4 modules.

Compatibility presents another significant barrier to RedCap adoption. Most existing network infrastructure is built for LTE, Wi-Fi, and hardwire connectivity, including Ethernet and serial connections. Replacing or upgrading these devices to 5G before scheduled end of life is often challenging for companies — even if RedCap capabilities such as increased throughput and network slicing provide higher speeds, lower latency, and improved efficiency.

That’s why MosoLabs recently launched the industry’s first RedCap mobile adapter for private mobile networks. Moso Connect 5G (Figure 2) eliminates expensive equipment upgrades and long-distance wired runs by allowing any Ethernet or serial capable device, from security cameras and laptops to manufacturing equipment and heavy machinery, to connect to a private 5G (or 4G) network. To use this new technology, the private RAN must support 5G RedCap as well. MosoLabs has integrated a new 3GPP-compliant 5G RedCap stack in Moso Canopy 5G radios so customers can take full advantage of the new technology.MosoLabs Private Network Simplified with RedCap

Figure 2. MosoLabs’ Private Network Solution supporting a 5G RedCap video surveillance system, comprising a mini-dome camera, a RedCap adapter, and a MosoLabs 5G radio, all managed by Moso Control and Moso Command. (Image source: MosoLabs)

Supporting Sub-6GHz and using the latest 3GPP R17 RedCap technology, Moso Connect 5G provides a theoretical peak data downlink rate of 220 Mbps and 100 Mbps uplink. Moso Connect 5G enables end-to-end 5G RedCap connectivity using the 5G RedCap capable Moso Canopy 5G radios and cloud-based network management software. Moso Connect 5G is also backwards compatible with LTE to provide users with a future-proof device for when they move to a private 5G network.

Moso Connect 5G: Key Applications and Use Cases
Moso Connect 5G delivers mid- to high-speed, low latency, reliable connectivity for various applications that can benefit from RedCap’s capabilities, including:

  • IIoT: Faster than LTE-M, Cat 1, and NB-IoT, the Moso Connect 5G supports accurate timing and synchronization — providing reliable throughput for advanced automation, infrastructure control, and real-time data analysis.
  • AI-powered video surveillance: Moso Connect 5G transmits high-volume video data to the cloud more efficiently and with lower latency than LTE. MosoLabs’ RedCap adapter also features a simple, cost-effective antenna design and uses less power than eMBB and URLLC modules.
  • Asset tracking: Moso Connect 5G leverages RedCap’s speeds and real-time location capabilities to facilitate seamless, accurate tracking of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and heavy equipment in warehouses and outdoor locations.
  • Mobile workforce connectivity: Network slicing, unique to 5G, enables Moso Connect 5G to provide reliable Internet access to different teams with customized bandwidth and latency profiles.

Conclusion
RedCap supports key 5G features such as network slicing and high throughput while reducing design complexity, power consumption, and cost. The Moso Connect 5G RedCap mobile adapter allows any Ethernet or serial capable device to access an end-to-end RedCap stack without expensive equipment upgrades or long-distance wired runs.

Details on Moso Connect 5G RedCap are here. Reach out to our team info@mosolabs.com to set up a demonstration or for ordering.

 

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