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Telia and Ericsson test 5G tech that lowers latency, prolongs battery

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Tech makes efficient use of mobile network resources, powered by Snapdragon Modem-RF System, and should boost IoT, cloud gaming.

Long-term partners Ericsson and Telia joined forces with Qualcomm Technologies to test yet another industry-first in Telia’s commercial 5G network.

This new 5G Standalone feature – the inactive state of Radio Resource Control (RRC Inactive) – reduces the amount of signaling required during state transitions (on-off), reducing latency and battery consumption.

These attributes are crucial requirements for many IoT and 5G use cases, including critical control of remote devices, enhanced mobile broadband, and smart transport.

Avoids being idle

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

The access latency was shortened by up to three times, which the partners claims will have a big big impact on user experience in applications like cloud gaming where multi-player interactions require 20-30ms end-to-end latency.

For an immersive VR gaming experience, the latency and reliability requirements are even more demanding.

As shorter latency reduces the inactivity timer, the partners were also able to save the modem's battery power by up to 30% compared to not activating the feature.

Although the screen and its associated electronics are the most power-consuming components in a mobile device, implementing the feature will result in a longer battery life for a 5G smart phone user, too.

Critical step

Jenny Lindqvist, Head of Ericsson Northern and Central Europe, comments, “We’re proud to jointly with Telia and Qualcomm Technologies demonstrate a world-first innovative solution that will provide a significant boost in 5G benefits for a better mobile experience.

"This is already a huge milestone in taking 5G technology to the next level, and Radio Resource Control will continue to play a critical role for 5G networks for years to come.”

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 Ericsson says it has had a leading role in defining the functionalities.

In most MTC scenarios, 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.

For current and future 5G use cases with a large and growing number of devices, improved connection, state, and mobility handling have been identified as key elements of efficient support.