Long-term partners Ericsson and Telia have joined forces with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to jointly test a new industry first feature in Telia’s commercial 5G network. This new 5G Standalone feature – the inactive state of Radio Resource Control (RRC Inactive) – reduces the amount of signalling required during state transitions. This makes it possible to significantly lower both latency and battery consumption, which are crucial requirements for many Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G use cases, including critical control of remote devices, enhanced mobile broadband, and smart transport.
The new partnership adds to Telia and Ericsson’s 5G alliance with the purpose to enable better 5G for both smartphone users and advanced and emerging 5G use cases for consumers and enterprises.
“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,” says Jenny Lindqvist, Head of Ericsson Northern and Central Europe.
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 jointly 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 signalling 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 three times. This shortened time lag will have a big impact in user experience in applications such as cloud gaming where fast 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 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. While 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 users of 5G phones, too.
“We’re excited to be able to provide new and enhanced experiences for our customers through our close partnership with Ericsson. Our partnership has enabled this industry and world-first feature, and this technology milestone is fundamental in making more efficient use of mobile network resources and meeting critical requirements with effective solutions,” said Stefan Jäverbring, CTO, Telia Company.
Ericsson say the development of the inactive state has largely been driven by the growing field of Machine-type Communication (MTC). This is part of 3GPP standardisation where the company 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 signalling 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.