5G SA idle mode boost for IoT

July 19, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
5G idle mode boosts battery life
Telia and Ericsson successfully test an idle state for 5G Standalone (SA) nodes in the Internet of Things (IoT) that reduces latency and increases battery life

Ericsson and Telia in Europe have worked with Qualcomm Technologies on a new feature for 5G StandAlone (SA) networks that reduces power consumption and latency for embedded applications.

The Radio Resource Control (RRC Inactive) mode reduces the amount of signaling required during state transitions, making it possible to significantly lower both latency and battery consumption for the critical control of remote devices, enhanced mobile broadband, and smart transport.

RRC Inactive was implemented using Ericsson’s software and 5G Standalone network nodes and a test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 Modem-RF System. The companies were able to demonstrate the successful transition between a connected state and inactive state without the device falling back to idle.

The transition to this new inactive state reduces the amount of signaling required during state transitions, significantly lowering latency for the end user, as was seen in this test where the access latency was shortened by up to 3x. The shorter latency with this feature makes it possible to reduce the inactivity timer, the partners were also able to see battery savings of up to 30 percent for the modem compared to not activating the feature. 

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The development of the inactive state has largely been driven by the growing field of Machine-type Communication (MTC). This is part of 3GPP standardization where the amount of data that wireless devices typically exchange with the network is small and usually not urgent enough to justify the high battery consumption required to handle all the signaling involved in the legacy idle-to-connected transition.


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